Friday, January 18, 2013

The Creation Completed--(with Quiz + Notes)

 


January 19, 2013

Larry R Evans
Sabbath School Study

Introduction

Have you ever picked up a book and read the last chapter first?  Sometimes the anticipation is a bit overwhelming so we rush to the end.  While doing so has some advantages, there are also some real disadvantages. We can miss some critical insights if we only focus on the outcome. Likewise there are also some pitfalls if we take the same approach when reading the biblical account of the Creation Week. The end has greater significance when we understand how we got there in the first place!

In Genesis 1:4, for example, we discover that God saw that the light was good and throughout the week He pronounces other creations as “good” and “very good.”  While in our rush to get to the description of the creation of man and/or the creation of the Sabbath experience, we must not conclude that God is only interested in the “spiritual realities.”  H. Ross Cole points out that “The Black Death wiped out up to half the European population in the thirteenth century and can be ascribed in large part to an utter absorption in the spiritual at the expense of the physical.” (see “Genesis: Introduction to the Canon and to Biblical Theology” in In the Beginning, edited by Bryan W. Ball, p. 56—Pacific Press)  Nature is not independent of God’s purposes or plans.  The order and description of creation has value and deserves our attention too!  This becomes apparent when we see that man is given authority to subdue (rule) over all the creations of the earth that preceded his own creation. (Gen. 1:26).  But we must not miss the qualifying statement.  Man was created in the image of God.  This begs the question:  “How much care and interest did God give to the creation prior to the creation of man?  We soon see that Adam does for the animals what God had done earlier for the light and darkness (Gen. 1:5) and the expanse of the heavens (v.8). Is naming the animals really just a matter of classification? Being “named” throughout Scripture has personal and special significance.  Perhaps we get an insight to our role with nature when we see how Noah relates to the creation in preparation for the flood.  Noah, with the obvious involvement of God, brings animals into the ark for safety.  As Cole points out, Noah becomes the first conservationist! This point is pressed even further when we read that it is only then because of the pressing emergency that God gives permission for humans to eat animals, but prohibits the eating of blood, out of regard for the sanctity of life (Gen. 9:3,4)!  In Jonah we see how God reverses things and uses nature, “a great fish,” to save a reluctant prophet.  Then we see God’s agonizing concern for the animals as He views  the pending destruction of Nineveh. (Jonah 4:11). I am struck with my on arrogance when I realize just how much I think the world and the universe is “only” interested in “my human” well being.  By rushing to the end of the Creation Week in our reading to see our own creation, it is easy to minimize the importance of earlier creations.  How we care for our earth and “all” that inhabit it is critical if we are ever to fully realize the meaning of being created in the “image of God.”   This week’s lesson gives us that opportunity.    We have dedicated a coming issue of the Dynamic Steward to the important issue regarding our role as “Stewards of the Earth.”  You will appreciate the insights shared by Dr. JoAnn Davidson and others regarding this important concept. (www.adventiststewardship.com)  

Reflective Quiz

1.             Day 4 is a repetition of Day 1 – light was created?  (Gen. 1:3-5, 14-19)   False (but with explanation)

Note the Bible passages.  Do they contradict one another?

 On day #1 light was created but on day #4 to sun, moon and stars were created.  Different possibilities.  One is that the presence of God provided the light for the first three days.  Another is that functions for sun, moon and stars were put in place on the 4th day.

2.             The moon is designed to give support to life. (Gen. 1:14-19)  True

The moon functions as a time signal, dividing the year into months.  It also produces the ocean tides, which provide signals to regulate the behavior of many organisms.  The reproductive behavior of sea turtles, certain fish, certain worms, and may other marine creatures is regulated by changes in the moon’s position and it s effects on the tides.  The tides also help create beaches and move materials onto and away from the beaches, effectively cleaning them.” (James Gibson in Origins, p.30)

3.             The creation account, in contrast to the evolution model, reveals that there is no single ancestor from which all other species have descended.  (Gen. 1:20-23)  True

20 And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky."

Notice the usage of “plural.”  In the context of the ongoing debate with evolution, why is this use of the plural significant?

4.             Animals were created to be eaten and sacrificed. (Gen. 1:26, 29)  False

Can we assume, then, that man was created to be a hunter that he might kill in order to live? 

