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4. What is creation? (Cosmic temple)

June 26, 2017

This is the fourth small group study for the Christianity series (By Marty Gee).

Theme: Cosmic temple (Artist, Tintoretto: ‘The Creation of the Animals’)

Study with leader’s notes:

Read Genesis 1 aloud

We begin with a dark, deep ocean. For many ancient people waters represented chaos and disorder. The earth is formless, chaotic, meaningless, purposeless. But the Spirit of God is there, hovering over surface of the dark waters, ready to bring life. God speaks out a command ‘Let there be light’ and light shines in the darkness.

1. What do we realise about God and the world from the way he creates?(Consider Genesis 1.1-3).

You might consider...

  • God has no equals, He alone is powerful He is Present
  • He is not ‘inside’ created things but separate from them. He creates with a command (It’s against animism, or the worship of created things)
  • The world itself was designed and made on purpose-it is not an accident
  • The world depends on God’s kingly power, it cannot exist without Him

Out of disorder and purposelessness God creates by bringing things into harmonious relationships - by a process of separating, distinguishing, adding detail, and then filling. How does God create ‘homes’ for things to live in? (Skim over Genesis 1 .)

2. Give examples of how God makes ‘homes’ for things to live in.

  • Time (day/night) day 1 - for all creatures to live in
  • Domain of sky and sea (for birds and fish) - day 2
  • Domain of land (compared to sky and sea) and fills it with fruitful plants for humans and animals - day 3

Notice that sky also allows for rain and weather patterns, which will be important for agriculture.

  • He makes seasons (for agriculture etc) - day 4
  • He fills the water and sky with fish and birds - day 5
  • He fills the land with animals and humans - day 6

Notice the pattern in Genesis. God creates domains, like empty rooms in a house, in days 1- 3 then he fills these domains in days 4-6

Consider what God creates when He speaks. The focus in Genesis 1 is not on God making matter according to our scientific understanding of things. On the first day the point is that God creates a rhythm of day and night (time for us to live in) rather than making light particles (matter). A helpful way to see this is that God makes spaces for other life forms to live in (including time, seasons, various domains).

3. Read Genesis 1.26-28. What position does God give humans in His good creation?

  • We are made in the image of God, to reflect His Sovereign Presence in creation
  • He has given us the authority and responsibility to rule and manage creation under Him
  • We are both male and female, so we do this task together, not just as individuals

What does this tell us about His attitude towards us and how we should relate to him?

  • He honors us by giving us a high position
  • He trusts us to do this work. He wants to exercise His life-giving authority to creation through us
  • He gives us real responsibility over this domain
  • He wants to bless us so we are fruitful
  • We have to trust God, obey Him and reflect Him in how we rule

Read Genesis 2.1-2 and Genesis 3.8 a (‘Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day...). These two verses show that Creation’s highest purpose is to be the place of God’s presence with us: the place where God and humans live and work together.

4. How should we reflect God’s sovereign presence in our domains of influence?

(What characteristics do we see in God that we need to reflect as we live and work?)

  • God is loving. Each thing He creates is for the benefit of things and people.
  • God honours each thing he makes by creating a space just for it.
  • God creates things so they are unique (different kinds of trees, different kinds of birds) - so we need to honour the uniqueness of things and people.
  • God goes through a process to create. He takes time and honours what he is working with. He has a design and carries it out.
  • God provides for everything he creates. (He provides food for us before we come along).
  • God creates meaningful involvement for us (gives us a place of influence).
  • God Himself creates through rhythms of work and rest-and creates rhythms of work and rest for us (day/ night; weekday/7th day).

5. How could you do the priestly work of hosting God’s sovereign Presence in a place for other people?

a. Think of a time and a place that is part of your weekly rhythm.

  • Getting the kids ready for school on Monday morning
  • Catching up with Bronwyn for DNA at the Baker’s Wife café.

b. Name the details of that time and place (things, people, context).

  • Getting the kids ready for school on Monday morning: kids are tired, I am stressed, showers, school uniforms, eat breakfast, make lunches.
  • Catching up with Bronwyn for DNA at the Baker’s Wife café: We only have an hour. It’s just before work. We usually just chat-and squeeze in a prayer. Bronwyn is a busy teacher. She has three kids.

c. How could you host God’s Presence for people in that place? As you think about this go back to point 4 and think about how God treats what he creates, and how we can reflect this.

  • Getting the kids ready for school on Monday morning.
    • Be patient and loving. Be in a good headspace myself - get up at least 15 minutes earlier. Have a cup of tea and read a psalm. Ask God for peace.
    • Be prepared (like God plans) Lay out uniforms the night before.
    • Give them what they need (like God creates fruitful plants for us) Wake the kids up with a hug. Make them a cup of tea with breakfast. Sit with them over breakfast.
    • Invite God in. (The Spirit is already hovering over the chaos of Monday morning) - Say a quick prayer for blessing before they head out the door.

6. Finish by each making a commitment about trying this out in a particular time and place. Pray together.

..............................

Study without leader’s notes

Read Genesis 1 aloud

We begin with a dark, deep ocean. For many ancient people waters represented chaos and disorder.. The earth is formless, chaotic, meaningless, purposeless. But the Spirit of God is there, hovering over surface of the dark waters, ready to bring life. God speaks out a command ‘Let there be light’ and light shines in the darkness.

1. What do we realise about God and the world from the way he creates?

(Consider Genesis 1.1-3).

Out of disorder and purposelessness God creates by bringing things into harmonious relationships-by a process of separating, distinguishing, adding detail, and then filling. How does God create ‘homes’ for things to live in? (Skim over Genesis 1 .)

2. Give examples of how God makes ‘homes’ for things to live in.

3. Read Genesis 1.26-28. What position does God give humans in His good creation?

What does this tell us about His attitude towards us and how we should relate to him?

Read Genesis 2.1-2 and Genesis 3.8 a (‘Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day...). These two verses show that Creation’s highest purpose is to be the place of God’s presence with us: the place where God and humans live and work together.

4. How should we reflect God’s sovereign presence in our domains of influence?

(What characteristics do we see in God that we need to reflect as we live and work?)

5. How could you do the priestly work of hosting God’s sovereign Presence in a place for other people?

Think of a time and a place that is part of your weekly rhythm.

Name the details of that time and place (things, people, context).

How could you host God’s Presence for people in that place? As you think about this go back to point 4 and think about how God treats what he creates, and how we can reflect this.

6. Finish by each making a commitment about trying this out in a particular time and place.

Pray together