Sabbath School Lesson for May 16-22, 2020
This week we will see how the book of Genesis is the foundation of our knowledge of the plan of salvation, which seems to be the central message in God’s word. We read in Genesis how God…
- was our Creator, which included the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Sunday)
- created our world in six, literal days (Monday)
- rested on, blessed, and sanctified the seventh day (Tuesday)
- instituted marriage to populate the earth (Wednesday)
- introduced us to the Messiah, the promised Seed, who would someday re-create us at His Second Coming (Thursday)
Many teachings of the Bible are presented in just the first few chapters of Genesis. Exploring them will be helpful in how we interpret the rest of Scripture.
Genesis introduces us to:
- the nature of the Godhead (Genesis 1:2)
- the Sabbath (Genesis 2:1-3)
- the nature of marriage (Genesis 1:27, 28 and 2:18, 21-25)
- stewardship of the earth and all our resources (Genesis 1:26 and 2:15, 19)
- the origin of evil (Genesis 3)
- the Messiah and the plan for our redemption (Genesis 3:15)
- the flood of Noah’s day (Genesis 6-9)
- the covenant rainbow after the flood (Genesis 9:9-17)
- the dispersal of people and why we have different languages (Genesis Genesis 10-11)
- the generations from Adam to Abraham (Genesis 5 and 11)
Memory Text: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” John 1:1-4 NKJV
John’s closeness to Jesus gave him the confidence to proclaim the divinity of his Lord at the very start of his gospel record. Looking back to Genesis, he boldly claimed that Jesus was involved in creation, working with the Father and the Spirit to create our beautiful world.
It is this same, creative power that will be able to re-create mankind at “the last trump” (1 Corinthians 15:51, 52). Belief in the Creation story, found in Genesis, is critically important to our belief in our final destination with God. This is when the righteous are re-created fully into His likeness, as Adam and Eve were before sin.
Hymn for the week: “This Is My Father’s World”, p. 92
Sunday: “In the Beginning…”
Satan has expended an enormous amount of effort in debunking the Creation story found in Genesis. The fact that Moses started out his account with this incredible revelation of our origin signals its importance for understanding all there is to know about God.
Genesis presents in its first chapter what the nature of God is. The triune feature of God was endorsed by John, the writer of one of the four gospels, who began with the same phrase, “In the beginning”. John’s close relationship with Jesus caused him to readily accept the Messiah’s divinity, and to see His contribution of bringing our planet into existence.
“Let US make man in OUR image” implies that the mystery of godliness is true (1 Timothy 3:16). Jesus Himself declared “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30). In addition, Moses mentioned the Spirit of God, “hovering over the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2). So, all three are present when our world began.
God wants us to understand Him in all His fullness. But Satan has done everything to cloud our understanding of who God is. Many sincere Christians are still led astray by the tendency to question the Trinity.
They thus rob Jesus of His full authority and right to be worshiped. Nothing makes Satan happier than to demote the Son of God, making Him less than God. After all, Satan has been jealous of Christ from the start of the great controversy.
Bible Verses to Ponder and Share:
Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1-3
- Why is it important to see Jesus’ involvement in our Creation?
Hebrews 1:1, 2
- What important roles does Jesus have in the Godhead?
Revelation 1:8 and 22:13
- Why must we see Jesus both at the beginning and the end of our world to understand who He really is?
- How does this affect the value of both Genesis and Revelation in our Bible study?
- How crucial is our belief in the Creation story to our faith that God will rescue us someday from this sinful planet?
Monday: The Days of Creation
The theory of evolution has blown enormous holes in our belief in how our world was created. It denies a Creator, saying that all life forms have spontaneously evolved over eons of time.
Even when this theory isn’t totally accepted, many have adopted a modified version of evolution, claiming that God was present, but used evolutionary techniques to accomplish His purposes. In other words, things evolved and weren’t necessarily spoken into existence, as Moses claims in the book of Genesis.
In asserting this theistic evolutionary thought, however, the literal Creation week is questioned and finally rejected, causing confusion and doubt to invade our faith in the rest of Scripture.
Whether it’s believed that God did not speak His creation into existence, or that it was done over a much longer period of time, theistic evolution denies the omnipotence of God, and erodes our faith in Him.
Other teachings soon crumble, without the acceptance of the Creation story that Moses so carefully outlined in Genesis. The most important philosophical questions about our origins are satisfied in Genesis, but only when we accept Moses’ version of events as told there. Anything else, just raises more questions.
Bible Verses to Ponder and Share:
1 Corinthians 15:52
- If God can re-create us “in the twinkling of an eye”, “in a moment”, why would He not also be able to create the world as Moses described in Genesis?
- How is a day defined here, and why is this a sensible way to explain our days?
- Why is it significant that the Hebrew word for “day”, used in the Creation story, is a word that means a literal, 24-hour day?
- What does the Sabbath celebrate?
- How would the doctrine of the Sabbath be affected, if the Creation week did not happen during a literal week of time?
Tuesday: The Sabbath and Creation
Even before Darwin’s theory of evolution became popular, the Christian world had largely rejected the seventh-day Sabbath introduced to Adam and Eve. It was believed, and is still believed, that the Sabbath was instituted for the Jews. Jesus plainly told us, however, that “the Sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27).
We now have shifted our thoughts to Sunday worship, in honor of Christ’s resurrection. But this change of days is found nowhere in Scripture. It was a gradual shift in religious practice, based solely on tradition, with the early Catholic Church taking credit for accomplishing the change.
