“In the beginning . . . ” can be a loaded phrase—one that forces us into debate and doubt. But maybe we’re missing the point of Genesis 1:1—a point Moses made to a world where the violence and injustice of the gods justified and legitimized the violence and injustice of human rulers. Moses introduced a radically different, unparalleled, and untested worldview, and understanding it, just might change everything for us!

Start Talking

  • Was religion a part of your upbringing? Explain
  • What do you know about the “creation story”? How much of a role has it played in your relationship with God?
  • Other than the creation story in The Bible, what other explanations have you heard for the creation of the world?
  • Read Genesis 1:1. What do you think about when you read this sentence? Have you or someone you know tried to explore faith by using “In the beginning” as a starting point? What obstacles come with that approach?

Think About It

  • In Genesis, Moses is not trying to explain how God created the heavens and the earth. Moses is making the case that God (not the gods) created the universe. How can this distinction change the way we approach Genesis? Why would this approach matter to one’s faith?
  • Do you see anything in nature or life that supports the idea God created the universe with purpose and intent? What would change if you embraced the idea that everyone is here on purpose for a purpose?
  • Share your reaction to Andy’s connection between the Big Bang Theory, which was introduced by a Belgian priest in 1927, and the first line of Genesis 1: “In the beginning…”
  • How does stewarding nature contrast with worshipping nature? Talk about some ways these ideas are relevant today. 
  • Many civilizations had creation stories that supported the idea that the human race was an afterthought of the gods. Consequently, individuals had no rights, hope, or intrinsic value. How did those beliefs shape the cultures of that time? Do you see evidence of that kind of view now?

What Now?

  • Genesis introduces us to a God who saves, redeems, and never gives up on us. He gives us freedom to choose, and he honors our choices. Which of your relationships might be lacking that kind of dignity? What’s one thing you can do in that relationship to recognize the other person’s dignity?
  • In the beginning God decided every man, woman, and child would be born with dignity because they were made in his image. If you took this perspective on the purpose of Genesis, what would change about:
      • How you view the Bible.
      • Your faith or your willingness to explore faith.
      • How you view yourself.
      • How you see and treat others.

     

Think On This

You’re here on purpose for a purpose. You are not the result of a cosmic conflict between the gods. You were not created by the universe. God wanted image-bearers who could know him and one another. And in the beginning we are introduced to the God who saves, redeems, delivers, and never gives up on us. He gave us freedom to choose, and he honors our choices. This week, read Genesis 1. This time, though, ask God to help you see this Scripture not as an introduction to HOW the world was created, but as an introduction to the one WHO created it


Additional Resources

The Lost Letters of Pergamum by Bruce Longenecker (Book)
The Seven Days That Divide the World by John C. Lennox (Book)