Joel S. Heckendorf
I’m not looking to gain a Twitter following from Forward in Christ readers with this next statement: I don’t care for the hymn “How Great Thou Art.” Ever since my eight-year-old ears heard it played with too much vibrato on my grandmother’s in-home Hammond organ, I’ve not cared for it. When a grieving family requests it for a funeral, I say, “Wonderful,” and my face smiles, but my ears cringe.
But maybe the problem is not with the hymn. Maybe it’s me. We get so comfortable with our surroundings that unless God bedazzles the sky with some magnificent sunset, we easily take creation for granted. We don’t always see the depth of God’s wisdom, love, power, and care in creation or in the creation account of Genesis chapter 1.
The Bible clearly says its focal point is Jesus. “These [words] are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31 ESV). Absolutely true. Our comfort in God’s love, power and care is wrapped up in Jesus. But there would be no words written to believe in Jesus if there wasn’t an “in the beginning.” Genesis may not clearly portray the power of the cross or the comfort of any empty tomb, but it’s the beginning of a love story . . . a relationship between God and people . . . a relationship between God and me.
On six consecutive, 24-hour days, God said and it was so. That gives us certainty concerning other things God said.
● Because God said, “Let there be there light,” and there was, I can trust Jesus when he says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness” (John 8:12).
● Because God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters,” and there was, I can trust God when he says Christ made us holy by “the washing with water through the word” (Ephesians 5:26).
● Because God said, “Let there be stars in the sky,” and it was so, I can trust God when he says you will shine like stars forever and ever (Daniel 12:3).
● Because God said, “Let birds fly above the earth,” and it was so, I can trust God when he says he will renew our strength and we will soar on wings like eagles (Isaiah 40:31).
● Because God said, “Let us make mankind in our image,” and it was so, I can trust God when I stand in front of a coffin knowing that God said about my loved one, “You are mine” (Isaiah 43:1).
“Then sings my soul, my Savior-God to thee, ‘How great thou art! How great thou art!’ ” (Christian Worship 256).
Exploring the Word
1. Tell the story of creation in your own words. Then read the account (Genesis chapters 1–2). Which details did you omit or mistakenly add?
Answers will vary. If studying in a group, split up into smaller groups and see how many different details are included in the exercise. Why do you think some details made every list and other details didn’t make any lists?
2. Why do you think this story is one of the most popular stories included in children’s Bibles?
The world is something tangible to which children relate. To learn how it all started is a natural question.
3. Which day of creation amazes you the most and why?
Answers will vary. Take time to marvel at the miracles of each day. For example, study the phenomenon of light as it travels 186,000 miles/second through the universe. Consider the different kinds or rays: ultraviolet, infrared, etc.
4. List as many things as possible that we learn about humankind in Genesis chapters 1–2.
Answers will vary. Examples include: made in the image of God, God blessed humans, ability to pro-create, ruler of creation, Eve was God’s gift to Adam, establishment of marriage, etc. In the end, might a study of creation lead us all to glorify God and say, “God loved me enough to give me this.”
Contributing editor Joel Heckendorf is pastor at Immanuel, Greenville, Wisconsin.
This is the seventh article in a ten-part series on the top ten stories included in children’s Bibles and how they apply to our lives today. Find answers online after June 5 at wels.net/forwardinchrist.
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Author: Joel S. Heckendorf
Volume 103, Number 6
Issue: June 2016
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