Sabbath School Summary
By Elder Dr Masimba Mavaza
Memory Text: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1, NKJV)
The book of Genesis and, hence, the whole Bible begins with God’s acts of Creation. This fact is very important because it means that our creation marks the beginning of human and biblical history. This truth also implies that the Genesis Creation story has the same historical veracity as other events of human and biblical history.
The two Creation texts in Genesis 1 and 2 contain lessons about God and humanity. As we study this week, we will understand better the profound meaning of the seventh-day Sabbath. We will ponder God’s act of creating humans in His image, and out of the dust too. We will be intrigued by the purpose of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and by its connection with the tree of life. The most important lesson of the biblical stories of the beginnings is a lesson on grace. Our existence is purely an act of grace. God created the heavens and the earth while humans were not yet present. Just as our creation was, our redemption is, too, a gift from God. And how profound it is that both concepts, Creation and Redemption, exist in the seventh-day Sabbath commandment.
SABBATH: The first words in the Bible don’t talk about any doctrine because they’d have no meaning without the Creation story. In the first words, we find the start of human & biblical history. SDA, our name, emanates from & testifies of the Creation. Both our existence & redemption is an act of grace. God made the world & gifted it to us. He’ll save it from sin & gift it to us.
SUNDAY: In the Bible’s first book, first chapter, & first line, God is named as the Author of Creation (Gen. 1:1). He is supreme (Elohim) & has the affairs of man at heart (YHWH). Thus, the Creation call us to worship an infinite God who also loves us (Ps. 100:1-3, Gen. 1:1-2:4; 2:4-25, Ps. 95:1-6; 139:13, 14; Rev. 14:7). This twofold view (distant & close) of God bid us to worship Him in reverence & love (Ps. 2:11).
MONDAY: We are not “organized mud” or “chance creations”. At the end of each day, God evaluated His work & saw that “it was good”. Thus, everything worked perfectly & was devoid of evil or death (Gen. 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31 & 2:1-3). The world was filled with beauty, “not yet” like our sin-sick world today (Gen. 2:5, 9, 17). God spoke & it was so. He finished His work including the Sabbath in 7 days.
TUESDAY: God finished the work of creating in six days & “rested” on the seventh day. He was not weary or in need of rest. This day was set apart & specially blessed to honor God’s handiwork. To keep it is to join God in seeing the value & beauty of His creation (Gen. 2:2, 3, Exod. 20:8-11). The day marks the first “end” of human history & also gives hope (Exod. 40:33, Isa. 65:17, Rev. 21:1, Luke 13:13-16).
WEDNESDAY: The crowning work of God in Creation was man. God made humans in His own image & likeness unlike other creatures. Man in his human nature (spiritual & physical) is to reflect God (Gen. 1:26-29, 2:7). Adam in his physical, mental, & spiritual nature bore the likeness of God when first made (Ed. p, 15). God formed & breathed into Adam, & made Eve from Him; the same nature (Gen. 2:21, 22).
THURSDAY: God blessed Adam with 3 gifts; Eden, food, & woman (Gen. 2:8, 16, 22). The pair were ordained as stewards of creation. Man was “to tend & keep” the garden gifted him (Gen. 2:15-17), eat freely from the garden except from a specific tree, & cleave to his wife as “one flesh”. Having a gift is not enough. We have to harness it (Gen. 1:29, 2:24; Matt. 19:7-9). We have a duty to care for God’s work.
FRIDAY: True science testifies of the wonders of God’s creation. We shall find that both nature & the Bible are great revelations of the beauty of God’s works. Thus, both the Bible & science are in perfect harmony. Both are revelations of God that help us get acquainted with His laws. The Creation days were literal & not millions of years as some geologists say. Science & art agrees with the Bible story.
—Ellen G. White, “Science and the Bible,” pp. 128, 129, in Education; “The Creation,” in The Story of Redemption, pp. 21, 22.
Elohim- The supremacy of God
YHWH- The closeness and relationship God has with humanity.
Sabbath- It is the last (seventh day) of the creation week. It connotes the idea of physical and spiritual rest in God. It is a sign at the end of our human week that the suffering and trials of this world will have an end, as well. Jesus’ healings on the Sabbath attests to a future perfect rest.
SUNDAY- The God of Creation
MONDAY- The Creation
TUESDAY- The Sabbath
WEDNESDAY- The Creation of Humanity
THURSDAY- The Duty of Humanity
📌 Why would the quality of our faith be affected if we believed that these stories of the beginnings were legends, “myths” essentially designed to instruct us in spiritual lessons but without historical realit y? What clues in the biblical text suggest that the biblical author knew that they were “historical” just as the rest of the stories in the book of Genesis are? What is Jesus’ testimony about the historical truth of these stories?
📌 What does the Genesis story teach us about the importance of stewardship of the earth? How can we be good stewards of our planet while, at the same time, avoiding the danger of all but worshiping the creation itself, as opposed to the Creator, which is a very real temptation? (See Rom. 1:25.)
📌 Despite the ravages of sin over the long millennia, in what ways does the original wonder and beauty and majesty of the “very good” Creation still manifest itself to us, speaking to us in powerful ways of God’s goodness and might?