Life’s Questions – Week 3 Study Guide

By January 20, 2019 January 22nd, 2019 Small Group Study Guide

PART 1. WHAT IS THE BIBLE ABOUT AND WHY I SHOULD TRUST IT?
3. In the beginning God: Genesis (Science, Epistemology)

Note: Epistemology is a fancy word that means the “study of knowledge.” It addresses the questions, “What is knowledge?” “How is knowledge acquired?” “What do people know?” “How do we know what we know?” “Why do we know what we know?”

If you’re interested in finding out more about epistemology you can follow this link to Gotquestions.com. This topic will not necessarily be covered in the study as a specific topic; I just thought I’d include it for further study for those who are interested.

Opener: Have your group continue with the role-play from last week… you can consider this scene two! You now invite the person to have a seat, they ask to see your Bible and thumb through the pages. They do like most people do when reading a book; they open it up to the first page and pause. You catch them staring at the title. With a perplexed look on their face they murmur, “Genesis… hum, what does that mean?”

Questions: Give your group a moment to think through the scenario. Now ask them “What would be your response to this person? How would you describe the book of Genesis?”

Summary Statement: Genesis is the first book of the Bible and it begins the storyline of God’s involvement and redemption of humanity. It is the book of beginnings: People, day and night, sin, judgment, sacrifices, and redemption. It serves as the basis for making sense out of the rest of the Bible and human history…and your own life.

It answers the questions:

  1. Where did the world come from? (Where did I come from?) How did we get here?
  2. Why is it so messed up? (Why am I so messed up?) Why is life like this?
  3. Is there any hope for it? (For me?) Does God care about us?

Passage:

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

Genesis 3:6 “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”

Genesis 15:6 “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness”

Genesis 50:19 “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives”

 Discussion: Think back to Terry’s sermon. He gave us a map to help us think/understand what the book of Genesis is about. Have your group members see if they can remember the points (You can think of them as drop-pins) on the map.

MAP:

  1. Divided into two sections (Section one move very fast, while section two slows down)
  2. 1-11 How things got so messed up.
    1. Creation of the cosmos, creation of Adam and Eve.
    2. Fall into sin of Adam and Eve.
    3. Devolution (not evolution) of humanity…shame, murder, finally reaching the low point where…”Every inclination of man’s heart was only evil all the time.”
    4. God, in His sorrow, washes the world to save it. Sets aside a single family who are part of a faithful few on the entire earth. Even these few are seriously flawed though.
    5. Post-flood, the people remain unchanged. They form a coalition of evil in Babylon and so God scatters them and they spread out into nations.
  3. 12-50 God focuses on one Man, one family.
    1. Abraham receives the covenant promise.
    2. It is renewed with each generation: Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.
    3. Joseph is sold into slavery by his brothers…through amazing interventions by God he is able to save his family.

Question: Why is this map important to us?

Answer: Here in the book of beginnings…we see the storyline that will thread through the entire Bible—God turning human evil into good through His own intervention in our lives.

We must not let distractions, like the debates that go on today with Genesis and Science, take our eyes off the storyline—God engaging with Humanity to make a way for us back to Him.

The debates can be interesting, but they can take our focus off of the story line, when this happens, we can fail to see what God is communicating.

Rather than getting caught up in endless debates on Genesis and Science that are way above our pay grade, here’s the bottom line up front (BLUF)!

BLUF

  1. There is no problem between Genesis and Science.
  2. Even though there is a sense among the public that the issues debated are scientifically settled facts, the reality is, there is no real consensus among scientists on many of the topics debated.
  3. Science cannot answer ultimate questions…the questions that matter most to us as humans.
  4. Genesis speaks to what science cannot—how and why we are here!

Go back to the storyline… Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

Here’s the storyline’s BLUF! Genesis tells us:

  1. How are we here
  2. Why we are here
  3. Why we are in the mess we are (And why there is beauty and purpose)
  4. What God will do to redeem us (The beginnings of His plan are there)

Application:

Now go back to the passage. Read it to your group.

Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

Question: What are the implications for this in your life?

Meaning: Your meaning is derived from Him: He made you.

Purpose: You exist for Him: He is the King of the universe

Right and wrong: He determines the good and what is not good. These things are not determined by your desire, or your culture, or even your wiring or biology.

Control: He is in control. We are not. So we must stop destroying ourselves, and relationships with others through our “demandingness.”

Question: Will I trust Him to define what is good and what is not?

Will you transfer trust of self to Christ: Will you transfer trust and the penalty for your sins to Him?

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