+ WATCH “How Did God Create the Ingredients for Life?” from the BioLogos Foundation
+ PRAY for open hearts and minds, especially yours.
+ READ Genesis 1:1-2:4 (ESV). If you’re in a group of four or more divide the reading amongst four people (A, B, C & D), like Slide 3 (see below for attachment).
Every story has a beginning, but the Big Picture of the Bible is a little bit different. To see what I mean, listen to the very first words, on the very first page, in the very first chapter of the Bible:
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. (Genesis 1:1-2)
“In the beginning.” The Bible isn’t just an ordinary story, it’s the true story of the whole world, and so the Bible doesn’t start just anywhere. Its beginning is THE beginning; where all things find their origin, when time itself springs into being, and every effect finds its ultimate cause.
“In the beginning, God.” But that ultimate cause isn’t just another physical phenomenon in a long chain of physical phenomena. That cause is personal and spiritual, and he has a name: Elohim, The-Great-and-Mighty—God. Before anything or anyone else, there is simply… HIM.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” In this opening prologue to the whole biblical narrative only God speaks, only God acts; and creation--everything else—simply flows from his Word, and is shaped by his hand. Before he speaks and shapes there was nothing, but because of him, everything simply is. Our cosmic home is radically dependent on a radically independent Creator—the Great I AM.
“The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep.” When God creates, he begins with his own blank canvas: no particular shape, just an empty, fluid darkness. Over the course of three days he fashions the physical world (light & dark; sea & sky; land & vegetation) and then he returns to these places to fill them with their inhabitants, one day at a time (lights of day & night; fish & birds; land animals & humans). And everything was just so; not just “good,” but “very good.”
“And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” Just as God is our beginning, he is also our end; the first one to be and do, and the last one to take up his proper residence (on day 7). He is the end-all and be-all, the goal, the one “in whom all things hold together.” These heavens and earth are not ours, but his. This is HIS story; we belong to him.
Here is beauty. Here is order. Here is the melody and harmony of creation. As David knew, the stars sing, and their words call out for discovery. So we look and listen. We ponder the intricate dance of electromagnetism and gravity, weak and strong nuclear forces, and gravitational binding and rest-mass energy. We live in a universe in which only one less quark per billion antiquarks would have tipped the balance against everything but radiation—even us. But why is that so? Why that extra quark? Why those perfect ratios? Why the interconnectedness of all matter, or the intelligibility of the universe? Why? Because, “In the beginning, God created…”
+ ASK Three Big Questions
+ DIG DEEPER with slides for group discussion.