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We are back in the saddle for a new series!
I am excited to be back in a book in THE book again.
If you haven’t noticed, we will be in the book of Genesis next.
Yes, it does have 50 chapters, but the good thing about narratives is that we can cover more ground in shorter time.
I have titled the series, “New Beginnings: The Gospel of Grace in Genesis.”
The older I get as a Christian, the more I see that the core problem of my heart always seems to come down to this: a failure to believe the Gospel for my life; not just for me getting saved, but for me walking saved.
R.C. Sproul says, “The issue of faith is not so much whether we believe in God, but whether we believe the God we believe in.”[1]
That’s our problem.
We don’t believe Him and the heart of what He is about, which is the Gospel.
And what God loves to do when we get under God’s Word is to shake us so that we can believe Him more.
So like the picture, I believe when we are in Christ, we are like butterflies, out of the cocoon of living for self and sin and free to explore the vast universe-sized life with God.
However, we fly instead back into the cocoon of unbelief and try to live as a caterpillar again.
But God keeps pushing us out and gives us new beginnings!
So write this prayer down for this series: “Lord, bring a genesis, a new beginning, to my life throughout this study.”
I want to explore that in the book of Genesis.
And since Jesus said the entire Bible really is pointing us to Him (Luke 24:27), I want to dig in this first book of the Bible to see Him in new ways that will lead to transformational living as I believe the gospel more and more.
Genesis actually means “in the beginning.”[2]
This is an appropriate title, not just because it is the beginning of the Bible, but because also because it is the beginning of all the doctrines we learned about in our last series.
It is the beginning of the doctrine of God, of creation, of man and of salvation.
One commentator says Genesis “…provides the theological pillars on which the rest of the Bible stands.”[3]
But more than just learning about the beginnings of doctrine, I pray we also see that this book offers us new beginnings in our relationship with Christ, since in Christ we are a new creation (2 Cor.
So this is a very important book.
We know a lot of the stories in this book, probably from most of us trying to read through the Bible in a reading plan or growing up in Sunday School.
But I want to look at this book in light of the bigger narrative, the Gospel narrative.
So for example, what does it mean to study the Flood narrative in light of God’s ultimate story of saving people from destruction?
Hopefully this will be clearer as we go through the book and let the book go through us.
Let’s get to the outline of the book:
This is straight from Bruce Wilkinson’s /Talk thru the Bible./[4]/
/You can see that there are four major events before we get to the four major patriarchs.
You may remember that we already considered the Fall in Chapter 3. So, Lord willing, we will cover each of these as a mini-series within Genesis.
There are a couple things to consider before getting into this book.
First of all, Moses is the human author of the first five books of the Bible.
He wrote this after the people of God were delivered out of Egypt.
And whenever you read Scripture, you have to ask yourself if there are clues that reveal the author’s intent in writing the particular book.
So when you study Genesis as a result, take note: /Genesis is not merely history, but theology.
/Moses is not merely giving us a history lesson.
He is teaching them and us theology about who God is compared to the gods they were used to in Egypt and the gods of their neighbors.
So when Abraham goes down to Egypt and things go wrong, what is Moses doing?
He’s reminding his people that leaving God’s place and going down to Egypt is never a good idea, even as they are tempted to go back to their old lives.
This is very important to understand Genesis.
Hopefully we will see that in the first chapter.
Alright, let’s get down to business.
Genesis 1.
This is probably one of the most familiar pieces of literature in history.
Now we just said Genesis is more than history.
It is theological.
Let’s apply that to Genesis 1.
Most of us when we read Genesis 1 immediately go in with one question: “How did God create the world?” and “How long did it take?”
Then everyone gets into all kinds of arguments about how many days and years, if there are gaps, etc. and if it was out of nothing or was it out of matter?
But it seems to me that we are starting with the wrong presupposition.
Perhaps the question is not /how /but “/Why /did God create the world?” and “/What/ kind of God created the world we live in?” and “/What/ is creation here for?”
It seems to me as well (I believe in a literal six day creation and a young earth) that this chapter is more poetry than history.
Yes there is history here, but there is a poetic flavor to it as well.
Notice the extensive repetition.
Let me share some of them quickly: (1) announcement of the commandment, “And God said” (10 times; vv. 3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26, 28, 29); (2) order, e.g.
“Let there be …” (8 times; vv. 3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26); (3) fulfillment formula, e.g.
“And it was so” (7 times; vv. 3, 7, 9, 11, 15, 24, 30); (4) execution formula or description of act, e.g.
“And God made” (7 times; vv. 4, 7, 12, 16, 21, 25, 27); (5) approval formula “God saw that it was good” (7 times; vv. 4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31); (6) subsequent divine word, either of naming or blessing (7 times; vv. 5 [2 times], 8, 10 [2 times], 22, 28); (7) mention of the days (6~/7 times; vv. 5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31 [2:2]).[5]
So it would not be wrong to say that Gen 1 is a creation song!
It’s a song about what God did and who God is.
Remember in Exodus 14 the people of God walk through the Red Sea on dry land and Exodus 15 follows that with Miriam’s Song?
Also in Judges 4, Israel has a great victory over the Canaanites and what happens in Judges 5? Deborah and Barak sing a song.
So it may be that Genesis 1 is the song about what happened in Genesis 2. And when you have poetry in Scripture, it is important that you do not stress the details, but take a more general approach to the text.
You don’t read a phonebook and love letter the same way do you?
Similarly, I think Genesis 1 is more poetry and Genesis 2 is more historical literature (and must be read differently) and both are very theological, telling us about who God is and why He created this world we live in.
So there is no reason to study all the details in depth here in Gen.1, but to look at the bigger picture.
So what I want to do is talk about what Moses wanted to talk about, which is what God wants us to think about.
I don’t look down on people who want to look at Genesis 1 for clues to answer the /how/ question as brilliant Bible believing scholars have and been satisfied.
However, I think it will be more fruitful for us to look at the more important questions to feed our soul this morning.
All of that was for introduction.
Let’s dig in!
What does the creation narrative tell us about who God is and why He created creation?
First of all, jot this down, we see:
**God’s Word has creative and effective power, so we must come under it*
Really if we want to be biblical, our worship of God must be first because He is Creator before He is Redeemer (Rev.
4:11; Rev. 5:9-10).
Have you accepted Christ as your Creator?
The first sentence of the Bible tells us that the subject of the Bible—God and that God is a God of purpose and not chance.
Whatever God creates, He owns.
And He owns everything!
So as Creator, He is worthy of our allegiance and devotion.
And how was it all created?
Back in those days, the King would speak and it would be done or you would die.
His word had power.
Notice the King of the Universe with His powerful word, creating the world.
But unlike a human king, who would need messengers to get the job done, God can speak the world with ease.
I can say, “Let there be light,” but Eric or Steve or somebody will have to go flip the switch.
But God creates just from speaking it.
He speaks and it is done.
He commands and it happens.
He wills and it comes to pass.
God said, “Let there be…” and eternally trumped Descartes who said, “I think there I am.”
Actually it should be that God spoke, therefore /we are/ and /it is/.
God’s Word has creative and effective power.
Also interestingly, notice in Gen. 1:1 and the word “create.”
The striking feature of the word is that its subject is always God.[6] Humans may make (/ʿāśâ/), form (/yāṣar/), or build (/bānâ/); to the Hebrew, however, God creates.[7]
Every great painting, beautiful piece of music, technological and medical advance, magnificent architecture, etc., whether people realize it or not, was actually created in the mind of God.
We tend to say, “wow that guy can sing” or “that author is a genius,” but that is partly true as we forget that we never truly create anything.
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