Part 2 – In the Beginning

A Hubble Space Telescope image of the R136 super star cluster – revealing the wonders of God’s creation (Image from NASA and European Space Agency)


Part 2 of the Big Journey is entitled ‘In the Beginning’. It’s a PDF document illustrated in full colour throughout. Click on the PDF icon below to read or download it:

Outline of contents
“ ‘Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.’ ” (Revelation 4.11 ESV)

From a dark lifeless ball shrouded in water, God creates our stunningly beautiful world lit by sun and moon, and stars that stretch for unimaginable distances into space.  How does He do this, and why?  In this session of the Big Journey we unpack the first two chapters of Genesis.

The creation account divides into three parts:

Genesis 1.1  The first verse of Genesis tells us that God created everything.

Genesis 1.2-2.3  We see God transforming a dark lifeless ball into this beautiful world.  He does this step by step in six days, and rests on the seventh day.

Genesis 2.4-25  Our perspective changes – God ‘zooms us in’ to a specific region on Earth.  He gives us an intimate and more detailed view of how He made Adam and Eve, and the garden paradise which He created to be His home, and theirs.

And God gave mankind responsibility.  Adam and Eve were called to care for the Garden of Eden, to develop and utilise its diverse and bountiful resources, and through science, technology and the arts to build a rich and godly civilisation in it. They were to be culture-builders  and so are we.

God  gave Adam and Eve another task, too.  The two words in Genesis 2.15 “to work . . . and keep” (ESV) or “to work . . .and take care” (NIV) are significant. Gordon Wenham tells us that “the only other passages in the Pentateuch [the first five books of the Bible] where these verbs are used together are to be found in Numbers 3.7-8, 8.26, 18.5-6, of the Levites’ duties in guarding and ministering in the sanctuary [Tabernacle]”.  The garden of Eden was God’s home – just as the Tabernacle was to be many centuries later.  Adam and Eve were to look after and guard the garden (the word “keep” could also be translated “guard”, as it is in Numbers 3.8), keeping it holy and fit for God to live with them there.

Adam and Eve began life in Eden, but as their family grew ever larger, they were to push the garden’s boundaries out to the farthest corners of the Earth.  Gregory Beale comments: “This meant the presence of God which was limited to Eden was to be extended throughout the whole earth.”  That’s still God’s goal.  One day (as Habakkuk prophesied) “. . . the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”  (Habakkuk 2.14).  Humanity’s task was to bring the whole earth under their control and make it a paradise.

And we ask how we’re to reconcile the findings of science and the Biblical account of creation.  In particular we briefly address the two biggest questions – the age of the Earth, and evolution.  We also look briefly at the main interpretations of the six creation days.  And we ask what God meant when He said that this Earth was “very good” (Genesis 1.31).  Was the whole Earth was a perfect paradise, or was it a world much like the one we see today – a world with wild places and wildernesses as well as more hospitable landscapes?

Part 2 of the Big Journey is entitled ‘In the Beginning’.  It’s a 12-page PDF document illustrated in full colour throughout.  Click on the PDF icon at the top of this page to download it.

Scripture quotations, unless otherwise marked, are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ● Scripture quotations marked ‘NIV’ are taken from the The Holy Bible, New International Version (Anglicised edition). Copyright © 1979, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of International Bible Society. UK trademark number 1448790.

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