Creator of heaven and earth

Small Group Material: 
Week Commencing: 
13 Sep 2009
Bible Base: 
Genesis 1:1-2:4

Week beginning 14 September 2009 Creator of heaven and earth Preacher:David Jeans
Reading 1            Genesis 1:1-2:4
Genesis 1 is not intended to answer how questions (the scientific questions). It is intended to answer who questions and why questions. The church has always recognised this; Augustine said the ‘days’ may well be long periods of time. Calvin wrote that Genesis is written for the ordinary person, and that those trying to find out about astronomy should look elsewhere. If it was a scientific description its first readers (and indeed most if not all of its readers) would not have understood it. Its use by the first astronauts to orbit the moon when theycame out from behind the moon for the first time on Christmas Eve 1968 shows how powerful it is in terms of what is has to say about ‘the good earth’.  
1)      There have been many different ways of understanding the use of the days in the story of creation. Divide into 3 groups; Group 1 should look at days 1 and 4; group 2 at days 2 and 5; group 3 at days 3 and 6. Each group should answer the following questions
·         What is created on the first of your pairs of days?
·         What is created on the second of your pairs of days?
·         What is the connection between the two?
2)      As a whole group, receive the feedback from question 1. What does this suggest about the purpose of creation? (Hint if stuck:- think about spaces and inhabitants)
3)      Identify the phrases that keep recurring in the passage.
4)      The cultures that surrounded Israel at the time that Genesis was written thought that the stars and the Sun had great power and influence over our lives (as does modern astrology). What does Genesis 1 say about the Sun and the stars? So what notice should we take of astrology, star signs etc?
5)      What is God’s verdict about the universe that He has made? What difference does this make to how we relate to creation?
6)      Look carefully at verse 27. What does this say about women? What does it say to the cultures surrounded Israel who thought that only kings were made in the image of God?
7)      What do you think it means to be made in the image of God?
8)      Verse 28 speaks about humanity having ‘dominion’ over creation. What do you think it means? Who models for us the true nature of ‘dominion’? What does this tell us about how we should relate to the rest of creation?
9)      What practical examples can you think of about what it means to exercise dominion over creation?
10)   Humanity was made on the sixth day. After being made, what was the first thing they did (on the seventh day)? Each day begins with the evening. What do these things tell us about the relationship between work and rest? What difference might this make to the way we live?