Genesis Week 2 – Humanity’s Purpose and Failure

Thanks for reading Genesis with us! Here are the readings for this week:

Genesis 2:4 – 3:24
□ 2:4-17□ 2:18-25□ 3:1-13□ 3:14-19□ 3:20-24

Main Topic – Humanity’s Purpose and Failure
Last week we considered Genesis chapter 1, which is the creation account and serves as an introduction to God and to the whole of the Bible. In chapter 2 the creation account is reiterated and expanded as the emphasis moves from God’s overall creative activity, to God’s specific creation of man and woman. In chapter 2 humankind becomes central to the storyline and there is much to learn about the creation and purpose of humanity, its relationship with the creator, and the relationship between man and woman. As we move into Genesis 3 we find humanity failing in its calling, sin is introduced to the storyline, and the consequences are significant and enduring.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

1.    Recall that God outlined the purpose for humanity in Genesis 1:26-28. What was their purpose?

2.    In Genesis 2:18-25 how does God provide help for Adam to fulfill his calling? What do you know about this word “helper” (Hebrew ‘ezer’)? What do we know about the relationship between man and woman and God prior to entry of sin into the world?

3.    The temptation – Compare carefully God’s original instructions in Genesis 2:16-17 with their recollection in Genesis 3:1-5. What changes do you see? How does this interaction with the serpent present a distorted picture of God? What doubts has the serpent introduced?

4.    The consequences of sin – Look carefully at the consequences of sin in Genesis 3:7-13. How does sin break down the vertical relationship between God and humankind? How does it break down the horizontal relationship between Adam and Eve? Describe the punishment for each character – the serpent, Adam, and Eve. For the humans, relate this back to their original purpose and explain the significance.

5.    The consequences for sin were immediate and enduring, yet there are signs of God’s grace even in punishment. What signs of God’s grace do you see in chapter 3?

Genesis – Week 1, Creation

Thanks for reading Genesis with us! Here are the readings for this week:

Genesis 1:1-2:3
□ 1:1-5□ 1:6-13□ 1:14-23□ 1:24-31□ 2:1-3

Main Topic – Creation
As you reflect on the creation narrative in chapter 1, think about this: How would you respond if your young child asked, “Where did I come from?” You might answer “New Jersey,” or maybe you would say “Your dad and I got married and had you as a baby.” Perhaps you would give a biologically detailed explanation of how conception works (though we tend to dodge this topic!) Or maybe you could give an account of labor and delivery complete with city and date and time marker. If you are more relational, you might draw a family tree with all the important characters mentioned.

I ask this question because it is important for us to consider what the author of Genesis was trying to communicate when he wrote chapter 1. Chapter 1 is not a biology textbook or a detailed timeline, and it certainly does not answer every question we might have about creation. Dr. Sandy Richter writes in The Epic of Eden, “Genesis 1 was written to answer the questions: Who is God and what is His relationship to us? What was God’s original intent?”

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

1. Repeated words and phrases indicate importance. What do you see repeated in this section, and why might it be important?

2.     The seven days mentioned organize the details of creation. God creates ecosystems and then fills them. Fill in the chart below regarding what happened each day of creation:
What was created? (God forms)
Day 1:
Day 2:
Day 3:
What was created? (God fills)
Day 4:
Day 5:
Day 6:
And on Day 7:

3.     What do we learn about God in this section? How is the repeated phrase “And God said…” significant? And the phrase “It was good…”? What other details did you note about God in this section?

4.     Chapter 1 ends with the creation of humanity. What do we learn about humankind in this section? How is this final creative act of God different from previous creative acts? What is the purpose of humanity in God’s creation? (hint: look at the verbs). What does it mean to be the image bearer of God?

5. This section ends with Day 7 and God is resting. Why is He resting? Surely not because He is tired… What is your understanding of sabbath rest and its purpose?