What does it say?
I once heard Dr. John Philips teach the entire book of Genesis in 45 minutes. It was awesome! I’ve used his basic outline several times. In my own words, Gen 1-11 tells of the beginning of history with four great milestones: 1) Creation, Gen 1-2; 2) The Fall, Gen 3-5; Noah’s Flood, Gen 6-9; and 4) The Tower of Babel, Gen 10-11. Gen 12-50 tells of the Beginning of the Hebrews with Four Great Men: 1) Abraham, Gen 12-24; 2) Isaac, Gen 25-27; 3) Jacob, Gen 28-36; and 4) Joseph, Gen 27-50.
The purpose of these opening chapters is not to give scientific details of how God created the universe. Personally, I think we waste a lot of time and effort trying to force Genesis 1 to exactly match science, when the language, intent and context of both are totally different. Whatever science discovers will never dethrone our Creator God. There is no true conflict between the true God and true science. But this is not why this passage opens the Bible.
These chapters describe God’s purpose in creation, and begin the great unfolding of the problem of human sin and God’s plan for redemption and total restoration. This is the opening episode of a single, epic story that culminates in Rev 22.
What does it mean?
Speaking of God’s purpose, what is his design for the human race according to Gen 1:26-27?
What is the task that God gave to the human race according to Gen 1:28? Do I see any parallels between the commission to Adam and Eve and that given by Jesus to his followers in Mat 28:18-20?
Gen 3 introduces sin that mortally infects the human race and also first announces the Good News of Jesus Christ to come (3:15), Seed of the woman (virgin birth).
How will I respond?
Considering the horrible and far-reaching consequences of sin, what is one specific area of sin in my life that detracts from more perfectly reflecting God’s image through my life? What is one Christ-like characteristic that I will ask God to develop in me, and what practical step can I take today to facilitate that happening in my life?
God intended for the human race to have worldwide influence (1:26,28). What is one thing I can do today to increase the global impact of my life? Examples: join a prayer team; begin to put aside funds to go on a short-term mission trip; ask God for the opportunity to have a faith-based conversation with someone today; or resolve to give above my regular local church giving to the church global mission fund, a specific project or global worker.