The Big Story #1: God's Creation

The Big Story #1: God's Creation

Genesis means beginnings. We dive in to the start of the big story looking at what we can learn from those early chapters about who God is, who we are and what the story is all about...

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Ben Baker

Ben Baker

Ben is the Director of The Bridge. The directing may look a little different than Marty Scorcese but it means he's bossing everyone around at The Bridge. Having spent a good number of years as a Children's & Youth Worker, he's now an Ordinand in the Church of England, but that doesn't mean he's leaving young people behind. He's passionate about an all-age church, biblical teaching and spirit-filled ministry, and you'll probably find him in his spare time reading theological tomes or devouring the IMDb 250 database.

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The Big Story #6: God's Church

The Big Story #6: God's Church

Rounding off our big Bible overview we look to the conclusion of the story and what we need to do to get there. God has chosen us to play a part in it, but how? What does it mean to be God's church?

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The Big Story #5: God's Son

The Big Story #5: God's Son

It all points to Him, everything that had come before, the promises, the prophecies, the people. Here we reach the climax of God's story in a person, God's son, Jesus Christ. We don't understand him until we see how he fits into what's come before.

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The Big Story #3: God's Kingdom

The Big Story #3: God's Kingdom

Look around the world and we see kings, presidents, leaders who are very much flawed. Israel had a king - God, but they wanted a human king. We look at how that worked out for God's people.

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The Big Story #2: God's People

The Big Story #2: God's People

God's story is both cosmic in scope and intimate in care, we see that as he chose to fulfil his purposes in a family. But why did God choose Abraham and the people of Israel to be the ones who would be a blessing to the whole world?

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The Big Story #1: God's Creation

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

Genesis means beginnings. Not just chapters 1 and 2, but the whole book of Genesis is an origins story – a story of God’s creation and his purpose and plan for it. For now let us focus on chapters 1-11 which together not only describe the lives of the first generations of God’s people but foreshadow much of the story to come.

This origins story differs from many ancient narratives in that our world was not created by accident, nor by necessity – it was created out of grace. There is no division between a spiritual which is ‘good’ and a physical which is ‘bad’, “God saw everything that he had made, and behold it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).

This “good” that God had made, had within it amazing potential. God created humanity in his own image and he gave them dominion over everything (Genesis 1:27-28). This was our mandate and calling for how to live. Yet reading these early chapters it’s inescapable to see the growing chasm between the world God called “good” and the descent into chaos and rebellion generation after generation. There was the perfection of Eden, the potential for the “righteous” (Genesis 6:9) who “walked with God” (Genesis 5:22), and yet there was the terrible potential for evil:

“The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).

Well that escalated quickly!

Only 4 chapters ago God created man and woman. Following the disobedience of Adam and Eve, brother murdered brother (Genesis 4:8), a lust for revenge and hatred consumed (Genesis 4:23-24) and God’s heart was grieved (Genesis 6:6). In Romans 5 we read that “sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). That one man was Adam, through his (and Eve’s) disobedience, sin came into the world, it penetrated and spread like a virus. So pervasive was it “that every intention of the thoughts of his [humanity’s] heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). Reading that verse from Romans we see how this sin affects all of us, even now.

But it’s helpful to see God’s creation and the ‘fall’ of humanity alongside each other because even in these 11 early chapters we see God’s creative grace again and again. When God’s people strayed, God showed grace. When Adam and Eve were exiled from the garden, God clothed them (Genesis 3:21). When Cain was left to wander the earth, God put a mark on him lest anyone should attack him (Genesis 4:15). When the wickedness of man was great in the earth, God’s chosen person, Noah found favour in the eyes of the LORD (Genesis 6:8).

In these early chapters we already get a picture of God’s character, one who is holy and just and yet is full of grace and mercy.

This is most clear in that classic Sunday school story of Noah’s ark! I guess it’s cute with all the animals and that, but considering the extent of God’s judgement I guess that’s where the cuteness stops. This story demonstrates the consequence of sin and judgement but moreover reveals God’s grace and mercy. He loved the world too much to completely give up on and so made a plan to save it, to redeem it, and chose someone to make it happen. This story has echoes of the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and more than that Christ’s death on the cross. God is in the business of redeeming his people.

Great themes of redemption, election, salvation and judgement that will continue through the whole of scripture kick off here. And when God brought Noah and his family through the flood safely, he made a covenant with them. A covenant is pretty much a biblical word for an agreement, a bit like a business deal you shake hands on. God made a promise and sealed it with a sign (Genesis 9:9-17). To make a covenant was a regular feature between God and his people, many promises were to come, and God opened up a new start for their relationship.

The fresh start however didn’t mean a perfect start, Noah soon after disgraced himself and it didn’t take long for humanity’s rebellion to reach new heights – literally. Rather than pre-flood sinful chaos, post-flood humanity were organised and united in their rebellion and selfishness – “Let us make a name for ourselves” they said as they aimed to build a tower as high as the heavens. The irony is clear in that the LORD has to come down to see it! There is no other name higher than the Lord’s, no glory or worship directed to any other.

However God is the same God who had overcome humanity’s previous mistakes and whilst their sin had consequence God wasn’t finished with us yet. He had a plan to choose someone through whom his purposes for his creation could still be fulfilled…

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