Closing the Gap – Week 3 Study Guide

By January 21, 2018 Small Group Study Guide

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“By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” Heb. 11:3

Commentary on Hebrews 11:3

Verse 3 is an extension of verse 1. Faith that God created the world is an example that faith is the certainty “of realities we don’t see” and the universe’s creation is one of those. Faith provides us with the only factual account of creation. God is the only One who was there; He tells us how it happened.

It is interesting that the Bible always assumes, and never argues, God’s existence. Although everything else had a beginning, God has always been. He alone is the one who spoke the universe into existence out of nothing. We believe His word and thus we know the universe was created by God’s powerful word, and that God created and ordered the universe (Gen 1:1–2:3).

The theological concept of creatio ex nihilo (“creation out of nothing”) could be implied by this verse’s claim that the material world was not made from visible things. The emphasis is on the universe’s response to God’s command, rather than God’s work with physical materials.

Simply put: God spoke and matter came into being. This agrees perfectly with man’s discovery that matter is essentially energy. When God spoke, there was a flow of energy in the form of sound waves. These were transformed into matter, and the world sprang into being. Energy is invisible to the naked eye, and so are atoms, molecules and gases. Yet in combination they become visible.

 

Study Guide

“By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” Heb. 11:3

  1. “In the beginning God….” This is how the Bible begins. It begins with ultimate reality, the one who has always been and will always be. It does not start with man or earth or the universe, but with God.
  • Why is it so important that we understand this reality?
  • What happens when we try to have a different starting point other than God?
  • Where/what is your starting point?
  • What could you do differently to make sure you’re putting Christ at the beginning of every thought, word and action?

 

  1. What about science? Does it explain the universe’s creation?
  • Science requires human interaction: experimentation and observation. God has given us what humans cannot observe or discover. Discuss the differences between the two views.
  • What can science tell us? What can science not tell us?
  • There are a lot of secularists who would say that creation as described in this verse is simply a myth. Why would they be wrong?
  • Does science cause your confidence in God to waiver?
  • The Bible says that God is infinite; He’s outside of time and space. Why is this truth important to you?
  • What can you start doing today to close the gap on confidence in God?

 

  1. What about evolution? Is it able to explain the universe?
  • What about you? Does it explain you, your real need and your real solution?
  • Think about what faith is; can it be misguided?
  • Do evolutionists live by faith?
  • We understand (know) by faith (of course, since we were not there) that the universe was formed at God’s command. Everything exists because God wanted it to. What is the practical application of this truth for you? What can you do to close the gap?

 

  1. Why is there something rather than nothing?
  • Look back over Genesis 1: God “spoke” and said “Let there be…!” What does it mean that God “spoke”?
  • How does this compare with the idea that things came into being by random chance? What are the chances of this happening?
  • Why is it more reasonable to believe that if something looks like it was designed, then it probably was, and it would be reasonable to believe it came from a mind?
  • Now bring this idea down to the personal level: the same is true about you. You were created, you have a purpose and you were made by the same God that spoke the universe into existence. What are the implications for your life and how does this reality help you to close the gap on faith and love?

 

  1. For many today God is the universe or the universe is God. Why is this not true?
  • Consider this thought: life, existence and the physical universe are all gifts.
    1. Does it fill you with awe and wonder? Why?
    2. How do awe and wonder provide an opportunity to close the gap on faith and love?

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