Creation: Genesis as Foundation--Part I (2020, Quarter 2, Lesson 8)

by Tim Rumsey May 16, 2020

Creation: Genesis as Foundation--Part I (2020, Quarter 2, Lesson 8)

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This study guide contains additional materials to accompany the Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide for the second quarter of 2020, titled How to Interpret Scripture. This Deeper Daily Bible Study develops the broad theme of studying and interpreting the Bible into some areas not covered by the Sabbath School Study   Guide. While the general topic of each week’s set of lessons corresponds to the Study Guide topic for that week, the daily focus will vary at times from that guide. We hope that you will find this approach to be a valuable added resource in your Bible study.

The “Digging Deeper” section probes into the day’s topic, and illustrates the study principle or tool being discussed. Suggested answers, if included, are provided in parentheses. Sabbath School teachers will find this section especially helpful in the Sabbath School setting. The “Apply It” section gives the student an opportunity to apply the subject at hand to their own study of the Bible, and the “Share It” section provides an opportunity for those in group studies to discuss and share their response to the day’s theme.

Sabbath (May 16, 2020): Genesis as Foundation

The opening chapters of the Bible are critically essential to a Biblical worldview. Just as Jesus drew strength for His mission through a constant realization of His connection with the Father, as Christians we need to understand and believe in the Bible’s opening chapters in order to obtain the faith we need today.

Digging Deeper

Read the Bible passages below and summarize how each one lays a foundation for doctrines and prophecies found later in Scripture:

  • Genesis 1:1,2; John 1:1-3; Hebrews 1:1,2. (Nature of the Godhead)

  • Genesis 1:26-28. (Humanity and its relationship to God)

  • Genesis 2:1-3. (The Sabbath)

  • Genesis 3. (The origin of evil)

  • Genesis 3:15. (The plan of salvation)

  • Genesis 6-9. (The worldwide flood)

  • Genesis 1:28; 2:2,3,15-17; 9:9-17; 15. (The covenant)

  • Genesis 10 and 11. (The dispersal of languages and people)

  • Genesis 5 and 11. (The genealogies and Biblical chronology)

  • Genesis 1:3; 2 Timothy 3:16; John 17:17. (The power of God’s spoken word)

  • Genesis 1:26-28; 2:7. (The nature of humanity)

  • Genesis 1:27,28; 2:18,21-25. (Marriage between man and woman)

  • Genesis 1:26; 2:15,19. (Stewardship of the earth and its resources)

Apply It

  • Read Luke 2:49 and John 6:38,29. Did Jesus Christ know where He came from and what His origin was? (Yes.) What difference did that make in His daily life? (It gave Him purpose, commitment, courage, and faith to accomplish the mission that God had given Him.) If Jesus had begun doubting His origins or His relationship to the Father, what would have happened to the plan of salvation? (It would have been put into great jeopardy, and Jesus would probably have failed in accomplishing our salvation.) What are the lessons for us in our work as Christians? (Answers will vary.)

Sunday (May 17, 2020): “In the Beginning…”

The Bible’s opening words reveal some of the most basic and important information about life and the purpose of life. In today’s lessons we will look at the Bible’s first verse a little more closely.

Digging Deeper

  • Read Genesis 1:1. What does this verse reveal about the origins of earth and of life? (All things, including human life, were created at a definite point of time in the past.) God could have begun the Bible in any way, by focusing on any number of important topics. For what reasons do you think He chose to begin the Bible this way? (Answers will vary. God created the Bible, as a written document, specifically for fallen human beings, to explain to us the plan of salvation. For centuries after the fall, no written record was needed, in part because men’s minds and memories worked so much better than they do today. The very fact that we now have a written Bible, and that it begins in the way it does, is strong evidence pointing to the physical and moral decline of the human race, and of sin’s effects upon us.)

  • Read Isaiah 46:9,10. What do these verses reveal about God in relation to time? (God created time, and therefore stands outside of it. All things, no matter when they happen, are as an open book before Him.)

