SOURCE FOR QUESTIONS
Genesis 1:1 through 2:25
KEY VERSE FOR MEMORIZATION
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)
The Word of God begins with the statement, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). The Biblical explanation of origins, described in the first chapters of Genesis, is foundational to a correct understanding of all Scripture. If one undermines or challenges the Creation account, the rest of the Bible is also undermined and challenged. This passage opens by describing God’s creation of the universe, and closes by describing the creation of Eve and her relationship with Adam.
The first of the great themes in Genesis is God’s creative power. The Genesis description of Creation is simple and specific, establishing a definitive beginning of the universe and all it contains, and recording that God the Creator accomplished this in a six-day period. There is no reference to a world that is evolving, or to creatures that are becoming more complex.
Some have theorized that the twenty-four-hour day portrayed in Genesis 1 actually represents an eon of time. However, if “the evening and the morning” referred to were each an eon long, all plant life on the earth’s dark side would die during the earth’s rotation. Also, the theory that the days of Creation were actually geologic ages fundamentally undermines the Gospel, because that would mean that death, disease, and decay occurred before the Fall of mankind.
A further validation of the twenty-four-hour time periods of Creation is found in a study of the Hebrew word yom, translated day in Genesis 1. The word day can have a variety of meanings, both in Hebrew and in the English language. However, in this chapter, both a number and the phrase “evening and morning” are used to describe each day of Creation. The same usage (yom with a number) occurs in Scripture 359 times — and in every instance, it means an ordinary, twenty-four-hour day. There is no reason to assume that the yom in Genesis 1 would be an exception.
Another theme we find in these chapters is that of God’s wonderful love. His provision of a perfect environment which provided all the necessities for man’s existence, His design for marriage and human companionship, and His desire to have a close and personal relationship with man all show that we serve a God who loves us and wants the best for us.
The account given in this text is true, literal, and perfect. In order to preserve the foundations of Christianity, the followers of Christ must protect the truths expounded in these key chapters of the Bible, and be willing to stand against the forces in current society which promote an explanation of the beginning of the world that is contrary to what is taught in God’s Word.
SUGGESTED RESPONSES TO QUESTIONS
- In the first chapter of Genesis, it is stated ten times that the living entities God created would produce after their own kind. The phrase “after his kind” indicates that God put boundaries in place with regard to the ability to reproduce. What evidence do we see of those boundaries in the natural world around us?
The boundaries are evidenced by the fact that each species of living thing reproduces a like living thing. Though strains may be combined and crossbred within a species to enhance certain characteristics, dogs will always produce dogs. Likewise, birds will always produce birds, wheat will always produce wheat, and peach trees will always produce peach trees.
You may wish to amplify your class discussion by pointing out that since the days of Charles Darwin, evolutionists have used the fact of natural selection (the “survival of the fittest” theory, which simply says that the future gene pool of any species is dominated by the those who best survive and reproduce in their environment) as evidence of the theory of evolution. However, natural selection does not come close to proving evolution, nor does it contradict a firm belief in the Creation account. Creationists point to natural selection as a possible explanation of why species today are so diverse around the world despite only two of each kind having been preserved on the Ark.
- What are some foundational truths that are established in these opening chapters of Genesis?
Class input may bring up a number of truths in response to this question. Among the points that could be discussed are the following:
• The Biblical account of Creation identifies God. Our culture today interprets the word god in a variety of ways, including an embodiment of nature, the universe, or each individual himself. The Genesis record reveals God to be the Supreme Being.
• The Biblical account of Creation identifies man. Human beings are not just an evolutionary happenstance or a random conglomeration of cells in which life spontaneously arose. The Biblical account of the creation of man teaches that we have a Creator who purposefully created us in His own image.
• The Biblical account of Creation is the basis for laws and morality. The principles of right and wrong are anchored in the fact that God, as Creator, has the right to ordain what is right or wrong because He created us and thus He owns us. The evolutionary philosophy, which rejects a divine Creator, regards the universe as the result of random chance. When there is no absolute authority, the basis for morality becomes whatever seems right or convenient to an individual at any given time.
