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Bible Narratives Devotional, Week 1: Creation and Fall

This entry is part of 17 in the series

"Bible Narratives Devotional"

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Week 1: Creation and Fall

Weekly memory verse:

Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

Weekly hymn:

All Creatures of Our God and King” (free download)

Weekly catechism:

Who made you?
God made me.
What else did God make?
God made all things.

Day 1: Creation

Reading: Genesis 1:1-2:4

Notes

Chapter 1, Verse 1. This verse describes part of what God did on the first day; he created the heavens and earth on the first day, but they were yet formless (v. 2).

Verse 3. Light. God created light also on the first day, even though he didn’t create the physical sources of light until the fourth day. God was and is the eternal source of light.

Verse 4. Good. The word “good” can mean several different things. Here it does not likely refer to moral goodness but rather to ability to serve a particular function, or it could also mean beauty.

Verse 5. Day. In Hebrew, “day” with a number (as in “first day,” “second day,” etc.) always refers to a literal 24 hour period. God created the world in a literal six day week.

Verses 11, 12, 21. Kind. God created all plants and animal species, showing that the theory that various creatures evolved across species lines in incorrect.

Verse 26, 27. Image. Adam and Eve were the only creatures God made in his own image, distinguishing them from all other creatures. The image of God includes self-consciousness, creativity, morality, and other communicable attributes of God that animals do not share with humans. Dominion. Since humans were the pinnacle of all of God’s creation, he set them as rulers of the rest of creation. Male and female. Man and woman are equal in essence and value but distinct from and complementary to one another physically and relationally.

Verse 28. Be fruitful and multiply. God blessed Adam and Eve by giving them the ability to fill the earth with offspring, to cultivate and enjoy what he had made, and to rule over it all.

Chapter 2, Verse 2. Rested. God had no need of physical rest, yet he ceased from his creative work on the seventh day and establish a seven-day cycle for human work, including the necessity for one day of rest each week.

Summary

Genesis 1 establishes God as the source, sustainer, and ultimate end of all things. As creator of all, God is King and has the right to do whatever he pleases with what he created for his own glory. Everything God made was perfect and good, but God created humankind as the pinnacle of all that he made, and thus as ruler of all under his supreme authority. Thus we are blessed with the privilege of cultivating and enjoying what God created, serving him in the capacity for which he created us, to his honor and glory.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why do you think God created the world in the order that he did?
  2. What is our responsibility toward God as his creation?
  3. What does it mean to have dominion over the earth, to subdue the earth, and to be fruitful?
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Day 2: Adam and Eve

Reading: Genesis 2:5–24; 3:20

Notes

Chapter 2, Verse 7. This is a more detailed, specific account of God’s creation of Adam and Even on day six of creation. Formed. Unlike the other elements of creation, which God created out of nothing, he formed Adam from the earth, and thus when we die, we return to dust. However, he breathed into Adam the breath of life, and thus our souls live forever.

Verse 8. Eden. The location of the garden of Eden is not known, but it was likely in the Mesopotamian Valley, east of where Moses wrote this account.

Verse 9. Tree of life. This tree had a special ability to sustain eternal life. Tree of knowledge. This tree, forbidden for Adam and Eve to eat, was put in the garden as a test of whether they would choose good or evil.

Verse 15. Work it and keep it. This describes Adam’s purpose. These two terms used together in the Old Testament most often refer to the duties of the Levitical priests in the Tabernacle/Temple. Adam’s purpose was to serve as God’s priest, communing with God in his holy sanctuary.

Verse 17. Die. The result of disobedience to God’s command was separation, first spiritually, and eventually physically.

Verse 18. Not good. Adam was incomplete before the end of the sixth day until God created Eve, who as created from Adam and also in God’s image was equal with him in essence and worth, was distinct physically from Adam and was a suitable helper for him.

Verse 24. One flesh. The fact that Eve was created from out of Adam establishes the basis for marital union.

Summary

God created a perfect, holy sanctuary in which he placed Adam, his priest whose purpose was to communion with God and obey his commands. He created Eve to complete Adam and assist him with his duties. These purposes and roles never changed. The purpose of all people is to worship God according to the commands that he has given in his sanctuary where he dwells.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why do you think God created Adam from the dust of the earth instead of out of nothing?
  2. Why do you think God created Eve out of Adam?
  3. What does it mean for us today that Adam and Eve were created to worship and obey God?

Day 3: Fall

Reading: Genesis 2:25–3:24

Notes

Chapter 2, Verse 25. This verse describes the state of untested, innocent holiness in which Adam and Eve were created.

Chapter 3, Verse 1. Serpent. John identifies the serpent as Satan (Rev 12:9, 20:2). He tempts Eve to disobey God by questioning God’s motives and authority, which is always the essence of temptation.

Verse 4. Her husband. While Eve was deceived into sinning, Adam ate of the fruit willfully.

Verse 7. The innocence that characterized Adam and Eve when they were created is now replaced by guilt and shame.

