Lesson 1

BELIEVE IT OR NOT

"In the beginning God …" 
(Genesis 1:1)

Introduction
People view life, the universe, politics, and even everyday things in different ways. Have you ever heard someone say, "Well, I just don't see it that way!" Especially in the area of religion there are vast differences of opinion, and people become quickly offended if you do not accept their point of view, even look down upon you as uneducated or narrow-minded. 
When it comes to the Bible people either believe it or not. Each one of these options (only two by the way) determines how we live our lives. If you believe the Bible then you accept that the Creation account is factual. If you doubt the Bible then you will believe in some form of Evolution. Some think that Theistic Evolution is a middle ground, but in fact it is simply another way of calling God a liar. Some say, "It doesn't matter what we believe, as long as we don't hurt anyone." In fact it does matter a lot.
Here is an illustration from everyday life. A motorcar company brings out what it feels is a wonderful new model. It will have its worshippers and critics. Everyone will have a view regarding it, and to some respect they are entitled to their opinion. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, nobody doubts that someone created the car.
In answering the question, "Where do we come from?", there are only two basic replies:
1. There is an all-powerful and eternal God, revealed in the Holy Bible, as the One who created the universe and all that is in it in six literal days. That man was created in the image of God out of the dust of the earth. This view states that an intelligent being created everything.
2. Everything in the universe results from a cosmic accident (a big bang). Man and animals came from some primal slime and evolved into what they are today. This view maintains that there was no need for intelligence, but that it all happened by chance.
Only one of these worldviews can be true. Trying to mix them together does not work. Only a fool would suggest that the new car model happened by a chance accident in the factory. The term "man-made" is evidence that we know that it takes an intelligent being to create things. Only a fool would suggest that God did not create this universe, man and animals. "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Psalm 53:1).

Life's Questions Answered
The only intelligent way to view life is through the facts presented in Scripture and by accepting that it is the word of the intelligent Creator. How you view this aspect of Biblical truth will determine how you live your Christian life. Putting God in His rightful position enables us fit together all the individual pieces of our personal world. Acknowledging that God is the sole Creator of the universe answers important questions about life. These include:
1. Who is God?
2. What is God like?
3. What has God done?
4. Can we trust God?
5. What can He do today?
The answers to these questions are found in the Book of Genesis. Dismissing the Genesis account of creation as mythology leaves us without hope or any adequate answer. In turn, you will be able to answer these other questions:
1. Who am I?
2. What is my purpose in life?
3. What is truth?
4. Why do bad things happen in life?
We should be aware by now that to answer any of these questions we must begin with God. "In the beginning God…" Once you begin at the very beginning (and it is a very good place to start) you will live the way God intended. If man is only an evolved animal, as Darwinism teaches, then we have every right to live like a beast, but if we are special creations of God then we should govern our lives by His standards. So we must consider the evidence if we are to believe it or not.

The Evidence
Eyewitness reports are the best evidence for the courtroom when determining if an event took place or not. Was anyone there when the big bang happened? Of course not, so why believe it as fact? Was anyone there when God created the universe? Yes there was. The opening text of the Bible states emphatically, "In the beginning God…." Not only that, we have a written report of the events surrounding creation.
When Princess Diana died in a car accident in France several years ago you may have heard the news from a friend. Like many, you could easily have said, "I don't believe it!" Then when you saw it in the newspaper the evidence was as clear as day. You knew that she had died because you read about it, and there were eyewitness reports of the incident. God's Word is our written report regarding whether God created the universe or not. Throughout Scripture we find texts that declare that God is Creator of all things. You may question the Bible's authority and inspiration, but it all boils down to whether you believe it or not. We will look at a few verses from the Bible which teach that God indeed is the Creator just as Genesis informs us, but first, what does Scripture say about its own reliability?
2 Timothy 3:16-17 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."
Psalm 119:142 "Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Thy law is the truth."
John 17:17 "Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth."
Now let's turn to what the Bible says about Creation. There are many more references than we can present here, but a good concordance will supply you will ample study material.
Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."
Genesis 1:26-27 "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them."
Psalm 148:5 "Let them [ sun, moon, stars] praise the name of the LORD: for He commanded, and they were created."
Isaiah 40:6 "Lift up your eyes on high, and behold Who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: He calleth them all by names by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power; not one faileth."
Isaiah 45:12 "I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded."
Colossians 1:16 "For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him."

Conclusion
Those who truly believe the God's account of Creation cannot fail to rejoice with the prophet Jeremiah when he said, "Ah Lord GOD! behold, Thou hast made the heaven and the earth by Thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for Thee" (Jeremiah 32:17). What we believe makes a difference to our worldview. It makes a difference to how we live.  The fact that belief in the Scriptures and the Genesis Creation are inseparable is clearly demonstrated in Hebrews 11:3 ... "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear", which means that you can't have one without the other. It determines what kind of believer you are. As we proceed with our study on Genesis chapters 1 to 11, we will find that it fits squarely upon the unmovable foundation of the Word of God, the Holy Bible.

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