Genesis 1-2

Intro

In this teaching series we’re going to cover the whole Bible. Which means we’ll have to move quicker than any of us would like

Tonight my task is simple. To cover all of the most important questions of who are we and where did we come from, and where did our universe come from. And I’m going to try to do it all in less than an hour.

Three basic ways to view the days of Genesis 1

  • A 24 hour period like we view it today (young earth, but also could be old earth with certain days highlighted)
  • A longer period of time (cf. Gen 2:4)
    • Could be millions of years
  • No relation to time. Simply a poetic device or logical ordering of the narrative

There are poetic elements here. Repetition, parallelism. But I view this as poetic history (cf. Star Spangled Banner)

Genesis 1

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.”

And evening passed and morning came, marking the first day.

Q: What can we learn from just these first few verses?

  • God exists
  • He is the eternal creator
    • Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything (London: Black Swan, 2004), 28

And so, from nothing, our universe began. In a single blinding pulse, a moment of glory much too swift and expansive for any form of words, the singularity assumes heavenly dimensions, space beyond conception. The first lively second (a second that many cosmologists will devote lifetimes to shaving into ever-finer wafers) produces gravity and the other forces that govern physics. In less than a minute the universe is a million billion miles across and growing fast. There is a lot of heat now, 10 billion degrees of it, enough to begin the nuclear reactions that create the lighter elements—principally hydrogen and helium, with a dash of lithium (about one atom in a hundred million). In three minutes 98% of all the matter there is or will ever be has been produced. We have a universe. It is a place of the most wondrous and gratifying possibility, and beautiful too. And it was all done in about the time it takes to make a sandwich.

  • He creates by His word
    • Lennox, Seven Days that Divide the World
      • 100: “This repeated reference to the activity of the word of God in creation resonates very powerfully with me as a scientist. The idea that the universe did not come to be without the input of information and energy from an intelligent source seems to me to have been amply confirmed by scientific discovery.”
      • 100: “There is the major scientific discovery—one of the greatest of our time—that in each of the ten trillion cells of our body we humans possess a “word” of mind-boggling length, the human genome. This “word” is 3.5 billion “letters” long, written in the four chemical “letters” C,G,A,T.”
      • 101: “On top of all that, we human beings have also been gifted with a phenomenal facility to use words to describe our universe and to communicate with each other. Does this capacity not point unmistakably to the vastly greater Word, who has endowed us with his image and imprint?”
    • He is distinct from His creation
    • It appears that something is there before God begins to create

Then God said, “Let there be a space between the waters, to separate the waters of the heavens from the waters of the earth.” And that is what happened. God made this space to separate the waters of the earth from the waters of the heavens. God called the space “sky.” And evening passed and morning came, marking the second day.

Then God said, “Let the waters beneath the sky flow together into one place, so dry ground may appear.” And that is what happened. 10 God called the dry ground “land” and the waters “seas.” And God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, “Let the land sprout with vegetation—every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.” And that is what happened. 12 The land produced vegetation—all sorts of seed-bearing plants, and trees with seed-bearing fruit. Their seeds produced plants and trees of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.

13 And evening passed and morning came, marking the third day.

14 Then God said, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them be signs to mark the seasons, days, and years. 15 Let these lights in the sky shine down on the earth.” And that is what happened. 16 God made two great lights—the larger one to govern the day, and the smaller one to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set these lights in the sky to light the earth, 18 to govern the day and night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.

19 And evening passed and morning came, marking the fourth day.

 

How is it that the sun is just now showing up? Probably written from the perspective of earth. Now we can see what’s causing that light.

Note also that the sun is not a god like in other ANE religions. Just a light that was put there by God and does what God says.

 

20 Then God said, “Let the waters swarm with fish and other life. Let the skies be filled with birds of every kind.” 21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that scurries and swarms in the water, and every sort of bird—each producing offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 Then God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply. Let the fish fill the seas, and let the birds multiply on the earth.”

23 And evening passed and morning came, marking the fifth day.

24 Then God said, “Let the earth produce every sort of animal, each producing offspring of the same kind—livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and wild animals.” And that is what happened. 25 God made all sorts of wild animals, livestock, and small animals, each able to produce offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings* in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”

27 So God created human beings* in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

28 Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”

29 Then God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food. 30 And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—everything that has life.” And that is what happened.

31 Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good! And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day.

 

So, God creates humans. Q: What can we learn from this passage about us and about God?

  • God is personal (1:26-28)
  • God is a fellowship (1:26-28)
  • Creation is good (1:31)
    • Next week we’ll study how this inherent goodness changed
  • God has a goal in creation – to be a good place for human beings
    • Humans are fundamentally different. Made in God’s image.
    • Q: What do you think it means when it says that humans are made in God’s image?

 

Genesis 2

1 So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.

God stopped to survey and enjoy his creation. He calls on us to take a break sometimes too. For different reasons. It’s because we need it. We need to remember that we’re creations, not the Creator. Not taking too much on ourselves.

 

This is the account of the creation of the heavens and the earth. When the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, neither wild plants nor grains were growing on the earth. For the Lord God had not yet sent rain to water the earth, and there were no people to cultivate the soil. Instead, springs* came up from the ground and watered all the land. Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.

Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made. The Lord God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit. In the middle of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

 

This may be God carving out a paradise for humans in the midst of a larger world.

 

10 A river flowed from the land of Eden, watering the garden and then dividing into four branches. 11 The first branch, called the Pishon, flowed around the entire land of Havilah, where gold is found. 12 The gold of that land is exceptionally pure; aromatic resin and onyx stone are also found there. 13 The second branch, called the Gihon, flowed around the entire land of Cush. 14 The third branch, called the Tigris, flowed east of the land of Asshur. The fourth branch is called the Euphrates.

 

Hard to identify the first two rivers. Mormons think this was somewhere near Davies County, Missouri. That’s probably not right.

 

15 The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. 16 But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—17 except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”

 

Q: Why does Moses spend time telling us about this?

 

18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” 19 So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man* to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. 20 He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him.

21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.

23 “At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.’ ”

24 This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.

25 Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.

 

Q: So what else do we learn about humans from this final section?

  • Relational
  • Animals are super valuable but still below humans
  • Purpose of sex = unity and relationship (also reproduction – cf. Gen 1:28)

 

Conclusion

What have we learned?

  • God exists
    • He is the eternal creator, and He creates by His word
    • He is distinct from His creation
    • God is personal (1:26-28)
    • God is a fellowship (1:26-28)
  • Creation is good (1:31)
    • God intended creation to be a very good place for human beings
    • Humans are fundamentally different. Made in God’s image

 

So the first humans are living in paradise, walking with God, naked and not ashamed. What could go wrong?

 

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes