Creation and Human Purpose — Sabbath School Discussion Notes

Young Adult Sabbath School
SDA Fundamental Beliefs Series — #6: Creation
For: January 11, 2014
Duration: ~40 min

Icebreaker Question

Please state your name and share with us your favorite book or story growing up.

Preamble:

Will be discussing FB#6. Ground rules: Not a Creation/Evolution debate.

Prayer

Introduction – The statement from the 28 SDA Fundamental Beliefs

God made our world with brilliant creativity and tender care. He created humanity to take care of and take pleasure in the planet, with rest and recreation in perfect balance.

God is Creator of all things, and has revealed in Scripture the authentic account of His creative activity.

In six days the Lord made “the heaven and the Earth” and all living things upon the Earth, and rested on the seventh day of that first week. Thus He established the Sabbath as a perpetual memorial of His completed creative work. The first man and woman were made in the image of God as the crowning work of Creation,given dominion over the world, and charged with responsibility to care for it. When the world was finished it was “very good,” declaring the glory of God. (See Supporting Texts at end of entry).

Q1 Within the story of creation are important themes/principles. What are they? / If you were to teach a course Christianity 101 using only the story of Creation, what principles would you be able to share?

1.Six Literal Days; Culmination in the Sabbath as day of rest

[CREATION IN SIX LITERAL DAYS]

[Genesis 1:31] also on 5,8,13,19,23: Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

====> (see APPENDIX for more info on why it matters)

[SABBATH ESTABLISHED]

[Genesis 2:1-3] New King James Version (NKJV): Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. 2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

2.Human Origins and Purpose

I’m going to pass out some papers. Please take five minutes to read it with your group. Tell me

1. What was the creative force,

2. How and of what humans came to be.

3. What was the motivation (or the purpose—if any) to make humans.

Babylonian  — After a power battle between the gods, Marduk (the leader of the winning side) set the vanquished gods to a variety of tasks, including work in the fields and canals. Soon they complained of their work, however, and they rebelled by burning their spades and baskets. Marduk slew Timant, the general of the rebels, and with his blood, clay from the earth, and with spittle of the other gods humans were created. On them was imposed the labor previously assigned to the gods: to maintain the canals and boundary ditches, to hoe and to carry, to irrigate the land and to raise crops, to raise animals and fill the granaries, and to worship the gods at their regular festivals.

India — The “Self” created itself from the nothing and from the death and hunger of a void universe. Self had no happiness because it was alone, and Self longed for another. He grew as large as two persons embracing, and he caused himself to split into two matching parts: husband and wife. From their union arose the human beings of the earth.

Hopi — Sotuknang, the nephew of the powerful and infinite Creator, created Spider Woman. Spider Woman took some yellow, red, white, and black earth and mixed it with saliva to create human beings as she sang the Creation song. She made four men. Then created four women after her own form. From these men and women humans came to be. Sotuknang instructed them that their duties was to respect the Creator and live in harmony with him. But the people forgot to worship the Creator, so they were destroyed—only a few remained. Four times this happened, until after four creations the true remnant settled in the desert in a desolate land, so that the hardship of their life would always remind them of their dependence on, and link to, their Creator.

Norse — The first god was brought out from the earth. He had a son named Bor, who had three sons, one of whom as Odin, the most powerful of the gods. Odin and his two brothers defeated the rebellious frost giants and created the heavens and the earth with the body parts of their vanquished foes. Later they found at the edge of the sea two logs. The three of them together made people out of them—one man and one woman. From these logs—now people—all humans came. The gods left humans to dwell on earth, leaving only a pathway from earth to heaven: the bridge that appears in the sky as a rainbow. It doesn’t last, however. It breaks whenever someone attempts to cross it.

Mayan — Kukulkan and Tepeu created the world. They decided to preserve their legacy by creating an earthbound species looking like them. The first attempt was man made from mud, but Tepeu and Kukulkan found that the mud crumbled. The two gods summoned the other gods and they decided to make man from wood. However, since these men had no soul, they soon lost loyalty to their creators. The Gods destroyed them with a great torrent of rain. Finally, man was constructed from maize—which, by the way, was the food of the gods.

Chinese (one of the many versions) — The earth was a wild and lonely place. There was a goddess named NuWa who roamed it. She was lonely. She gazed into a pond and realized when she saw her reflection, that there was no one in all the world  who looked like herself. She resolved to make something like herself for company. She took some mud and shaped it in the form of a human being. She made many such humans in two days, but she was tired. To solve the problem of making more and more humans after they died, she separated them into male and female so they could reproduce on their own and save her the trouble of being so lonely.

Islam — Adam was created by God out of clay, earth, sand, and water and placed in Paradise. God taught Adam  the names of all of the creatures, and then commanded all the angels to bow down before Adam. All of them bowed but Iblis, who refused to obey. Iblis was a jinni, a spirit of fire, and claimed that his fiery nature was superior to Adam’s flesh which consisted of clay. This resulted in his expulsion from Paradise. Iblis then vowed to separate Adam and Eve from God and corrupt them. Sure enough, after they sinned, Adam and Eve were cast down to the earth away from God, to populate the empty world.

