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Lesson 2: In the Beginning *

Introduction: Last week I wrote that you were not a Christian if you did not believe in the Trinity. By that I meant a Christian must believe that Jesus is fully God. This week we study another central teaching of the Bible - that God spoke the world into existence. The world did not evolve, and God did not "supervise" chance and natural selection. In what ways does a belief in the Creation matter? Let's plunge into our Bibles and find out!

  1. God's Account of Beginnings


    1. Read Genesis 1:1-5. Who does the Bible say created "the heavens and earth?" (God!)


      1. God's main message is that He is the Creator. But, He has a secondary message about His creative work. What is that? (He didn't need any help. He started from "formless and void" and merely spoke the universe into existence. He did not need to "lift a finger.")


    2. Look again at Genesis 1:5. How long did it take God to do this? (The Bible says a day. In case we were inclined to interpret this "day" as a much longer period of time, God describes the day in terms we all understand from experience.)


      1. Why does God call "evening" and "morning" a day? Isn't that half a day? (In Leviticus 23:32 we find that sunset to sunset is the measure of a day. The problem disappears if you say "evening" is the night and "morning" is the day. That is a complete day using the sun as the familiar time-keeper.)


      2. What about the fact that the sun was not in existence then, but was created later (Genesis 1:16)? (God uses this standard time measure during the week both before and after the creation of the sun. God must have created an artificial sun - not a problem for someone who can create the real sun!)


  2. Why Creation Matters to God


    1. Many people quote Job 13:15 to say that Job would have been faithful to God even if God killed him. If you read the entire chapter (Job 13) what Job is really saying is "I would like to sue God in a heavenly court. God will have to bring charges against me and I will had the opportunity to defend myself. If I get a fair trial, I will win. If I don't win, then I'll be quiet and die." That is the reason why the second part of Job 13:15 says, "I will surely defend my ways to His face." Job is challenging God. Read Job 38:1-3. How does God answer Job's challenge? (He says, "I'll give you a trial! You ignorant human, I'll have you answer a few questions.")


      1. Read Job 38:4-6. What are the answers to God's questions? (Job was not a witness.)


        1. What question is God really asking? (Who are you to challenge the Creator?)


    2. Skim over the entire chapter of Job 38. What is God's point? (That He is all powerful and He has all knowledge. The Creation runs by rules and God created the rules.)


      1. How important is the Creation to God's claim to be our God? (This goes to the heart of the issue. In the Bible God repeatedly cites His Creation as the basis for His claim of authority over Job (and everyone else). The creation vs. evolution debate is about God's power and authority. God proclaims "I am so powerful that I merely had to speak and it was done." Evolution, of course, claims that God needed a lot of help and a lot of time.)


    3. Read Genesis 1:26-27. How does this account conflict with the evolutionary theory? (We were made according to design. God designed that humans should be created in His image and likeness. God designed that humans should rule over the animals.)


      1. Why is this important to God? (God has a special relationship with humans. He did not stumble upon us when He was out walking.)


      2. Think a moment about what the Bible says about the relationship between humans and animals and tell me whether that conflicts with the evolutionary theory? (Evolution says that humans not only had their origin in the animals, but that natural selection was largely a result of interaction with animals. (Meaning that we either outran or outsmarted the animals or we died.) The Bible says in sharp contrast that we "ruled" the animals.)


    4. Read Deuteronomy 30:19-20. Under the theory of evolution, who is the true designer of humans? (Death. We were designed by death. If death is our designer, then God lied to us about the most fundamental choice that He sets before us.)


    5. Read Genesis 3:1-4. This text and the text we just read in Deuteronomy nudge us down a very important line of logic. What is the overall "story" that God tells us about Him and us? (That He created us perfect. We distrusted, disbelieved and disobeyed Him, with the result that we became subject to weakness, sickness and eternal death.)


      1. What is the overall story that the theory of evolution teaches us? (That we went from weakness to strength to become the dominant animal - thus entitled to the very best life!)


      2. Are these two "stories" compatible?


      3. Can you fit grace and works into this logical thought process? (Yes! The Bible says both our creation and redemption came by God's unmerited grace and power. Evolution is a "works" approach to salvation and life. We improve due to our own effort.)


    6. Can you see, friend, that evolution strips God of His main credential and subverts His story?


  3. Why Creation Matters to Humans


    1. Perhaps the most important reason why Creation matters to humans is that it says we came from the hand of God. But many of our basic views of life are tied directly to the Creation account. Read Genesis 2:20-23. One argument for "God supervised evolution" is that the Bible writers could not very well describe the mechanics of evolution, so they told a story that would convey an idea similar to evolution. Does that argument fit with the text of the Bible? (No! God is quite detailed. The detail He gives is completely and utterly in conflict with the idea of chance and natural selection.)


      1. What does this account tell us about the relationship between men and women? (That they were created to be equals. Eve was taken from a rib, not the head or the foot of Adam.)


        1. What does evolution teach us about the relationship between men and women? (That whoever can dominate should do so.)


    2. Read Genesis 2:24. How are marriage and creation tied together? (If evolution is a correct explanation of human origin, then the "one flesh" marriage between a man and a woman is nonsense.)


      1. Read Ephesians 5:28-31. What does "one flesh" teach us about how women should be treated in marriage?


    3. Read again Genesis 3:2-4. The "rule of law" is essential to a free society. Humans should be ruled by laws, not by the arbitrary whim of the ruler. What does the creation vs. evolution debate teach about the rule of law? (God created us to be ruled by law. He believes (and died for) the rule of law. Evolution argues for the idea that the strongest person makes the law.)


    4. Read Genesis 2:2-3. How is the Sabbath related to the Creation account? (It is a celebration and weekly reminder of a literal six day creation. Like marriage, the underpinnings of the Sabbath are removed by the theory of evolution.)


    5. Read Romans 5:12-15. How does Paul explain the gospel? (That Adam plunged us into sin and Jesus saved us from it. Jesus triumphed where Adam failed.)


      1. What if there never really was an Adam? What would that do to our view of salvation?


    6. Read 1 Corinthians 15:23-26. Is this message a critical part of the gospel? (Yes. That Jesus triumphs over sin and He saves us from death.)


      1. Notice that death is "the last enemy," and it is destroyed by Jesus. How important is death to the theory of evolution? (It is critical. Natural selection picks winners and losers as a result of death.)


    7. Read Revelation 21:1-4. If you disbelieve God's account of the original creation, why would you believe His account of the new creation?


      1. If we believe that the creation account is an analogy describing evolution, what does that teach us about our new heavenly home? (Notice verse 4 - that the things ended in heaven are essential to evolution, the survival of the fittest and the death of the less fit! The evolutionary theory is completely incompatible with the gospel.)


    8. Today, we have only touched on the problems with evolution as an explanation of origins. Friend, if you have accepted the theory of evolution as a possible account for the origin of humans, will you discard that thought and place your faith in God's statement of origins and His gospel plan?


  4. Next week: God as Redeemer.
* Copr. 2012, 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.

© 2017 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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