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Sabbath School Lessons on Beginnings and Belongings
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 37 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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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!
- Time and Light
- 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.)
- When was the sun created? (You say, "I just read it -
according to the Creation account it was created on the
- Read Genesis 1:16-19. Do you see the sun was not
created until the fourth day?)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- Read Exodus 20:8-11. What does this tell us about whether
the Creation took place in six literal days?
- 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.)
- The Expanse
- 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
- What does it mean that there was water below and
above the expanse? (Water below and a watery
- The Earth
- Read Genesis 1:9-10. Were there oceans before the flood?
- 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
- 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.)
- Sun, Moon and Stars
- Read Genesis 1:14-19. What are the "two lights" of verse
16? (The sun (as we discussed before) and the moon.)
- 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
- Other than light, what other purpose do the sun, moon and
stars serve? (Mark time.)
- 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.")
- 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
- 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
- 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.)
- 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.")
- Are you surprised that livestock were always
- Why do you think God made some animals to be
- If there was no death, no meat-eating, why have
livestock animals? (Domestic animals have more
than one purpose.)
- 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
- Read Genesis 1:26-28. Why was man created last?
- What does it mean to be created in God's image?
- Notice the plural - "made in our image." Are we
made in the image of the entire Godhead?
- 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
- What does this teach about cruelty to animals?
(Since we are made in the "image" of God, love,
not cruelty to animals is expected.)
- Read Genesis 1:29-31. What diet did God originally intend
for man? (Vegetables and fruits.)
- What was the original diet for the animals? (The
- Friend, you are made in the image of God! Does your life
reflect that fact?
- 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.