HOPE CHAPEL Sunday Service Notes
Teaching Series: “In the Beginning: Genesis 1-3"
Today’s Topic: “Week 4: Sin Changes Everything!”
Scripture: Genesis 3
Today, the topic of sin is on the agenda. Before we begin, how many ways has sin infected God’s good Creation? What evidence do we have that ‘sin’ is a real thing? Lots! Abuse, exploitation, selfishness, pain, decay, natural disasters, disease, viruses...sin is like a cancer that has been allowed to spread unchecked. It has impacted every aspect of life–physical, emotional, relational, spiritual!
Like the two previous chapters in Genesis, there is much detail contained in the third chapter that can be entirely overlooked if we don’t stop to digest it. Let’s read the chapter together.
Some noteworthy things to consider:
GENESIS 3:1-6 ~ THE CONVERSATION
The Serpent - There are many ideas about the serpent, some of them contradictory. It appears to be one of the created ‘wild animals’ but was craftier than most. When it spoke to Eve, we get no sense that this caused her to be alarmed. Could animals talk or was this a special empowerment for this moment? As a creature of the Garden prior to the fall, could it intentionally lie (if not, it would appear that Satan was involved in the exchange) or did it have the ability to reason but was doubtful of God’s instructions to Adam and Eve? Under the influence of Satan, did the serpent deceive her on purpose or did he have the ability to think things through and had developed a conspiracy theory of his own? What did he actually say?
https://answersingenesis.org/angels-and-demons/satan/the-devil-is-in-the-details-%E2%80%A6-or-is-he/ retrieved on Friday, July 24, 2020.)
Eve (and Adam) - Up to this point, Eve has never been lied to, never even been encouraged to entertain the idea that God might be withholding something desirable from her and Adam. She believed that ‘touching’ the fruit would cause her death, but nothing appeared to happen when she did. This only verified what the serpent had said, “You won’t die. For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (3:5). Nothing about the fruit itself deterred her; “when the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it”(3:6). She took it and ate it and...nothing happened! So she gave some to Adam “who was with her” (3:6), we can assume also looking on–a silent but equal participant in the conversation.
GENESIS 3:7-13 ~ OPENED EYES
New Knowledge...and then “their eyes were opened” (3:7). A whole new world of knowledge flooded in, but none of it good.
• The felt shame at their nakedness and made coverings (3:7)
• They felt not only the need to hide their bodies, but also themselves from God because of fear (3:10)
• Adam refuses to take responsibility for his actions and attempts to shift the blame; it was the woman’s fault, which makes it God’s fault for putting her in the garden in the first place (3:12)
• The woman blames her poor choice on being deceived by the serpent (3:13)
It is interesting to note that neither attempts to deny the fact that they ate the fruit. Though they hid their nakedness and themselves from God, they simply could not hide their guilt.
God had forbidden them to eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil because He never intended ‘evil’ to be a part of the human experience. However, having given us freewill, He chose not to withhold the opportunity for us to choose whether or not we would attempt to gain it or remain obedient. He didn’t design us to experience or to participate in the act of causing or feeling shame and fear...along with a plethora of other negative emotions. The first man and woman’s disobedience introduced the cancer of sin to God’s Creation–all of it! God’s earlier proclamation of ‘very good’ no longer was.
GENESIS 3:14-20 ~ CURSES & CONSEQUENCES
God’s Discipline ~ Pain & Futility
What to Expect ~
Rejection of God - No longer would God be the centre of the woman’s desire and loyalty. Despite the pain she would suffer in childbirth, her strongest desire would be for her husband (3:16). However, the woman would no longer be recognized by Adam as his ‘ezer’ either.
& Power Imbalance - Adam would rule the woman, just as he ruled over the other creatures of Creation (3:16). In fact, after God reveals the consequences of having unleashed sin upon the world, Adam’s first act as ‘ruler’ is to name the woman ‘Eve’ (3:20) just as he had named the animals.
Natural Consequence ~ Decay & Death - They may not have suffered immediate death, but from that point on their bodies underwent the aging process of decay. Death meant that their physical bodies would return to ‘dust’ (3:20).