• The Biblical account of Creation substantiates God’s miracle-working power. If the miraculous is rejected in the first chapters of Genesis, then Jesus’ miracles and the miracle of the Resurrection must also be rejected. Without a belief in the Resurrection of Christ, our faith is vain (see 1 Corinthians 15:14).
- What is unique about man when compared to the rest of God’s creation? Genesis 1:26-27; 2:7
Genesis 1:26-27 brings out that man alone was made in the image of God. Genesis 2:7 establishes that rather than speaking man into existence, God formed him from the dust of the ground. However, the most important distinction between man and the rest of God’s earthly creations is also noted in Genesis 2:7 — that man alone is a spiritual being, the result of God breathing into him the breath of life.
Since the soul of man will live forever, this is a good time to point out to your class how important it is that we prepare for our eternal destiny.
- What does Adam’s ability to name all the animals reveal about his intelligence from the day he was created? Genesis 2:19-20
Adam had a fully developed mind from the beginning; he did not evolve from a simple creature to a more advanced one.
You may wish to briefly expand upon the subject of the amazing capabilities of the human brain. For instance, it could be pointed out that our brains are made up of more than ten billion nerve cells and over fifty billion other cells, yet they weigh less than three pounds. As humans, we have the ability to invent, dream, reason, store data, imagine, and experience emotions. Human brains are more complex than the brains of any other living entity on earth. The brain continually processes a flood of information about the world around us, utilizing various senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching) to acquire, sort, and respond to data. The point can be made that while man has created many amazing devices, not one compares in function and ability to the human brain.
- Although God pronounced that everything He had made was “very good,” He proceeded to identify a condition that was not good: He said that it was not good that man should be alone. To address man’s need for a suitable companion, God created woman. How did God go about creating Eve? Why do you think He used this method? Genesis 2:18, 21-22
God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam. Then He took one of Adam’s ribs, and from it “made he a woman, and brought her unto the man” (Genesis 2:22).
While the Bible does not give a direct answer to the second question, class discussion should bring out that by forming Eve from Adam, God made a companion for Adam who would be a helper who was “meet” (fit) for him. The literal meaning of this phrase is “a helper corresponding to man” — one who was equal and adequate for him. Woman was perfectly and uniquely formed to complement man physically, mentally, and spiritually. She was designed to be his counterpart — one who would provide exactly the kind of help, companionship, and support he needed.
To amplify your discussion, you may wish to point your students’ attention to verse 23, which shows that Adam was impacted by the fact that Eve was made of his own bones and flesh. Clearly he recognized that her creation was very different from that of the animals that were only created male and female for the purpose of reproduction. The fact that Eve was made from Adam created a unique relationship between them.
- After God brought Eve to Adam, He instituted the bond of marriage. What guidelines and principles can we see in Genesis 2:22-25 regarding marriage?
This passage brings out that marriage is to be monogamous, between a man and woman, and the husband and wife are to be unified both physically and spiritually. According to God’s decree, the marriage union transcends even the bond between parent and child.
This account establishes that marriage was not instituted just for convenience, nor is it simply a cultural tradition. While the world may regard marriage as an agreement between two individuals that can be dissolved at the will of either or both of the parties, it is clear that marriage is a sacred institution originated by God. It is a covenant relationship, which is not to be broken. Since God is the Author of marriage, He has the right to designate guidelines concerning the nature and duration of this bond.
It is interesting to note that marriage was the only covenant created by God before the fall of man; all other covenants of God were made in response to man’s fallen nature.
- In Genesis 2:16-17, God gave a single prohibition to Adam — the command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Why do you think God gave Adam and Eve a choice regarding obedience, instead of simply physically preventing them from eating the fruit?
Class discussion should lead to the conclusion that God clearly wanted a relationship with the people He created; there would have been no true companionship if Adam and Eve had been simply robotic-type beings with controlled responses. The tree was placed in the Garden, and the prohibition given, to provide opportunity for a choice to be made — a clear indicator that man was created with a free will. Your group should conclude that sin brought separation between God and man, and that fact in itself is evidence that true companionship with Him is built on a foundation of obedience and a desire to do what pleases Him.
These first two chapters of God’s Word are not only informative and inspiring, but they provide a foundation for many of the theological truths presented in the remainder of the Bible.