14 Jan Discussion Guide: Genesis Week 1
Take the first few minutes of your time together to listen to what God is doing in one another’s lives and pray for any specific needs people in your group may have.
This week we begin a new series titled Genesis, where we will be walking through the first book of the bible by the same name. We will be exploring who God is, what was His purpose in creating the world and humanity, and how, in the midst of all the brokenness our sin has brought to His creation, how is God putting it all back together again. I want to challenge us over the course of this series to think deeply, speak honestly, and perhaps even learn how to love more passionately. Let’s get started with the beginning.
The Jesus Story Book Bible
“Now. some people think the Bible is a book of rules, telling you what you should and shouldn’t do. The Bible certainly does have some rules in it. They show you how life works best. But the Bible isn’t mainly about you and what you should be doing. It’s about God and what He has done.
Other people think the Bible is a book of heroes, showing you people you should copy. The Bible does have some heroes in it, but most of the people in the Bible aren’t heroes at all.
No, the Bible isn’t a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a Story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves His palace, His throne — everything — to rescue the one He loves. It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life!”
How has your view, or understanding, of the Bible changed over the course of your life?
”In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 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. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. ‘
How does the Bible’s claim that a Triune God, a God who is Love, created all things make Christianity different from every other faith system?
”En el principio Dios creó los cielos y la tierra. La tierra estaba sin orden y vacía, y las tinieblas cubrían la superficie del abismo, y el Espíritu de Dios se movía sobre la superficie de las aguas. Entonces dijo Dios: “Sea la luz.” Y hubo luz. ‘
The Bible’s, and Christianity’s, claim that a Triune God has created all things for the specific purpose of reflecting who He is differs from every other faith system because every other faith system claims either a belief in one, unipersonal god, many separate unipersonal gods, or no god at all. If the claim of one, unipersonal god is true then love cannot be at the core of who that god is. Power can be at the core of that god. Selfishness can be at the core of that god. But, love cannot be at the core because if there exists one, unipersonal god then there is no one for that god to be loving towards before anything else existed.
If If the claim of multiple, unipersonal competing gods is true then love cannot be at the center either. Again, power and selfishness and competition can be, but love cannot be at the core of those gods because the very pursuit of those gods is to claim their own jurisdiction, their own demands, their own ultimate reality.
If the claim that there is no god is true, then obviously love cannot be at the core. If this is the case then love, good, evil, right, wrong, and truth is whatever we define it as. Not only can love not be at the core, it is actually impossible for love to exist at all. Without someone who can define what love is we cannot have love at all.
But, if the Creator of all things is a God who exists as One God in Three Persons who have eternally existed in a perfectly loving, unified, selfless community then not can love be at the core, love must be at the core. This results in Christianity having a completely different motivation than every other faith system.
What are the implications on our design and purpose if we are made in the image of this Triune God?
The implications of a Triune and loving Creator, and of us being formed in the image and likeness of this God, are that at the core of our purpose and design is love. As Jesus answered, when asked what the greatest commandment was, loving God and loving our neighbor as ourselves is what God desires most. This is the motivation of Christianity. Our pursuit is not to prove ourselves, or to impress God in order to gain some ultimate end result. Our pursuit is not to dominate or rule over others. Our pursuit is grow in the knowledge of God’s love in order to better reflect that love to the rest of creation. Our aim is to receive God’s grace and mercy in order that we might extend that grace and mercy to others. Our goal is to grow in God’s Truth and holiness in order that we might stand for truth and holiness in a world of deceit and sin. Our call is to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. This all culminates in our ultimate purpose being to image and reflect this loving and Triune God to the world around us.
“Atheistic existentialism, of which I am a representative, declares with greater consistency that if God does not exist we must face the consequences of this: we are not made for a purpose, like a paper knife, and that therefore there is no a priori good. Nowhere is it written that human beings must be honest, must not lie, because we are now on a plane where there are only human beings and not God. As Dostoyevsky said, “if there is not God, everything is permitted.””
What are the implications of life if there is no Triune, loving, and moral Creator at the center of it all?
If the Universe was formed by love, and if we were designed for love, why do you think so few people live that way?
Charles H. Spurgeon
“As the salt flavors every drop in the Atlantic, so does sin affect every atom of our nature. It is so sadly there, so abundantly there, that if you cannot detect it, you are deceived.”
How has our sin affected God’s creation and God’s design for life?
How has Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection begun to put creation and humanity back together again?
If love is at the core of creation then sin is simply choosing to love someone or something other than God first. And, at the heart of that choice ultimately is the desire for us to be the god of our own Universe, to define good and evil for ourselves. Or, to put it another way, sin is replacing love with selfishness. Since the Universe is designed to run on love, and since we were given the responsibility to oversee and steward creation by reflecting that love out into the world, when we choose sin and selfishness instead then it is like putting water in the gas tank of a car. It may look and feel like gasoline, but water can never be a legitimate substitute for gasoline when it comes to the engine of a car. If we attempt to put water in our gas tank the car is going to break down and the engine will fall apart. In the same way, when we live out of the selfish desires of our hearts rather than out of a place of unconditional love towards God and others we fracture God’s creation. Creation begins to come unraveled. Death replaces life. Selfishness replaces love. Tyranny replaces submission. The lust for power replaces the love of others.
When we put our faith in what Jesus has done the core essence of our design, namely unconditional love, is put back in place. If sin comes from fear and insecurity resulting in self-preservation and selfishness, then obedience comes from the security and confidence of knowing the King of the Universe has loved us and called us His own. And, we can know beyond the shadow of a doubt that this is true because Scripture tells us, “God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” (Romans. 5:8). The truth of that love, combined with the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, both reconciles us back to the heart of God and His purpose for our lives and empowers us to actually live that purpose out as we seek to image God and love our neighbors as ourselves.
How can we model God’s original design, model new creation, to the world around us?
Pensamientos de Cierre