Genesis - Only the Beginning
Gensis: Only the Beginning
Led by Stephen Burnett
Starting Sunday, January 8 at 9am
Who is God? Why do you exist? What is our world?
New years bring old questions. People attempt many answers, from religion to politics, motivational speeches, and new identities. Holy Scripture, however, shares our only true origin story. This season, we explore Genesis 1–11, our Creator’s history of early man. Let’s rediscover this almighty God and the reasons He created us to glorify Him forever—and the promised Redeemer we need to fulfill His resolution for us.
We will be meeting on Sunday mornings at 9am for 11 weeks and work our way through Genesis 1-11.
Class Notes and Resources
- Who is God? Why do you exist? What is our world?
- Our world rarely asks these questions, but offers plenty of answers anyway.
- Feedback: What answers did you hear growing up? In your life? This week?
- Often we hear sneaky answers to the first question: the only true god is you.
- Hidden assumption 1: You can do what you like—with hidden rules.
- Hidden assumption 2: You exist for your “happiness”—with hidden rules.
- Hidden assumption 3: Your world is a place meant for you—with hidden rules.
- Folks often simply assume that the “old” God and his word are discredited.
- Francis A. Schaeffer wrote, “He is there and he is not silent.” God does not hide.
‘Only the beginning’ means Genesis is your origin story
- When we honestly confront God, we find open answers to greatest questions.
- Christians are characters in God’s world. We create because He created.
- To learn about God’s creation, and our place in it, we start with God’s revelation.
For this journey into Genesis 1–11, we’ll follow a particular reading method. After reading each chapter and section, we will ask three main questions:
- What does this word show about God?
- What does this word show about humanity?
- What does this word show about God’s creation?
- This mission is related to creation apologetics, but not about defending faith.
- Instead we simply assume this story is true, and ask how this affects our lives.
- If we have creation-apologetics questions, let’s share those in a text thread.
- In fact, I’ll make sure to get your numbers so we can share updates and support.
- Several religions might lay claim to belief in the Old Testament book of Genesis.
- Yet “only the beginning” also means this story has an ending (sequel material?).
- God hints at being royally “plural” in Genesis—an “Easter egg” for Jesus Christ.
- For extra clarity, when I speak of God before others, I always call Him Jesus.
- We can also watch for implicit references to the Holy Spirit in these chapters.
- Watch for those divine “Easter eggs” about God’s triune-ness and the full gospel!
- Jesus is the Bible’s hero, not the Church, not a religion, and not we ourselves.
- And yet all our questions about our life’s purpose are answered in His Person.
Chapter 1: God creates his world
- Very briefly, people debate if Genesis 1 is history or poetry. My answer? Yes.
- That raises more questions (for the SMS chat?) but may help us come together.
- What would you rhapsodize poetically about if not the creation of a universe?
- Let’s read this as imaginatively as we can—His Word here encourages this view.
- Let’s read this as if it really happened, in the same order our Author describes.
What does Genesis 1 show about God?
- Genesis 1 doesn’t go into details about the Hero’s inner motives.
- Yet we can “watch” His works and begin to see what God likes—action!
- Verse 2: “without form and void.” God acts in contrast to this state of existence.
- Verse 3: “And God said.” God speaks to make Himself known, taking His actions.
- Verse 4: “the light was good.” God makes goodcreations, with order and change.
- Verse 4 (and more): “God separated.” God prefers distinctions in His creation.
- Verse 5 (and more): “God called.” He gives names to things by divine right.
- Verse 5 (and more): God’s actions, distinctions, and naming provide order.
- (Theologians refer to ideas like “natural law” or “natural order” to defend ideas.)
- Verse 6 (and more): “And God said.” He acts in dramatic escalation—the Artist!
- Verse 8: “the expanse.” God likes Heaven, this divided space between waters.
- Verse 10: “dry land Earth.” God likes this planet, a special location in His creation.
- Verse 11: “plants yielding seed.” God likes dynamic life that can reproduce itself.
- Verse 14: “lights in the expanse.” God likes outer space, stars, planets, galaxies!
- Verse 20: “living creatures.” God loves life, not just plants and people. Birds, fish!
- Verse 22: “in our image.” God wants humans to reflect Himself in special ways.
- Theologians call this the imago Dei, image of God. Vital idea for today’s debates.
- Does this help us guess and feel why God created a world, and not just His methods?
What does Genesis 1 show about humans?
- This one won’t take as long, because we just reached the humans in Genesis 1.
- Verse 26: “in our image.” Humans, unlike others, are created in God’s image.
- Verse 26: “have dominion.” God made people to rule over creation in some way.
- Verse 27: “male and female.” God made humans with distinction, like day/night.
- Verse 28: “God blessed them.” He blessed the sea creatures, yet also humans.
- We say this after a sneeze, or sarcastically, but this is a sacred purpose He gives.
- Verse 28: “be fruitful.” God wants people making people. We’re His royal regents.
- God doesn’t give sea creatures or animals this mission, only people in His image.
- What do you think of this “cultural mandate” to make stuff using God’s creation?
What does Genesis 1 show about our world?
- God wants our world good, not without form and void but with form and filled.
- He wants our world distinct, named, ordered, living, reproducing, ruled by man.
- He has a special place for Earth (the land) and ordered all stars/space around it.
- Verses 28–30: Earth has plant resources for all. Verse 31: All this is “very good.”
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