Australian — The Sun Mother was awakened by the Father of All Spirits. Her task was to awaken the sleeping spirits who dwelled in the new earth and give them forms. She created the animals, but they envied each other and argued. The Sun Mother was forced to come down from her home in the sky to mediate their bickering. She gave each creature the power to change their form to whatever they chose. She was appalled when she saw winged rats (bats), giant freak lizards, and a beaver with a duck bill who could lay eggs (platypus).  The Sun Mother looked down upon the Earth and thought to herself that she must create new creatures because otherwise the Father of All Spirits would be angered by what she now saw. She gave birth to two gods: the Morning Star (male) and the Moon (female) and sent them to earth, where they because our human ancestors. She made them superior to the animals because they had part of her mind and would never want to change their shape.

[MAN CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD AND WITH A PURPOSE]

[LETS ALL READ: Genesis 1:26-28]

[26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[b] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.

1. What was the creative force,

2. How and of what humans came to be.

3. What was the motivation (or the purpose—if any) to make humans?

 Q2 Where can we find the account of Creation?

At the very beginning Genesis 1, 2

Q3 Why do you think the Bible begins with the story of creation? /  What do you think is the advantage of  the Bible establishing our origins early on? / What more do we gain from the account of creation other than where we came from?

Understanding God’s work of creation is essential. It is the basis of a Christian worldview and helps us make sense out of life. All the truth in the Bible relates back to the basic truths taught in the creation accounts of Genesis 1 – 2.

 Q4 What implications are there in the fact that you are a precious creature and not a “mistake” or made on a whim?

  • Legitimacy—do you guys know how terrible life could be      for someone who was illegitimate? Historically it has ever been a stigma,      a great disgrace.
      • [Deut 32:6] Do you thus        deal with the Lord, O foolish        and unwise people? Is He        not your Father, who        bought you? Has He not made you and established you?
  • Purpose:
    • to inhabit and enjoy the world he created
      • [Isaiah 45:18].        For        thus says the Lord, Who created        the heavens,
        Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it,        Who has established it,
        Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it        to be inhabited:
        “I am        the Lord, and there        is no other.
    • stewardship.
      • [psalm 8:4-6] 4 What is man that You are        mindful of him,
        And the son of man that You visit him? 5 For You have made        him a little lower than the angels,[a] And You have crowned him with glory        and honor. 6 You have made him to have dominion over the        works of Your hands;
        You have put all things        under his feet,
    • do good works
      • [Ephesians        2:10] For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good        works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
  • Self worth —if we are made in the image of God, that      fact alone should give us a real idea of how much an individual is worth.      There is no room for feelings of inferiority or superiority
      • [Malachi 2:10] Have we not all        one Father? Has not one God created us?
        Why do
        we deal treacherously with one        another By profaning the covenant of the fathers?

There is a great deal at stake in the issue of human origins. Not merely a question of how our species arrived on this planet. It involves the larger issues of purpose and destiny, as well as the principles that should guide our lives. It is the power and purpose of a personal God that accounts for our existence. Therefore, we cannot ignore his wishes for us as we attempt to understand the meaning and purpose of our existence.—Rice, Reign of God

3. In his image—Getting to the heart of who God is (Closing remarks)

Q4 What do you guys understand by the phrase “Created in his image”?

Q4.5 If God created us in his image, what aspect of human life does that encompass? / What makes you YOU? / Imagine that some scientists want to make a robot in your image, is it enough for it to just look like you for it to BE a convincing likeness and have your friends thinking “Oh, it’s very much like “so and so”? What else besides how you look like physically is necessary to produce a faithful likeness?

-personality, emotions, character, habit, human intelligence

Q5 So then, what does it mean to be created in God’s image? What else besides the proportions of our physical being are we supposed to reflect?

Can it be that our character and our inclinations towards good and love were part of the original plan?

[CLOSING REMARKS]

I want to revert to the original beauty that is God’s image. Millenia’s worth of sin has taken its toll on the human race. We’re shorter, short-lived, or ill, but with the help of the almighty God who created heaven and earth, we can still aspire to have the likeness of God in our character. Not to BE God, but to be LIKE God and reflect his character wherever you go. If this is your wish too, then please stand up and join us in our closing prayer

Closing prayer

– – –

APPENDIX: LITERAL 24 HOUR DAY OR NOT??

One of the issues that the SDA church has been contemplating in recent years is adding “six literal 24-hour days” on the Fundamental Beliefs statement.

Q – What are the inherent issues at stake in defining the length of the days in which God created the world? What would be different about your Sabbath belief if we allow for the interpretation that each day was symbolic and was actually thousands of years for each “day”?

The last few years have shown that theistic evolution has gained entrance into our church. Should it become more and more accepted, we will be in danger of losing the biblical foundation for the Sabbath and our understanding of salvation. Without the creation week, the Sabbath becomes a Jewish institution; and if death existed long before the appearance of man, then there was no Fall in Eden and therefore really no need for salvation. And if there was no Fall, then Paul was in error when he wrote:

Through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned. (Rom 5:12)

Gerhard Pfandl, Associate Director of the Biblical Research Institute

– – –

APPENDIX 2: EVOLUTION VS CREATIONISM

(See the Ruling Principle)

* * * *

Supporting Texts

Ex. 20:8-11 –8 i“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 jSix days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the kseventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the lsojourner who is within your gates. 11 For min six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Psalm 19:1-2 1 iThe heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above1 proclaims his handiwork. 2 Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.

Psalm 33:6 6  By pthe word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.

Psalm 104:24, 27-30  –O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. . . .27 These all look to you to give them their food in due season; 28 when you give to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. 29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. 30 When you send forth your spirit,[g] they are created;
and you renew the face of the ground.

Hebrews 11:3 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

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