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Scripture

Psalm 19:1-6
Genesis 1:1-13

Open your mind and heart as you read the passage of Scripture aloud and then again quietly to yourself. Listen for God’s word to you.


Spend some time in worship.

 

 

Observation

Psalm 19:1-6
C.S. Lewis stated: ‘I take this to be the greatest poem in the Psalter and one of the greatest lyrics in the world.’ The Psalm was written by David for the Chief Musician, who may have been God Himself, or the leader of the choirs and musicians in the Temple at the time of writing.
David described God’s glory which he saw as he looked up at the sky – whether by day or by night. For David, sunrise, sunset and sunshine, moonlight and the myriad stars and galaxies declared that the heavens reveal and witness to God’s glory. Without the heavenly bodies, humanity would not have been aware, until recently, that there was anything beyond the world they knew. The planets and stars declare the presence and existence of God, day by day and night by night. Their message has been seen by the whole world, no matter what language people speak.
The apostle Paul wrote that, as a result, no one has any reason to reject God who gave us such clear, beautiful evidence of His power and wisdom. (Romans 1:20)
David describes the night as a tent for the sun, from which it emerges every morning and to which it retires every night. It crosses the heavens every day like an athlete running a race. It can be seen and felt everywhere on the earth’s surface
Genesis 1:1-13
Almost every doctrine and teaching of Scripture has their foundation in Genesis, eg the promise of the Messiah, the kingdom of God, redemption etc. The book shows us the origin of the universe, the solar system, the atmosphere, good and evil, humankind, language, culture, nations, religion and so on.
Scripture does not set out to answer our question about ‘how?’, but to answer our question about ‘why?’ If the creation of humankind was a random act of chance humanity would have no more significance than an amoeba or any other living creature.
Only God is able to offer us the answer to our why questions. He has revealed a tiny portion of the how, but perhaps it is not up to man to ever know the full answer. The theologian Morris said: ‘The only proper way to interpret Genesis 1 if not to interpret it at all. That is, we accept the fact that it was meant to say exactly what it says.’
The beginning of Genesis 1 is straightforward. ‘God created …’ The Hebrew word used for create is ‘bara’ which means to create out of nothing. The Trinity is implied by the used of the plural name for God – Elohim. Guzik states that those who believe Genesis 1 will not find it difficult to believe the rest of the Bible.
It is evident when one considers the size of the universe that God is mighty. Our galaxy alone contains 2 billion stars, of which our sun is one. And God is greater than His creation (Isaiah 48:13; Isaiah 40:12). There is no room for chance in creation. Chance alone describes a probability – not a power. Everything about the universe is ‘just right’ – gravitational force, light-speed, distance between the stars, etc. Variations in these factors would result in the universe being unable to support life, and in its own destruction. Science is on an on-going quest to discover how everything began. New discoveries are continually being made, but it seems as if each new discovery raises further questions. Perhaps scientists are not much closer today to knowing how the universe began for the more they discover, the more they realise how much they don’t know.
Genesis was not intended to be a scientific document. If it had been written as such it is unlikely that, even today, few people would be able to understand it. God has always been in existence. He is the uncreated, eternal Being (Psalm 90:1-2; John 17:5; 17:24). Father Son and Holy Spirit played their roles in creating and forming the earth out of chaos into the beautiful place it is, even today after the fall caused such damage. So light was separated from darkness at God’s Word. Spurgeon says the Hebrew translation is ‘Light be: light was’. This happened even before the creation of the sun and the moon, indicating a supernatural element of light and dark. There are times when darkness is so thick it can be felt (eg Exodus 10:21). Theologians such as Spurgeon ask whether God would have inspired the use of the word ‘day’ if the events described had occurred in greater (perhaps geological) ages.
Creation continues day by day, raising further scientific questions. The plants were created as fully grown specimens on the third day – the sun only on the fourth day. How could plants thrive without sunlight if not from the light God had created on the first day? Perhaps creation began as God will end it (Revelation 21:23).

Icebreaker:

How do you feel when you are outside at night away from the city lights? What does the universe say to you about God? Share briefly with one another.

Application

  • What is your stand on science versus Scripture? Without getting into lengthy discussions, state your belief and briefly explain why you give the answer you do. Move on to further questions once everyone has responded.
  • How do you respond to someone who opposes your view on science vs. Scripture? What reasons do you give to them for your stance?
  • What one aspect of science is a stumbling block holding you back from accepting the Genesis account?
  • The Bible is not a science text book.’ Does this statement help you to understand the science/Scripture dilemma? Why/why not? Does the fact that the Bible is the inspired Word of God help you to sort out your belief or does it confuse you?
  • It is believed Genesis 1 was written during the captivity in Babylon in contrast to the Babylonian account of creation. (Babylonian account was violent and soaked in blood; Scriptural account was an act of love which, although corrupted by sin, was for shalom.) What does the Scriptural account say to you today about who God is?
  • Science and religion should be friends, not enemies.’ Can you agree with this statement? Why/why not? Does the fact that Scripture answers ‘why?’ and science answers ‘how?’ help to clarify this statement for you? How can the two complement one another?
  • Are you curious enough to ask questions and do your own research about these things? Do you think both answers (to the ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions) help you to grow your soul and deepen your faith? Why/why not?
  • How can the group help you with the struggles you have mentioned during this session?

Prayer
Pray for one another in regard to the issues that have been raised during your discussion time, and in regard to other needs of the group.

Service
Choose one area of discussion that has raised issues of disagreement between you as you have discussed them (or that you have disagreed about with others beyond your group). Do some research and return to the group next week with any new information you have discovered in this regard.

 

Bibliography

Psalm 19

Genesis Chapter 1

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