Jan 21, 2018 – The Beginning
Preacher: Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series: Genesis 1-4
Genesis 1:1-31 (ESV)
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
6 And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. 8 And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
9 And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Questions for Reflection
- Are you someone who wonders about where we came from? Are questions of our origins interesting to you? If so, what do you wish you knew or had answers to? If not, what are the questions you really grapple with and wish you had answers to?
- What is creativity? What makes a person creative? Do all people have this capacity?
- What are some implications of God being the creator of all things? The Bible begins with God creating – what can we learn from that?
- Do you see science and faith as compatible? Incompatible? Contradictory? What principles should direct the dialogue between science and theology?
- How should we experience the world so that we discern the presence of the creator in the things that have been made?
- How can we understand all that is wrong in our world? Does chaos and tragedy mean God is not real (or trustworthy)? Does the Bible address this (if so, how and where)?
- In Romans 4:17 we are instructed to have the faith Abraham had, in “God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.” If you are familiar with the Abraham story, where do you see Abraham trusting a God who gives life to the dead and calls into existence things that do not exist? How is such a faith a foundation for life? How can it help you face your fears, struggles, challenges by faith?
- How does the story of Jesus help us see that God really does give life to the dead, and how are we meant to hope in Jesus so that this life is at work in us now?
- Read and reflect on other passages that speak of God as the creator: Proverbs 8:22-31, Psalm 104; Isaiah 40-55 (try chapter 45 if that section is too long); Job 38-41.
Prayer of Confession
God, our Father almighty, you are the creator of the heavens and the earth. Why do we fail to marvel at your utterly unique power and glory? Foolishly, we worship the things you have created, or imitate your creative activity because we want recognition and glory for ourselves. You have given us wisdom and understanding, but without humility we presume too much, demanding answers of questions you have not seen fit to address, and in ignorance drawing conclusions that insult your character and being. Forgive us for wanting to explain your world more than we want to rejoice in it, forgive us for failing to receive our lives as gifts. Thank you that your power is also expressed in re-creation, and we pray that the Spirit who hovered over the waters when the earth was made would give life to our hearts, minds and bodies. Amen.