“Then God said, "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." (Gen. 1:26)

Does God’s care and pronouncements of the creations being “good” give any indication of how He cares for His creations?  When God “remembered” Noah on the ark was there anything else that He “remembered?” (see Gen. 8:1)  What significance do you see in that?

If man was created in His image does it suggest what kind of “rule” we should have over the creations placed under our management responsibilities?  What does stewardship mean to you?  Does stewardship include being a steward of the earth?  How so?

When does the Bible first indicate that animals were permitted for food? 

“Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.

"But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it.” (Gen. 9:3,4) 
Can you think of reasons other than health for the prohibition to eat meat with blood still in it? (still prohibited in Acts 15:20,29)  Could it be that this was a reminder of the sanctity of life – even that of animals over whom God had given to man to care for?  The flood had created an emergency situation and though God permitted it in this situation it dramatically shortened the life span.

    “A disposition to cause pain, whether to our fellowmen or to the brute creation, is satanic. Many do not realize that their cruelty will ever be known, because the poor dumb animals cannot reveal it. But could the eyes of these men be opened, as were those of Balaam, they would see an angel of God standing as a witness to testify against them in the courts above. A record goes up to heaven, and a day is coming when judgment will be pronounced against those who abuse God's creatures.”--PP 443 (1890)

5.             God worked hard creating and, therefore, needed a rest.  This is the reason both He and we need a rest.  (Gen. 2:1-3; Mk 2:27,28)   False (but with explanation)

“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” (Gen. 2:1-3)

Two words draw our attention: rested and blessed. 

“Rested” (shabath) means “to cease.”  Isa. 40:28 indicates that God does not grow weary.  The word “blessed . . . and made it holy”(sanctified) is a declaration that the day was set apart from the others.

There is no doubt the Sabbath provides a physical rest but the context in the line of the creative actions of Go is both a sense of completion and fulfillment as well as rejoicing in all that God has provided.  It is a crowning event.  Humanism and arrogance results when the Creation Week ends with just the creation of man. To climax the week with the Sabbath presents a purpose that is outside of man but adds purpose and meaning to his very existence.

6.             Christ’s second coming occurred in Bethlehem. (Gen. 1:1; Gen. 2:1-3; Jn 1:1-3; 1 Thess. 4:16; Rev. 21:1-4)  True (but with explanation).

The word “advent”, according to the dictionary,  means the arrival of a notable person.  Consider the following Bible passages:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” (Jn 1:1-3)

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Gen. 1:27)

“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” (Gen. 3:8)

 "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." (Micah 5:2)

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” (1 Thess. 4:16)

“I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” (Rev. 21:2,3)

From Eden to the New Jerusalem our Creator and Saviour has shown an overwhelming desire to be with us.  He has created that we might find life to be full.  Life was created to have meaning and purpose.  Indeed, Matthew captured the desire of God from the moment He breathed breath into Adam:

28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matt. 11:28-30)

From Creation to Creation Restored in the heart of man – a promise of things to come!  The grand climax couldn’t be better described than in the words of Ellen White:

“The great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness, throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love.”  {GC 678.3}

 Conclusion

 1-5 Hallelujah!
Praise God from heaven,
praise him from the mountaintops;
Praise him, all you his angels,
praise him, all you his warriors,
Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, you morning stars;
Praise him, high heaven,
praise him, heavenly rain clouds;
Praise, oh let them praise the name of God—
he spoke the word, and there they were!

6 He set them in place
from all time to eternity;
He gave his orders,
and that's it!

7-12 Praise God from earth,
you sea dragons, you fathomless ocean deeps;
Fire and hail, snow and ice,
hurricanes obeying his orders;
Mountains and all hills,
apple orchards and cedar forests;
Wild beasts and herds of cattle,
snakes, and birds in flight;
Earth's kings and all races,
leaders and important people,
Robust men and women in their prime,
and yes, graybeards and little children.

13-14 Let them praise the name of God—
it's the only Name worth praising.
His radiance exceeds anything in earth and sky;
he's built a monument—his very own people!
Praise from all who love God !
Israel's children, intimate friends of God.
Hallelujah!  (Psalm 148 – Message)

No comments: