Sermon Discussion: Maker of Heaven and Earth
Study Notes and Questions for 08 October 4
Title: Creation - Stage Prop or Vital Player
Text: Genesis 1/ Psalm 89:1-11
This phrase was one of the last ones added to the Apostle's Creed and some believe that it was added in order to combat the encroachment of gnosticism into the church. Gnostic teaching, though offered in many forms and complexities, had the net effect of negating both the goodness and value of the physical world. The world was divided into two parts: physical and spiritual, or visible and invisible. Value, for the gnostic, always resided in the spiritual and the invisible. No wonder the dark ages happened!
These texts restore our understanding, both of the goodness of the created world, and of our calling in it.
1. Churches often fall out of balance with respect to their relationship with the physical and spiritual realms. It's easy to emphasize one at the expense of the other. What is most tempting for you to emphasize, body or spirit? Why?
2. Share a time when you encountered God's revelation through creation (music, art, nature)?
3. The global church is divided about the subject of 'the image of God' in fallen people. Some think that our image bearing capacity was completely lost through the fall in Genesis 3, basing their conviction on passages such as Psalm 51:5, and Romans 3:11-13. Others believe that image of God was marred through the fall but not lost completely based on passages like Psalm 8 and Genesis 9:6. What do you think? Why? What implications does this have on your life?
4. Holding the tension of living a glorious, yet fallen world can be difficult. Some of us live in denial of the fall by turning up the music, and medicating the pain, while others wallow in the fall, becoming dark and cynical. Talk about this tension in your life, and how you deal with it.
5. Our calling as 'joint heirs' with Christ (see last week, or listen to the podcast) means that we have responsibilities as stewards of the earth. What should be our goal as stewards? How do stewardship issues compare in importance with evangelism?