Text: Genesis 1-2 (Read it here.)
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. (Genesis 2.2-3, NIV)
God and Us
Author: Charles Stephenson
In Genesis 1:1 God makes the move from no material existence to the material existence we now share. In this chapter “create” is only used in 1:1, 21, and 27. Each time marks a major move of significance for our creation. Yet, nothing in this text attempts to give a modern scientific explanation for our universe. Here, God is explaining our relationship to the world around us and with him.
Genesis 1:1 brings before us our material existence, which is then organized over the first four days of the creation story. Day five (Genesis 1:21) brings the second use of create. Here the move is from inanimate nature to animal life. This gives us living, breathing, eating, digesting, and reproducing-after-its-kind animal life. All of this animal life shares in the material existence around us.
Day 6 starts with the introduction of more animals. “Create” is not used because nothing new is introduced that had not already come into existence. These are only different forms of animal life, which share in the previous creation of the material and the previous creation of animal life.
Genesis 1:27 introduces a different form of animal life, which shares in the previous creation of the material and the previous creation of animal life, which also has a very significant difference from all previous creation, the image of God. This last move in the creation is signaled as the most significance move in our creation story. Here “create” is used three times to indicate the significance of this move. We human beings share in the creation of all material and animal life. But, far above all of that, we have the very image of God. Just think about the majesty and power of the creation! Then, note that we are the crown of God’s creation.
As we look into Genesis 2 we see human beings as necessary for bringing out the very best in creation. Genesis 2:5 points to the need for watering the garden and for a man to work the garden. We get to work with God to complete the potential of his creation!
Please read again Genesis 1-2. Now think about other things in these chapters that point to our place in creation and before God. Discuss implications for how we should live in God’s creation.
In the beginning, God created the earth from a world that the author of Genesis calls: “formless and empty.” How difficult do you find creating order from chaos?
Throughout the seven days of creation, God calls each day of his created work “good” until he gets to the creation of humankind, to which he announces: “It is very good.” Why do you think the creation of humankind evokes this response from God? In what ways was creation incomplete until humans were created? How is humankind different from anything God had created prior?
Do you sense your life is one of chaos or one of peace and rest? Which describes your story: a world without form and empty, or one in which everyone lives together in peace? Why do you think this is the case? How would the peace of a regular rhythm of rest help move you from a world of chaos to a world that reflects “Shalom?”(Shalom is the the Hebrew word for peace and a description of the scene we see of Adam and Eve in the garden in Genesis 2.)