You and that Story in Genesis 1

In Genesis 1-3 God has given us an incredibly powerful and memorable story that tells us deep truths about God, ourselves and the world we live in. However, we need to read it in the right way if we are going to get the point! If we do we’ll be inspired to worship God and to choose to live well—which was what the authors wanted in the first place.

This is Session 1 of 8 in Series 1 of the Enter Life Curriculum. [Series 1 Home; Enter Life Home]

The Story

What percentage of the people in your school know at least something about the Creation story in the Bible? It’s probably quite high—like over 90%? That’s not bad for a religious story written 2500 years ago is it?

Unfortunately that story is also probably one of the most badly read stories in the Bible (maybe some stuff in Revelation too…)

Here’s some help for reading it better and unlocking the secret of what the writer was really trying to tell usIf you want to understanding this story (and any other Bible passage) you need to try and figure out three things about the text:
1.WHO the passage was first written to
2.WHAT the author was trying to say
3.HOW the author was saying it

If you have time check out this story about how not to say ‘you have beautiful eyes’

Here are some guides to understanding these three things about Genesis 1-3:
1. The audience—reading dead people’s mail …
The first hearers of the Genesis story probably lived 2500-3000 years ago. Their world was very different to ours.
What do you imagine they thought about:

  • the best ways to chat to friends?
  • the most exciting form of transport?
  • the solar system?
  • the best way to get information?
  • the Bible?

Think of what you do on your phone each day. How would you describe that in a way someone living back then would understand?

This might sound controversial but …
Genesis wasn’t written to us! It was written to a group of people in a very, very different place and time. Yes, God still speaks to us through Genesis but we must remember we’re not the people the writer of Genesis had in mind. We are listening in on an ancient conversation …

2. WHAT was the author trying to say?
Which of these four questions do you think the author of Genesis might have been wanting to answer?
• HOW everything was created?
• WHO was involved in the creation process?
• WHY were things made (and for what purpose)?
• WHEN did it all happen (and how long did it take)?

The biggest reason we get into trouble when reading Genesis is when we try and find answers to questions the writer had no real intention of answering …

This might sound controversial but …
If we want to know the HOW and WHEN of the origins of this world then let’s listen to what the scientists are saying. God has given us the ability to think and experiment and make instruments that can measure all kinds of things and help develop theories about our origins.

VLA_high

The fact that science can come up with plausible theories about the origins of the Universe and earth and life doesn’t mean there’s no room for God in the story. So don’t panic!

The writer of the Creation story in Genesis was much more interested in WHO was involved and WHY things were created at all. And that’s what we’ll be exploring in the rest of this series. I think you’ll find the answers the Genesis story gives to these questions a bit life changing.

3. How is the author saying it?
There are different ways of telling a true story. You could take the straight-up-facts option in a text book or you could try something more creative that engages our minds in other ways. Good artists do this – they take snapshots of life and shake our imaginations with truth wrapped in beauty.

Check this clip out

The genius of the Simpsons is that the writers can say something that’s true about our world in creative and funny ways. This clip is much more powerful than if they just Tweeted: ’Apple products are overpriced and overrated.’ Right?

Is the Simpsons true? Well, not literally – there aren’t yellow people with bad blue hairstyles wondering around in the USA somewhere. But the message in a Simpsons episode can be very true.

Could the Creation story in Genesis be like the Simpsons – a powerful, creative story that grabs our attention and conveys deeply true things to us?

The power of a story well told
By writing the creation account in the form of a story with high drama and very memorable characters and images (like talking snakes!) the writer grabs our attention more powerfully than a straightforward, factual account ever could.

In Genesis we read a powerful, emotional and gripping story of the WHO and WHY of creation. We see God’s action in shaping the world and universe we live in. We see who we were made to be and how things went horribly wrong …

We are captivated by the story …

redperson

If you have time—try one of these three meditations. Spend a few minutes imagining you’re in the middle of one of these scenes. Use all your senses to try get the full experience …

1. Imagine how it would be to go back in time to that moment in the Story before sin has messed things up. God looks at you—the person he’s created to reflect his image– and God says: ‘you are very good!’
What do you think it means when Paul says ‘if anyone is in Christ they are a new creation, the old has gone and new has come…’?

2. You’re watching the scene between the snake and Adam and Eve unfold. You know what the consequences of their disobedience are going to be … How are you responding when Adam and Eve are deciding what to do about that fruit?
How does this relate to the ways you are tempted?

3. Put yourself in God’s shoes as you wander into the garden to hang out with the people you have created and love. You know what’s just happened with the fruit, you know Adam and Eve are hiding from you. How do you feel? What do you say?
If you were God—what would you want to do about it?