GENESIS 3:21-24 ~ A WHOLE NEW WORLD
God provided them with clothing from animal skins (3:21) - Up to this point there had been no need for clothing. Yes, they desired to cover their nakedness, but it may be that a change in the weather also required proper clothing to replace their hastily assembled fig leaves.
God banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden (3:23) - Their banishment was actually a kindness. Now that sin had infected the entire Creation, if they had eaten the fruit from the Tree of Life (3:22) they would have had to live forever in sin, just like the fallen angels and would have lost out on the opportunity to start afresh.
God could no longer trust His human creations (3:24) - God set guardian Cherubim at the gate with a flaming sword that flashed back and forth; He knew He could not trust humanity to leave the Tree of Life alone. Our desire to extend our earthly lives has become a pursuit of the human race from the beginning of time and the tree that offered eternal life would have proven irresistible to sin infected humanity.
Over time much has changed, to the point that the reason for God’s declaration on His Creation as “very good” is sometimes not apparent.
Because of sin’s introduction into God’s perfect Creation, we are left with a mess–one of our own making!
HOPE CHAPEL Sunday Service Notes
Teaching Series: “In the Beginning: Genesis 1-3"
Today’s Topic: “Week 3: G O D Made Humanity”
Scripture: Genesis 1:26-2:25, 3:20
On the sixth day of Creation, God created the first humans--a man and a woman. What can we learn about our early beginnings from the Creation narrative? Does our modern day understanding line up with the Scriptural account? We will attempt to answer these and other questions as we focus on God's most special creation--the human race.
Today we are going to focus primarily on the second chapter of Genesis and the details surrounding God’s creation of humanity in particular.
1) Revisiting two creation account theory (2:4-5,7; 2:21-23, 3:20) - As was mentioned last week, some people believe that Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 represent two separate Creation accounts. However, a reading of Chapter 2 makes it clear in my estimation, that the events it describes are also the beginning of humankind, not simply Adam and Eve created apart from others who already existed. In verse five, the writer explains that no plants were growing because there were no people to tend to it. If someone believes that Genesis 1 represents an earlier creation of other people, where are they? Then we find in Genesis 3:20 that Adam names the woman, Eve, for she will be “the mother of all who live.”
Many people who have difficulty with the idea of God creating Adam and Eve only–who would populate the entire earth–ask the question, “Where did Cain get his wife?” The logical answer is that she was one of his sisters; whether they were together prior to his murder of Abel or subsequently, following his being punished and marked by God, we don’t know. We do know, however, that after he was banished, “Cain had sexual relations with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Then Cain founded a city, which he named Enoch, after his son” (Genesis 4:17). The Bible doesn’t support the idea that people outside of the family of Adam and Eve existed.
2) Made in God’s image (1:26-27) - Our physical bodies are not in the ‘image’ of God; God is Spirit. So how are we, male and female, created in God’s image? There are a number of ideas espoused by biblical scholars and all may hold a part in the answer to the question.
Because we are all made in the image of God, “as Christians waiting patiently for the day [of Christ’s return], we [should] endeavour to treat people made in God’s image with dignity and respect irrespective of gender, race, age, nationality or economic status because we remember our King’s words that as we did for ‘the least of these my brothers, you did also to me’ (Matt. 25:40).” (Retrieved on 07/17/20 from
https://erlc.com/resource-library/articles/what-does-it-mean-to-be-made-in-gods-image/.) Jesus states that your treatment of others has a direct connection with your treatment of Him.
3) ‘Oneness’ of Male and Female (2:24) - This may be merely a reference to the marriage relationship, but I believe there is a greater context of ‘oneness’ within which God views all of humanity. When God created Adam, he was alone, but within him was contained all the physical & genetic matter required to create the woman. So when God took a rib from the man’s side, created this new being and brought the woman to Adam, he declares, “‘At last! This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man’” (Genesis 2:22-23). This is not a simple recognition by the man that she was the same species as him, but rather she was part of him. For further reading refer to
Not only that, but the whole of humanity is derived from the body of Adam; we all share his genetic material; we are one human race; one people. Those who choose Christ’s redemptive work on the cross become one people, too–the singular bride of Christ–through our spiritual rebirth in Christ. Might it be that our ‘oneness’ is as much a mystery as the Oneness of God in the Trinity? Part of being made in the image of God? In any case, it should cause us to look past what we consider great differences in the human race and see our sameness as all having come from Adam.