  • Read Romans 1:20. What does this verse reveal about God in relation to nature? (God created nature, and while He is partially revealed in nature, nature itself is not divine.)

 Those who have a true knowledge of God will not become so infatuated with the laws of matter or the operations of nature as to overlook, or refuse to acknowledge, the continual working of God in nature. Nature is not God, nor was it ever God. The voice of nature testifies of God, but nature is not God. As His created work, it simply bears a testimony to God’s power. Deity is the author of nature. The natural world has, in itself, no power but that which God supplies. There is a personal God, the Father; there is a personal Christ, the Son. And “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:1-3). {1SM 293}

Apply It

  • Read Ecclesiastes 3:1,2. What do these verses imply about the end of human existence? Will life on earth just continue rolling along from generation to generation, or will there also be a clear and definite end to life as we currently know it on earth? (The verses reveal that time and history are linear, and that not only our own life, but life in general on this earth, is racing toward an end point.) How should this affect how we live? (Answers will vary.)

Share It

  • How does it bring you reassurance to know that God created all things? If you have not always believed this, how is your view of life now different from what it used to be?

Monday (May 18, 2020): The Days of Creation

The Hebrew word for “day” (yôm) is used consistently throughout the Creation narrative. In today’s lesson we will look at the Biblical evidence that points to these “days” as literal, consecutive, 24-hour units of time.

Digging Deeper

  • Read Genesis 1:5,8,13,19,23,31. What evidence do you find in these verses that the days of creation week were literal, 24-hour days, as we know them? (They are referenced as sequences of “evening and morning,” just like the daily 24-hour cycle of darkness and light that we know today. In each of these verses, a “day” is defined as “evening and morning,” leaving little room to argue that these “days” were really figurative, metaphorical, or mythological units of time. Indeed, the sequence of seven days in creation week points strongly to a literal, historical intent on the part of the author to explain the origin of life and of the seven-day week.)

  • Read Exodus 20:8-11. What evidence do you find in these verses that helps reinforce the literal usage of the term “day”? (In verse 8, the Sabbath is referred to as a “day,” not a spiritual or mystical experience, nor a figurative epoch of time. Also, the sequence of working six days and resting the seventh reinforces a literal seven-day weekly cycle. In verse 11, reference is made to God’s creation of the earth in six days, and His resting on the seventh, as a model for the literal seven-day weekly cycle ending with the Sabbath. Again, there is no evidence that the “Sabbath” being referred to here in the fourth commandment is anything other than the seventh 24-hour day originating from creation week.)

Apply It

An interesting pattern emerges when we look at days 1-3 and days 4-6 of creation week:

  • Day 1—Light

    • Day 4—sun, moon, and stars to shine or reflect light

  • Day 2—Firmament and water above and below

    • Day 5—fish to fill the water and birds to fill the air

  • Day 3—Dry land and vegetation

    • Day 6—animals to fill the land and eat the vegetation

  • Day 7—the Sabbath rest

Notice that on the first three days, God created something that is then filled with other created entities on the second set of three days. Even in the structure of creation week we see a master plan at work! This leaves a question, however: What “fills” the Sabbath rest of the seventh day? (Answers will vary. Perhaps God is saying that this answer is up to us as human beings to determine how we will use this day. He will not force us to observe the seventh-day Sabbath or experience its blessings.)

Share It

  • What evidence have you seen of God’s “master plan” for your life? How have your glimpses of this plan reaffirmed your faith in God?

Tuesday (May 19, 2020): The Sabbath and Creation

The Sabbath originated at Creation. As Jesus indicated, it was “made for man” (Mark 2:27), and this must include all people that have ever lived. In today’s lesson we will look more closely at the implications of the Sabbath in our relationship with God.

