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Lesson 2: "In the Beginning...." *

Introduction: Last week we studied whether the Creation account is reliable. This week we look at the account itself. How did we come to exist? How was our world created? Let's dive in and find out!

  1. Time and Light

    1. Read Genesis 1:3-5. We speak of "sun-worshipers" and people have (and probably still do) worship the sun. Why do you think they do that? (Because the light of the sun provides power and warmth.)

    2. When was the sun created? (You say, "I just read it - according to the Creation account it was created on the "first day.")

      1. Read Genesis 1:16-19. Do you see the sun was not created until the fourth day?)

    3. How did God create the light without the sun? (Read Revelation 21:23. God Himself is a light source. When we are in the New Jerusalem in the earth made new (see Revelation 21:1-2)we will have no need of the sun.)

      1. Alright, we have seen that God is light without the need for a sun. The question then is, "Why didn't God just create the sun on the first day since He was going to use it for light ultimately?" (Could God be present without light? It seems natural to me that when God is present, then light is present. Consider another idea, perhaps this is God's way of showing that He, and not the sun, is the true God.)

    4. Let's return to Genesis 1:3-5. The Hebrew word translated "day" in verse 5 is "yowm." Yowm comes from a root meaning "hot" and it can literally mean twenty-four hours or even longer periods of time.

      1. What does the context suggest: twenty-four hours or an age? (The "evening and morning" of verse 5 clearly point to our present experience of a twenty-four hour period. Even the root meaning of yowm, referring to heat, reflects our experience that the day is warmer than the night.)

    5. What if I told you that my business had been making a ton of money over the last year, and I explained it by saying "every dog has his day." To celebrate, I told you "I'll come to see you in two days." When would you think I was coming?

      1. Am I referring to a literal day when I talk about a dog having "his day?" (No. I would mean a period of time - not necessarily bounded by twenty-four hours.)

      2. Would you have no idea when I was coming, because I previously mentioned dogs and days? (I said in "two days," which conveys the idea that I am talking about a precise period of time. Genesis 1:5 says "first day," thus, indicating a precise period of time.)

      3. What argument is there for saying that each "day" was really an age (a period longer than 24 hours)? (Any argument for a longer period of time is related in some way to a belief that God lacks sufficient power to do what He said He did.)

    6. Read Exodus 20:8-11. What does this tell us about whether the Creation took place in six literal days?

      1. If God spent longer than a 24-hour period in each creation day, could He have set up a celebration for that? (Sure. For example, we see a longer period of time based on the "seven series" in the celebration of the jubilee year. See Leviticus 25:8-10. God knew how to celebrate longer spans of time. The fact that God marked time by the seven-day week and sanctified the seventh-day Sabbath is powerful evidence that the Creation week was composed of literal 24-hour days.)

  2. The Expanse

    1. Read Genesis 1:6-8. What kind of picture comes to your mind when reading these verses? (I have a picture of sitting in a little boat with water everywhere and a cloudy sky. God has just popped the sky up so that I can see things.)

      1. What does it mean that there was water below and above the expanse? (Water below and a watery atmosphere above.)

  3. The Earth

    1. Read Genesis 1:9-10. Were there oceans before the flood?

      1. How can the water be gathered (v.9) "to one place" and at the same time have (v.10) "seas?" (The "one place" is probably compared to "everywhere." The water was now not constantly shifting over the surface of the earth. Even today the oceans are in "one place" in the sense that they are all connected.)

    2. Read Genesis 1:11-13. Notice these verses specifically mention that the plants and trees bear seeds. Why do you think the text mentions seeds? (God created a master plan for reproduction and continued life. God did not, as evolution postulates, leave reproduction to chance.)

  4. Sun, Moon and Stars

    1. Read Genesis 1:14-19. What are the "two lights" of verse 16? (The sun (as we discussed before) and the moon.)

    2. Light has a finite speed. How could God create the galaxy and have it provide light to the earth in one day? Wouldn't it take more time than that for the light to get here? (Remember that God created the light on the first day? The light from these celestial bodies could have merely joined the light stream coming from the glory of God.)

    3. Other than light, what other purpose do the sun, moon and stars serve? (Mark time.)

      1. We see a reference to "day" (yowm) again. What clues do we have about the kind of time period referred to here? (This is unambiguous about a 24 hour period. The day/night rotational cycle of the sun and earth "govern" and are called "days.")

      2. How could you have "evening and morning" before the sun and moon were created? (If God can create the sun and the moon, He has no problem creating a temporary substitute.)

  5. Animals

    1. Read Genesis 1:20-23. What significance do you find in the use of the word "every" in these verses? For example, (v.21) "every living and moving thing" "every winged bird." (Once again, God states that He made all the varieties.)

      1. Notice that we are told that each was created "according to their kinds." What does this suggest about God? (He organized the animals. Many animals have similar bone structures. Darwinians point to this as "proof" of a common ancestor. I see it as proof of a common design showing an organized, intelligent Designer. God made the argument against evolution long before anyone thought of it.)

    2. Read Genesis 1:24-25. We have three classes of land animals mentioned. What are they? (Wild animals, livestock and "creatures that move along the ground.")

      1. Are you surprised that livestock were always livestock?

      2. Why do you think God made some animals to be livestock?

        1. If there was no death, no meat-eating, why have livestock animals? (Domestic animals have more than one purpose.)

      3. What does verse 24 mean when it says, "Let the land produce" living creatures? How did the land produce anything? Could this be a reference to evolution? (This is probably a reference to God making animals out of dirt. See Genesis 2:19. Note also the parallel between Genesis 1:20 ("Let the water teem with living creatures") and Genesis 1:24. ("Let the land produce living creatures"). This may just be a way of saying that these creatures live in these respective environments.)

  6. Humans

    1. Read Genesis 1:26-28. Why was man created last?

      1. What does it mean to be created in God's image?

        1. Notice the plural - "made in our image." Are we made in the image of the entire Godhead?

      2. I read about "species discrimination" these days. Species discrimination occurs when we test medicine or makeup on animals instead of humans. It occurs when we eat animals and wear them for gloves, shoes and coats. What would you think is God's view of "species discrimination?" (Verse 28 creates a clear hierarchy. Man is to "subdue" and "rule" over the animals. Animals are not the functional equivalent of humans.)

        1. What does this teach about cruelty to animals? (Since we are made in the "image" of God, love, not cruelty to animals is expected.)

    2. Read Genesis 1:29-31. What diet did God originally intend for man? (Vegetables and fruits.)

      1. What was the original diet for the animals? (The same.)

    3. Friend, you are made in the image of God! Does your life reflect that fact?

  7. Next week: The Early Earth.

* Copr. 2006, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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