4) Meaning of the Hebrew word ‘ezer’ (ay-zer) translated ‘helper’ (2:18,20) - “The noun ezer is used twenty-one times in the Old Testament. Twice it is used in the context of the first woman. Three times it is used of people helping (or failing to help) in life-threatening situations. Sixteen times it is used in reference to God as a helper. Without exception, these biblical texts are talking about a vital, powerful kind of help. Yet when ‘ezer’ is applied to the first woman, its meaning is usually diminished to fit with traditional and cultural views of women’s roles” (Retrieved on 07/17/2020 from
The fact that God’s provided ‘help’ to His people uses the Hebrew word ‘ezer’ should give us pause. “Our help (ezer) is in the Name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 124:8). Can we not rightly be accused of diminishing the help provided by God, when we diminish the kind of help God intended the woman to provide?
While still in the garden, God saw the need for Adam to have an ‘ezer’, but for what? We have often been told that the woman’s help was as a subordinate and followed along the lines of traditional gender roles. There are some who see woman’s role as supporting her family by providing support from home–cooking, cleaning, childcare, laundry, grocery shopping, etc. When God created a helper for Adam she didn’t do any of those things–they had takeout every night, we may assume slept under the stars with no house cleaning required and walked around without a stitch of clothing to take care of. Yet Adam needed a helper. What was his job? To have rule, take care of and create. So God provided him a woman to help in the work of ruling, caring, creating and also to enjoy relationship with, a being who was the same as him. Now, things did change in Genesis three, but that’s a discussion for next week...
5) They felt no shame (2:25) - Initially the man and woman lived without the effects of sin in their lives and were completely innocent of the knowledge of good and evil. They felt no shame–they had nothing to be ashamed of. They felt no fear–they had nothing to be afraid of. They knew no discord–they had nothing to argue about. When God created the first humans, they knew nothing of the ‘knowledge of evil’ and God knew that it was best that way. He gave them a simple rule, which provided them with the option to exercise their freewill; that rule made it possible for them to choose to stay in right relationship with God or reject Him and live life on their own terms. Unfortunately, we know what their freewill lead them to. We will tackle the topic of where their choice has lead the entire human race over the course of our shared history to the present day, next week.
So how are we to understand God’s creation of humanity?
HOPE CHAPEL Sunday Service Notes
Today we examined the Creation Story in Genesis 1 -2 and even in our small group noted different understandings of various elements of the Scriptures. I hope and pray that you have been motivated to search out the Scriptures more for yourselves. The Holy Spirit can lead us into all truth if we are willing to follow. God bless as you continue to grow in your knowledge of God and in your relationship with Him!
Teaching Series: “In the Beginning: Genesis 1-3"
Today’s Topic: “Week 2: G O D Created”
Scripture: Genesis 1:1-31; 2:1-25
It seems that every group of people have their own favourite creation narrative to answer the question, ‘How did this world come to be?’ Creation stories, also referred to by some as creation myths, began as oral tradition that the peoples of this world passed down through the generations. God begins His Word by providing us with His version of the Creation Story. While it often raises more questions than it answers, one thing is clear. Everything that exists came about as a result of a decision by God...no accidents! He made our universe, He carefully designed our planet, He filled it with unique and wonderful creatures and He set up guardians to care for it.
We must be careful in our interpretations, however. The story of our beginnings as outlined in Genesis 1+2 is as difficult and complex to understand as the story of the end of the age found in Revelations and other portions of Scripture. When we come down hard and unmoveable in our interpretations, we risk following in the steps of 17th century theologians. The Roman Catholic Inquisition found Galileo Galilei guilty of heresy in 1616 for his research and support of heliocentrism and demanded that he stop teaching that the earth and planets revolved around the sun...after all, everyone knew that the earth was the centre of the universe based on their interpretation of the Bible. He persisted and in 1634 he was tried and found guilty of being "vehemently suspect of heresy" and sentenced to “indefinite imprisonment.” He spent the rest of his life under house arrest and died in 1642. (Retrieved on July 9, 2020 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_affair .)
