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friends studying the Bible January 1 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Procedure for study. Introduction to Genesis. Go to today's Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Genesis 1, 2, 3

Answers to Some of Life's Most Challenging Questions

Happy New Year! What better place to begin than to study the book of Genesis– the book of beginnings! In Genesis we get answers to some of life's most challenging questions:

•  Is there a God? What is he like?

•  How did life begin?

•  Who am I and where did I come from?

•  Why am I here? What is my purpose?

•  Where did evil come from? What can be done about it?

•  How can I know God personally?

Today's study in Genesis will answer these questions.

Is there a God? What is he like and how did life begin?

Have you ever asked yourself, even as a child, who made the birds, reptiles, animals, plants, trees, insects, the sea and the creatures within it, the sky, and even the sun, moon, and stars? Genesis 1and 2 reveal that the magnificent and transcendent (above and beyond all comprehension) one and only Almighty God created the universe. He spoke words, and things came into being as he designed. This is more power and wisdom than we can ever imagine. If God is powerful enough to do that, then he certainly can help us with our life.

Who am I and where did I come from?

In Genesis 1 God declares we are his special creation.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them, (Genesis 1:26-27, NIV).

Like all of God's creation, we were once created and assessed as very good (Genesis 1:31). But, unlike the rest of God's creation, we are the highest order of his earthly creation and are made in his image. He has given us a mind, will, emotions and an eternal soul.

What is my purpose in this world?

God created us for his pleasure (Genesis 1:31; Ephesians 1:3-14). Although he is so great and eternally transcendent in power, might, and majesty, from the very beginning we can see he desired to have a personal relationship with his image bearers.

Where did evil come from?

Evil comes from sin. Sin is disobedience. Sin is rebellion. Sin is any wrongdoing or failure to do what is right. (1John 3:4-8; 1Samuel 15:23; James 4:17)

One day God walks in the cool of the evening to fellowship with Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:8), but something is different. He expects to find them, but they are concealing themselves. Why are they hiding? They have listened to the deceptive lies of a sly serpent creature. They have disobeyed their Almighty and kind-hearted God, eating of the only tree in the garden from which they were forbidden to eat. Now they are ashamed, filled with guilt, and are hiding.

Because we are all the descendants of Adam and Eve, we are sinners by nature; but lest we blame our first parents for everything, we should remember that like them we are also sinners by choice. Their sins and ours lead us to physical and spiritual death, and we commit all kinds of evil (Genesis 2:16-17; 1Corinthians 15:22; Romans 6:23; Revelation 21:8).

What can be done about evil?

Evil must be punished. God places curses on the man, the woman, and the serpent. Then God sacrifices animals and uses their hides to cover the shame and nakedness of our first parents. Sin is punished, but with punishment God offers mercy.

How can I know God personally?

Animals are no longer sacrificed in our place to cover our shame and guilt. Today, God provides us a better sacrifice through his Son Jesus (Hebrews 10:10). Through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for us, the just for the unjust, we can have our guilt removed and be cleansed of our sins (1John 1:7, more...). After our relationship to God is restored, we have eternal spiritual life. This restored relationship with God gives us peace and makes it possible to fulfill our purpose in this world–to give God glory and pleasure.

Lessons to Live By

•  The magnificent and transcendent Almighty God created the universe. God is all-powerful so he can help us with all the small or large difficulties we encounter.

•  God is good. He plans and provides for our every need.

•  We are specially created in God's likeness.

•  We were created for God's pleasure. God wants to have a personal relationship with us. (more...)

•  Listening to Satan (the serpent, Revelation 12:9) and disobeying God ruins our relationship with him and leads to all kinds of evil and death.

• We need cleansing of our sins to have a renewed relationship with our Holy God. This cleansing is provided for in Jesus Christ, God's Son (John 3:16).

Focus Verse

Hebrews 11:6 (NIV) “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

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A Look Ahead: God creates everything good, but when things go bad he exercises Judgment and Grace. Find out more in our Next Lesson.

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