Digging Deeper

  • Read Genesis 2:1-3. What three things did God do after He created the Sabbath day? (He “rested,” “blessed,” and “sanctified” it.) Was there inherently anything unique or more special about this seventh set of 24 hours? (No.) What made it special, then? (The Sabbath reveals God’s authority and power as Creator to determine the purpose and the function of His creation. In regards to the Sabbath, it was His blessing alone that made this unit of time sacred and different from the other days.)

  • Read Exodus 20:11. What reasons are given here in the fourth commandment for seventh-day Sabbath observance? (The same reasons are given as are given in Genesis 2:

    • God created the world in six days

    • God rested on the seventh day

    • God blessed the seventh day

    • God “hallowed,” or sanctified, the seventh day)

Apply It

  • Read the statement below from the book The Great Controversy and discuss the importance of the seventh-day Sabbath in worship:

The importance of the Sabbath as the memorial of creation is that it keeps ever present the true reason why worship is due to God”—because He is the Creator, and we are His creatures. “The Sabbath therefore lies at the very foundation of divine worship, for it teaches this great truth in the most impressive manner, and no other institution does this. The true ground of divine worship, not of that on the seventh day merely, but of all worship, is found in the distinction between the Creator and His creatures. This great fact can never become obsolete, and must never be forgotten.”—J. N. Andrews, History of the Sabbath, chapter 27. It was to keep this truth ever before the minds of men, that God instituted the Sabbath in Eden; and so long as the fact that He is our Creator continues to be a reason why we should worship Him, so long the Sabbath will continue as its sign and memorial. Had the Sabbath been universally kept, man’s thoughts and affections would have been led to the Creator as the object of reverence and worship, and there would never have been an idolater, an atheist, or an infidel. The keeping of the Sabbath is a sign of loyalty to the true God, “Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” It follows that the message which commands men to worship God and keep His commandments will especially call upon them to keep the fourth commandment. {GC 437.2}

Share It

  • What personal blessings have you experienced from the Sabbath? What ways have you found to be most effective in helping you to “keep it holy”?

Wednesday (May 20, 2020): Creation and Marriage

At the end of creation week, God declared all things He had created “very good” (Genesis 1:31). This “very good” order of things included marriage between a man and a woman. In today’s lesson we will look at God’s original purpose for marriage.

Digging Deeper

  • Read Genesis 1:27. In what way(s) can marriage between a man and a woman reflect the image of God? (Answers will vary. Males alone, and females alone, cannot procreate. However, when united in marriage according to God’s plan, a man and a woman can procreate and, in a very limited way, reflect God’s power as Creator.)

  • Read Genesis 1:26. In this verse God uses a plural pronoun to refer to Himself: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” Just as God’s character of love led to the creation of human beings, love between a man and a woman can in turn lead to the creation of more human beings. What does the fact that God has made it possible for human beings to share in this aspect of Himself say to you about His character? (Answers will vary.)

Apply It

Read the statement below from the book Thoughts From the Mount of Blessings, and then discuss the questions that follow:

Then marriage and the Sabbath had their origin, twin institutions for the glory of God in the benefit of humanity. Then, as the Creator joined the hands of the holy pair in wedlock, saying, A man shall “leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one” (Genesis 2:24), He enunciated the law of marriage for all the children of Adam to the close of time. That which the Eternal Father Himself had pronounced good was the law of highest blessing and development for man. {MB 63.2}

  • When is the “then” referred to in this statement? (Generally, it is “the blessed days of Eden,” as made clear earlier in the paragraph. More specifically, it is the end of creation week, when God had made all things “very good.”)

  • What is implied by the phrase “twin institutions”? (Twins are similar creatures born, or brought into existence, at the same time. The Sabbath was first observed at the transition between the sixth and seventh days of creation. This passage, therefore, would seem to imply that Adam and Eve’s marriage took place at the close of the sixth day of creation.)

  • In what ways does a godly marriage work for “the glory of God”? (Answers will vary.)

  • What do you think is meant by the last sentence of this statement? (Answers will vary.)

Thursday (May 21, 2020): Creation, the Fall, and the Cross

The Bible’s opening chapters contain a foundational explanation upon which the explanation of the plan of salvation is built. Without these chapters, much of what comes later in the Bible would be unclear or confusing at best, and completely nonsensical at worst. In today’s lesson we will look at just one example of these links—God’s warning to Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:16-17 and Christ’s sufferings and death.

Digging Deeper

  • Read Genesis 2:16,17. What warning did God give to Adam and Eve? (Don’t eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.) What would be the penalty for eating from that tree? (Death the same day.)

  • Read Genesis 3:6 and 5:3-5. Did Adam die the same day he sinned? (No.) How long did he live? (930 years.) Why didn’t Adam die that same day? (Many possible answers exist: God lied to Adam; or God was only bluffing; or God changed His mind about the penalty of sin; or the “day” represents 1,000 years [see 2 Peter 3:8]; or Adam began the process of dying that same day.) Which of these proposed answers seem the most likely? The least likely? (Answers will vary.)

  • Read Romans 5:8. Who died for us and paid the penalty for our sins? (Jesus Christ. As soon as Adam and Eve sinned, there was a Savior Who stepped in front of them and the penalty of their sin. No human being has yet paid the penalty of sin in the second death.)

The world has been committed to Christ, and through Him has come every blessing from God to the fallen race. He was the Redeemer before as after His incarnation. As soon as there was sin, there was a Saviour. {DA 210}

Apply It

In the verses that follow we will see that Jesus paid the penalty for sin on the same day that He took its guilt upon Himself.

  • Read Matthew 26:36-38. What did Jesus tell His disciples as He entered the Garden of Gethsemane? (That He was “sorrowful, even unto death.”)

  • Read Isaiah 53:11,12. Jesus was referring to these verses when He entered Gethsemane. According to these verses, what would happen to the Messiah’s soul when He “was numbered with the transgressors” and took the penalty of sin? (His soul would be “poured out unto death.”)

  • Read Mark 15:25,33,34. When did Jesus die? (He died on the sixth day at 3:00 p.m.) When did He enter Gethsemane? (He entered Gethsemane on what we call Thursday night, but biblically this is early on the sixth day. Jesus died the second death and paid the penalty of sin on the same day that He accepted its guilt. God’s warning to Adam and Eve in Eden was precisely and literally true, the penalty for sin just wasn’t paid until Jesus died.)

Share It

  • How does it make you feel to realize that Jesus has truly paid the penalty of sin, so that we don’t have to?

Friday (May 22, 2020): Creation Week and the Principle of Division

Today’s study presents a very condensed summary of the book Divided We Stand by Tim Rumsey. This book shows how creation week may be seen as a parallel with the Protestant Reformation and the Advent Awakening. It is available in print and as an eBook at www.PathwayToParadise.org.

  • Read 2 Corinthians 6:14-17. What does God call His people to do in this verse? (Divide from the sin in the world.) What promise is given in verse 18? (Those who do allow God to divide them from sin will be united to God.)

  • Read Revelation 18:4. What is God’s call in this verse? (He is calling for His people to come out of Babylon.) Is this division a good or a bad thing? (A good thing.)

The call to divide from sin, and to divide from this world, is really a call to allow Him to give us victory over sin in our lives, participate in God’s character, and be united to Christ. It is also a call to experience God’s power as Creator. This power was demonstrated during Creation Week as God used the principle of division:

  • Day 1, God divided light from darkness

  • Day 2, God divided water above and below the firmament

  • Day 3, God divided the water from dry land

  • Day 4, God divided the day from the night with lights in the sky

  • Day 5, God divided animal life according to where they live

  • Day 6, God divided Adam from the dust, and then divided Eve from Adam’s side

  • Day 7, God divided time itself and sanctified the seventh day

Just as God used the principle of physical division during creation week, He wants to use the principle of spiritual division from sin in our salvation today. It is no coincidence that the many calls for spiritual and religious ecumenism and unity today are arising from a world, and a fallen Christianity, that has almost completely rejected the Bible’s identification of God as Creator.

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