Genesis 1:1–2:3: Creation
In every temptation to sin, our Enemy seeks to convince us that our ways would be better than God’s ways. Either we start to believe that what God has revealed to us is not good, or not true, or perhaps not even all that relevant to our lives. As these thoughts begin to poison our minds, we seek to liberate ourselves from God’s structures, God’s gifts, and God’s rhythms of living. More and more, we long to define our own purposes, to provide for ourselves, and to order our lives as we see fit. The further we go down that road, the more satisfied we begin to feel, smugly confident that we are finally able to gain the good that God wants to keep us from enjoying. That is not simply how we feel about our lives today; it is also a summary of the story of the Fall of Adam and Eve that we will study in Genesis 3. Very soon after God’s initial work of creation, humankind will begin a trajectory of doubting God that will plague us until Jesus returns.
Why, though, should anyone want to trust God? What good can we gain from God that we cannot acquire for ourselves, on our own? To answer these questions, we must go all the way back to the beginning. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. God’s creation was not good from the start (Gen. 1:2), but by the end of the week God had formed and filled his work to the extent that it was very good (Gen. 1:31). Unless we understand the goodness of God’s original design and the chaotic curse of life outside of God’s original design, we will struggle to understand and to trust him when he speaks. Beyond telling us what happened at the beginning of time, Genesis 1:1–2:3 tells us why it happened and what God’s work in creation means for our lives today.
1. Why does God originally create the heavens and the earth as a formless, empty, dark, and watery mess (Gen. 1:2)? How does this depiction of the world before God makes it good illustrate the consequences of sin? Why are we so tempted to think that we understand how to pursue goodness in this world better than God, the Creator?
2. How many ways does God establish form to the formlessness of creation? Why does God consider form, structure, organization, order, and distinctions to be so important? Where are you grateful that God has established boundaries in your life? Where do you most feel a pull away from God’s boundaries? How does recognizing the goodness of God’s structure help you to fight against temptation?
3. How many things does God create to fill the void of his creation? Why does God want his creation to be filled? What role are human beings called to play in filling up creation? How might the principle of filling influence our families or our work? How might our call to subdue and exercise dominion over creation influence our families or our work?
4. Why does God set aside the Sabbath day as holy? How does God call us to rest from our work on the Sabbath? How do you remember the Sabbath to keep it holy? In the context of the glorious goodness of God in creation, how might we start to see keeping the Sabbath as a delight rather than a drudgery?