Science and religion should not be viewed as opposites or contradictory studies. What is true in science is true in religion because the source of all truth is God Himself. Apparent contradictions are evidence that our understanding is limited and incomplete. Humans are still on a path of discovery–not only of the created universe, but of our Creator as well.
The more I study the Creation account in the Bible the more questions I have. For instance...
1) What was God’s Spirit hovering over (1:2)? Waters? Void? The surface of a formless mass cloaked in darkness? Whenever our English versions contain these kind of apparent discrepancies, we know that translators have struggled to make an accurate interpretation. It may be that the original meaning of the word has been lost, it may have multiple meanings, or that the word is being used to describe something of which we have no frame of reference as in the case in Genesis 1:2. The Hebrew words here are ‘tohu’ and ‘bohu’ and are thought to mean ‘waste/vacancy’ and ‘emptiness/void.’ The word that should get us most excited is the word ‘rachaph’–God hovered or ‘fluttered over’ (like an eagle over her nest and young, Deuteronomy 32:11) taking great care and protection over every moment of His creative work.
2) Where did the water come from?
You know...the water that God divided on Day Two when He created the ‘firmament’ or sky. Genesis does not speak of it being created, just that it was there. It may refer back to our earlier question or it may not. One thing we can know for sure is what we are told in other Scriptures, “Everything was created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:16b). On that basis, one must assume God created the water as well.
3) Does Genesis 1+2 represent two separate creations?
You may not have noticed, but if chapter 2 is a retelling of chapter 1, a claim could be made that the second telling contradicts the first. For instance, in chapter one, animals are created on Day Six followed by Adam. In chapter two, it appears that Adam is placed in the Garden of Eden, after which time God creates the animals bringing each to Adam to name and in order to find a suitable helper, prior to creating the woman (2:19). I would caution against reading the Creation story in a purely sequential, singular line–one event, followed by the next, then another. Chapter two may very well point to the fact that some of the events overlap within the context of a ‘day.’ The two accounts appear to be two separate versions of a single story, each highlighting different aspects.
4) Were the days of creation a literal 24 hours?
Christian scholars are divided. The Hebrew vocabulary contains far fewer words than some other languages including English. To properly translate words, you have to understand the context. The Hebrew word ‘yom’ has multiple meanings and is used in the Bible a variety of ways--"yom", in its context, is sometimes translated as: "time" (Gen 4:3, Is. 30:8); "year" (I Kings 1:1, 2 Chronicles 21:19, Amos 4:4); "age" (Gen 18:11, 24:1,47:28; Joshua 23:1,23:2); "always" (Deuteronomy 5:29, 6:24,14:23, 2 Chronicles 18:7); "season" (Genesis 40:4, Joshua 24:7, 2 Chronicles 15:3); epoch or 24-hour day (Genesis 1:5,8,13,19,23,31). (Retrieved on July 7, 2020 from
Does the appearance of the word ‘yom’ mean that God literally created everything over the course of six 24 hour days or was there six distinct epochs of creation, marked by particular events and characteristics? We cannot know for sure. We do know that God is transcendant–He is fully capable of working outside of the confines of time as we know it–and it is nothing for Him to even change the number of hours in a day. Didn’t He make the sun and moon stand still at Joshua’s request (Joshua 10:12-13)? Didn’t He add hours to a single day as a sign to King Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:8-11)? One thing we should all be able to agree on is that God could have created everything in six 24 hour periods, over six extended periods of time, or with a single snap of His fingers.
5) Should we believe in a young or old earth?