Think about it. If Satan can get the world to worship on a day that hasn’t been blessed by God, it makes it more difficult for us to feel the closeness God built into the day in the first place, right after Creation.
Genesis reveals three things God (Jesus) did after creating our world. He…
- “rested” on the seventh day (Genesis 2:2)
- “blessed” the seventh day (Genesis 2:3)
- “sanctified” the seventh day (Genesis 2:3)
These three actions are repeated in the Fourth Commandment of Exodus 20. In verse 11, it mentions that God rested, blessed, and hallowed the seventh day.
This is similar to the plan of salvation, which requires us to…
- rest from our own labors (and accept Christ’s righteousness as our Substitute),
- be blessed with His forgiveness, and then
- be made holy, or sanctified, through His atoning blood.
Bible Verses to Ponder and Share:
- What three things did God do on the seventh day?
- How is resting, being blessed, and made holy related to the way we are saved?
Exodus 20:11 and Mark 2:27
- Why has the belief that the Sabbath is only for the Jews become so prevalent?
- In what way is the Sabbath a day for mankind?
Revelation 14:7, 12
- How is the first angel’s message related to the Sabbath of the Fourth Commandment?
- Why is having the faith of Jesus and the keeping of the commandments important for God’s last-day people?
Wednesday: Creation and Marriage
One good thing about Genesis is that it allows us to see the perfect world God intended for mankind in the beginning. We sense the closeness and joy God must have had with Adam and Eve on their first Sabbath together.
The day most likely included the first wedding ceremony, with God pronouncing them man and wife. He encouraged them in their new life together to populate the earth and take care of the resources God was entrusting to them.
As we know, things went downhill rapidly after Adam and Eve disobeyed God. Their sin has led to many things that God never intended. God never intended that His Sabbath day would be so legalistically observed, or even disregarded for another day. But He honors our attempts to do things right, when we have lacked knowledge, but, at the same time, have sincerely and wholeheartedly tried to please Him.
He, likewise, never intended for divorce, spousal abuse, and sexual promiscuity to be issues we would always face. And, naturally, He would like to see His version of marriage between man and woman be preserved as it was from the beginning.
But, as you know, these are just a few of the changes sin has brought to our planet. God has, in some cases, provided guidance in how we can minimize the havoc these disruptions cause for our lives. He sets guidelines for different times and cultures, so we can deal with them in the most loving way possible.
When it comes to same-sex marriages, there have been a lot of cultural shifts in our thinking. As we become more aware of the difficult physical and societal challenges associated with it, our understanding of it has increased. But the hatred and discrimination for this population is still something we must overcome.
Remembering that we are all sinners and that God doesn’t see degrees of sin might help us not single out homosexuality as a greater sin than any other. After all, practicing promiscuity (any sex outside of marriage) is repulsive to God, no matter what genders are involved.
Like those accusing the woman of adultery, Jesus asked for those without sin to cast the first stone. So, let’s not cast stones at brothers and sisters who find their sexual orientation to be different than ours, very possibly due to hormonal imbalances. Until we have walked in their shoes, we will never know what led to their difficult lifestyle choice.
Bible Verses to Ponder and Share:
- How had God provided for their every need and enjoyment in their new life as man and wife?
Matthew 19:8, 9 and Deuteronomy 15:12-14
- Why did God have to give these new guidelines to protect marriage?
- How and why did God make allowances for slavery, when we know it was not a practice that God endorsed or favored?
Romans 3:23 and John 8:7
- Why is it important not to cast stones at someone else for their sexual lifestyle, whatever it is?
Thursday: Creation, the Fall, and the Cross
The first chapter of Genesis repeatedly tells us that God proclaimed His Creation “good”. It wasn’t until man was created on the sixth day that God saw that it was “VERY” good. Something special was indeed on His agenda that day. It was His desire that man would be the perfect caretaker of His newly created planet.
By the third chapter, however, the story turns sour for God’s first couple. Believing Satan’s cunning lies caused them to mistrust and then disobey their Creator God.
But God didn’t leave Adam and Eve without hope that their terrible mistake might somehow be corrected. Genesis 3:15 is the first mention of the Seed, the Promised One, the Messiah. He alone would defeat Satan in the end.
How can we not pour through all of Genesis and everything that follows in the Bible to try and understand the plan God has so graciously set in motion for our redemption?
Bible Verses to Ponder and Share:
- Why was God especially pleased with His work on the sixth day?
Genesis 2:15-17 and Romans 5:12
- How are we all sinners because of Adam’s sin?
- In what way was this a fair test for the first couple?
Genesis 3:1-5 and Romans 5:19
- How did Jesus provide an answer to the sin problem?
Friday: What We Have Learned This Week
Authors, journalists, and anyone in the communication business understand one very important rule. The beginning of a story must grab the attention and contain questions that make the reader want to continue. This equals the importance of the final chapter or paragraph of a story. It, too, must summarize all the main points and leave the reader satisfied that his questions have been answered.
The Bible follows this principle meticulously. Genesis indeed gives us the foundation we need for understanding the rest of the book, until we reach the climax of the story in the book of Revelation.
Understanding and believing the stories in Genesis is vital to our acceptance of all the books of the Bible that follow. This takes us right to the end where Creation is once again part of the gospel to be preached to all the world (Revelation 14:7).
Next Week’s Lesson: Creation–Genesis as Foundation, Part 2
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