Leaders Toolkit

In this tab you’ll find ideas and questions to help you lead your group through an interactive, story-based journey. Our leaders guide has more info on how to use our Story-based framework.

Click on the time bomb to see how you could run this session in 15 minutes, 30 minutes or longer.
timebomb

Download a PDF version of this session here

Creation Story Quiz

So you’re a Christian and you believe the Bible is true – including what it says about creation … answer me this!

o How old is our planet: 6000 years—4+ billion?
o When did the dinosaurs live?
o Where did Cain’s wife come from?
o How long did the creation take? seven 24-hour days or a bit longer?
o Why should we believe those old stories?—science and evolution theory has all the answers now…

Rewind
o Can you remember how you first heard about the Creation story? If it was a person who told you, how much did they shape what you believe about it?

o If someone asked you how you think life, the Universe and everything all began, what would you say?

o If you had 1 minute to tell someone the main thing about the Creation story in the Bible what would you say?

Refresh
Check out the post in The Story tab.

Here’s Brad Fish explaining how to read Genesis well… On You Tube here

replay
The writers of the Old Testament were much more interested in inspiring us to worship God and live right than they were about giving us the cold facts.

Some questions to help you replay your story …
o Does what you’ve encountered in this session challenge anything about the way you read the Bible? Does it confirm anything for you?

o What questions does this raise for you?

remix
What practical action, response, thought do you want to take into the week?

Some questions to help you remix your story …
o Are there any changes you need to make in how you read the Bible – that might start with just beginning to read it! How could you do that this week?

o If you’ve read the Creation story in Genesis 1 (looking out for the WHO and WHY rather than the HOW or WHEN) – what do you see that could inspire you to worship God?

From the WordSpace


Here are five posts from the WordSpace we’ve posted specially to tie in with this topic:

#1
A lot of scientists got really excited about the Big Bang Theory this week. The um, real theory – not the one about Sheldon and Penny…

What was the big deal? They found something pretty close to proof that the Big Bang Theory (14 billion years ago) is true (read the story here: http://bit.ly/NygAob )

Is that a challenge to what you believe about God the Creator? It shouldn’t be! The Genesis story is not about how or when things came to be, it’s about who God is, who we are (and some other stuff too )

Let’s read the Bible to see what it says about God’s Story, our story and God’s new creation plan. Let’s listen to the scientists about how exactly the world around us works. It’s an awe- and worship-inspiring picture…

#GenesisandYou
#GodsStoryNow
#andrewv

#2
What percentage of the people in your school know at least something about the Creation story in the Bible? Probably like, over 90%? That’s not bad for a religious story written 2500 years ago right?

Unfortunately that story is also probably one of the most badly read in the Bible.

The writer of Genesis wasn’t really interested in telling us all about HOW or WHEN things happened, what was far more important was WHO was involved and WHY things got created at all.

Read the Creation story in Genesis 1 listening out for clues about WHO God is and WHY God created the world. Does that change anything?

#GenesisandYou
#andrewv

#3
Did you hear that Pope Francis recently said that evolution and the Big Bang are probably accurate theories (http://huff.to/1GoVujD)? God is still behind the creation process, just not the way people sometimes think. I agree!

If we read the Genesis story of Creation well we can get to know God and ourselves in a whole new way.

Try this: Read Genesis 3 and put yourself in God’s shoes as you wander into the garden to hang out with the people you have created and love. You know what’s just happened with the fruit, you know Adam and Eve are hiding from you. How do you feel? What do you say?

If you were God—what would you want to do about it?

#GenesisandYou
#andrewv

#4
One way to read the Creation story well is to remember that Genesis was written to a group of people in a very different place and time to us. God speaks to us through Genesis but we’re really listening in on an ancient conversation.

So read Genesis 1 and imagine how it would be to go back in time to that moment in the Story before sin has messed things up. God looks at you—the person he’s created to reflect his image– and God says: ‘you are very good!’

Then hear Paul say: ‘if anyone is in Christ they are a new creation, the old has gone and new has come…’?

Could that change the way you see yourself this week?

#GenesisandYou
#andrewv

#5
I love the Simpsons. I really enjoy the way the show says such insightful things about our world in creative and funny ways. Is the Simpsons true? Well, not literally – there aren’t yellow people with bad blue hairstyles in the USA somewhere. But the message in a Simpsons episode can be oh-so true.

Could the Creation story in Genesis be like the Simpsons – a powerful, creative story that grabs our attention and conveys deeply true things to us?

Read Genesis 3 and imagine you’re watching the scene between the snake and Adam and Eve unfold. You know what the consequences of their disobedience are going to be … How do you feel when Adam and Eve decide to eat that fruit?

What about the times you give in to temptation?

#GenesisandYou
#andrewv

 

You may also like