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Verse 8. Walking. God’s desire was to commune with his people in his sanctuary, but sin prevents free communion with God.

Verse 9. Where are you? This does not mean God didn’t know where they were; it was simply a way to force them to explain why they were hiding from him and acknowledge their guilt.

Verse 15. This is the first proclamation of God’s plan to send his Son to redeem mankind from their sin.

Verse 17. Cursed. Because of Adam’s sin, all of mankind and all of creation fell under God’s just curse.

Verse 21. Clothed. This is a foreshadowing of the atonement (“covering”) for sin through the sacrificial death of a substitute that is necessary to restore broken communion with God.

Summary

God created Adam and Eve in order to commune with them in his sanctuary, but their disobedience broke that communion. Thus God cursed them, their posterity, and all of creation. But God did not leave us in our sin; he made a promise that he would one day crush the head of the serpent, representing sin, through an offspring of Eve—his only Son. He foreshadowed how this would take place when he killed an animal and covered their guilt with its skin. Sin breaks communion with God, but through the substitutionary atonement of the Son of God, restored fellowship is possible!

Discussion Questions

  1. Do you notice any similarities between Satan’s temptation of Eve and his later temptation of Jesus in the wilderness (Matt 4:1–11)?
  2. What consequences do we still experience today as a result of Adam’s sin?
  3. How did God fulfill his promise made in Genesis 3:15?

Day 4: Cain and Abel

Reading: Passage: Genesis 4:1–16; Proverbs 1

Notes

Genesis 4, Verse 4. Although the account here does not explicitly explain why God accepted Abel’s offering and accepted Cain’s, the New Testament seems to indicate that both inward heart motivation (Abel was “righteous,” while Cain was “evil”) as well as the sacrifices themselves (Abel’s sacrifice was “more excellent” than Cain’s) are in view (see John 3:12, Hebrews 11:4, and Jude 11). God cares about both the heart of the worshiper and that the worshiper present what is excellent in obedience to God’s clear commands.

Verse 14. Whoever. Eve must have bore many children and enough time must have passed for the population of the earth to have increased considerably by this point.

Verse 15. Mark. While not clear what this mark was exactly, it must have been some sort of visible sign and warning that no one was to harm Cain in any way. This was an act of mercy by God in spite of Cain’s sin.

Proverbs 1, Verse 1. Proverbs are short statements of wisdom. They are not necessary legal guarantees; rather, they are general principles that typically ring true.

Verse 2. Wisdom. Wisdom is not simply intellectual knowledge, but rather the ability to skillfully apply what one knows practically in life.

Verse 7. Fear. A proper imagination of God and reverence toward him precedes a right understanding of him. It is not enough to simply know who God is; a wise person has the appropriate heart affections toward him. Fool. A fool in Scripture is an unbeliever.

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Summary

Knowledge of God alone is not sufficient for wise living that pleases him. Cain knew God and even spoke with him, but his self interest and pride prevented him from obeying God and instead led him into horrendous sin. On the other hand, it is a proper fear of God that will lead us, like Abel, to reverence God and obey his clear instructions out of a true desire for fellowship with him. This is true wisdom.

Discussion Questions

  1. What clear instructions about worship has God given us in Scripture that should regulate how we approach him?
  2. Why is knowledge of God alone insufficient for a life pleasing to God?
  3. How can we resist temptation to sin, either from within our hearts or from others?

Day 5: Noah and the Flood

Reading: Genesis 6:1–8:19

Notes

Chapter 6, Verse 2. Sons of God. To whom this description refers is not clear; some believe it refers to angels, others think that it describes powerful human kings. Regardless, the point of these verses is to describe the increasing corruption on earth that leads to judgment.

Verse 4. Nephalim. The meaning of this term is also uncertain. It could refer to fallen angels or mighty, violent giants. Again, however, the primary emphasis is to describe the violence and injustice that characterized mankind at the time.

Verse 6. Regretted. This term describes the deep sorrow of God in response to the sinfulness of his creatures, not that it surprised him in any way.

Verse 19. Two of every sort. The ark had more than enough space to house two of each species of animal on earth, even by generous estimates.

Chapter 7, Verse 11. The water that covered the earth came from three sources: the “fountains of the great deep,” the water canopy encircling the earth (the “windows of the heavens”; see 1:7), and the rain that fell over a period of forty days.

Summary

Sin deserves judgement. But God, who is rich in mercy, chooses to save those who trust in his promises and come to him in faith through the means that he has provided.

Discussion Questions

  1. What is the main lesson from the story of Noah and the flood?
  2. What does sin deserve?
  3. What is necessary to be rescued from judgment?
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Scott Aniol

About Scott Aniol

Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is Chair of the Worship Ministry Department at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in ministry, worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He is the author of Worship in Song: A Biblical Approach to Music and Worship, Sound Worship: A Guide to Making Musical Choices in a Noisy World, and By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Culture, and speaks around the country in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX where he resides with his wife and four children.

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