Bible Study Notes Rev. Betsy Perkins
Two Creation Stories
The creation stories of Genesis are historical parables. They were not intended to be read as a science or history textbook. The author was more concerned about helping his audience understand the God of creation and the implications of being in a covenant relationship with the Creator God, rather than stating objective facts. The biblical creation stories are written to present the stark contrast of the nature of the True God and His creation, compared with the pagan world and its gods and creation stories.
The Creation Story – View 1 (1:1-2:4):
God = Elohim
o What was present in the beginning?
o John Goldingay writes, “To use an artistic metaphor, God spends the first three days sketching the outline of a picture and the second three filling in the details.” Look for the correlation between Day 1 & 4, Day 2 & 5, and Day 3 & 6.
o God gives 2 blessings, in verses 22 and 28. What are these blessings? What are their meaning and importance?
o There is a third blessing in verse 2:3. How is this blessing different and/or similar?
o This story of creation highlights the intentional, systematic and ordered way in which God created. What do we learn about God’s nature through this creation account?
o What does it mean that human beings were created in God’s image?
o What does it mean that God was pleased with His creation?
o Why did God rest after following the work of creation?
The Creation Story – View 2 (2:5-25):
adamah = humus, soil; adam = human
LORD God = Yahweh Elohim
Eden = delight, luxury
o In what ways did God make humans responsible for the earth (1:28 and 2:15)?
o What is the significance of God making the first human from the dust of the earth? What is the significance of God breathing life into him?
o Based on the creation stories of Gen 1 and 2, what was God’s original intention for the relationship between man and woman?
o What reasons would God have to make woman from man, rather than from the earth? What might Adam have felt when he first saw Eve?
o Why does God give the man and woman a warning about the tree of good-and-evil knowledge rather than making it inaccessible?
“Distinguishing between good and bad is an insight that belongs to God, so God claims the right to decide whether and when to give it. It is divine prerogative and a divine gift, and humanity cannot insist on the possession of such insight. Surely God intends humanity to have it; but paradoxically, it can only do so if it accepts the discipline of not simply taking it. To insist on taking it is to push your way into God’s realm, to attempt to be like God. There is also a more paradoxical related point: Reverence for God, accepting what God says and living by it, is the first principle of wisdom, the way to knowing the difference between good and bad. So the tree would be the means of humanity’s gaining that insight, by their not eating from it. This restraint would be an expression of a wise attitude toward God.” John Goldingay
o What does this creation account reveal about us as human beings?
o What does this creation account reveal about God?
Creator God: a Speaking God, a Shaping God, a Breathing God, a Building God, a Blessing God
In light of this passage and our discussion, what one truth about God and about yourself stand out as something to “take to heart” this week?
Are there steps you will take, by God’s grace, to more fully apply it to your life?
Resources: Robert Alter, Genesis, 1996
John Goldingay, Genesis for Everyone, 2010
Max Lucado, Life Lessons with Max Lucado: Book of Genesis, 1997