Again, Christians are divided. The young earth theory based on six literal days of Creation poses some challenges. How do we answer the scientific community’s discoveries of ancient fossils and the existence of long extinct animals? Did dinosaurs live during the time of people? What of Neanderthals? It may be that our method of carbon dating ancient artifacts is faulty or the earth is in fact far older than a young earth interpretation of the Bible allows for and we must accept ‘yom’ as representative of far longer periods of time. We cannot simply ignore these fossils. And while scientists have at times being guilty of taking too much liberty to fill in the gaps–completing an entire skeleton based on a handful of remains and making speculations that defy logic–the Christian community has at times been guilty of disregarding clear scientific evidence.
6) Does the belief in an old earth support evolution?
While there are some in the Christian community who refer to themselves as Christian Evolutionists, neither science nor the Biblical text supports evolution to my satisfaction. Since the time of Darwin, the evolution theory has been a favourite creation myth among some groups; so much so that it is taught as fact. But the fact of the matter is that it is still just a ‘theory’–it cannot become fact until it can be replicated. We see much evidence for the truth of micro-evolution; these are changes that a species undergoes over time and explains why a single species of animal can appear in quite different forms. For instance the canine species includes wolves, coyotes, foxes, dholes, wild dogs, and all varieties of one of our favourite companions, the family dog. However, what cannot be replicated is macro-evolution–when one species evolves into another. The missing link ‘proving’ that humans evolved from apes is still missing.
The Bible too appears to be quite clear in its rejection of the theory of evolution. God created plants to ‘bear seed according to their kind’ or in other words ‘these seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came” (Genesis 1:11-12); He made fish, birds and animals to bear young ‘according to their kind’ or ‘each producing offspring of the same kind’ (1:21,24-25).
7) Will we ever fully understand the Creation story?
On this side of the grave? I don’t think so. Human history is full of discoveries, lack of understanding and even intentional twisting of the truth to fit our own bias. It has only been in the last 30 years that the work to map out the human genome was undertaken. Through it we have discovered that the human race, for all its variation is one and the same species. Just fifteen years ago, it was discovered through DNA testing that Europeans and Asians have trace amounts of Neanderthal DNA present, unlike Africans who do not. (Retrieved on July 6, 2020 from
https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/article/are-neanderthals-human.) How do we allow that knowledge to shape our understanding of Creation? Those who support the biblical account of Creation and those who do not have found ways to apply this discovery to support and/or dismiss the story found in the Bible.
So what can we take away from this look at the Creation story found in the Bible?
I know that some of you may take exception to some of the questions I have asked and even the proposed conclusions. I hope it encourages you to dig in, explore and study more deeply. We have not touched on all the topics that arise from God’s account of Creation found in the Bible. I hope this morning has whetted your appetite!
HOPE CHAPEL Sunday Service Notes
Teaching Series: “In the Beginning: Genesis 1-3"
Today’s Topic: “Week 1: G O D”
At the offset, I want to tell you that we are going to discuss some of what we know of God, but we will never fully know God. As His created beings, we do not possess the capacity to comprehend God in His fullness (we don’t even understand our own bodies!); He has revealed some aspects of His being which we will examine today–and even in that, much is still too difficult for us to wrap our minds around! This is why faith is required. We can know what we know, and must have faith in God’s Word for the rest
Our denomination, the EMCC has a statement of faith that I want to read to you:
From the EMCC Faith and Practice (2013 - retrieved from
“We believe in the one true, living and holy God who is a self-existent, eternal, personal Spirit eternally existent as a trinity of three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. These persons are distinct but inseparable, one in essence, power, and glory. God is the transcendent and immanent Creator, Sustainer and Ruler of all things visible and invisible.”
If a lot of that went over your head, you’re not alone. Today, we’re going to flesh this statement out somewhat, but first we need to read some Scripture passages upon which this statement is based. [I will be seeking volunteers to read individual passages as part of our time together.]
Supporting Scripture Passages
The Bible begins with this statement, “In the beginning GOD created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). This first sentence tells us that the Bible is GOD’s story. So, the logical place to begin our study series is with Him. What do we know about God? What do these Scriptures tell us?
1) GOD is ‘self existent’ and ‘eternal’ - ‘In the beginning’ does not refer to God’s beginning, but rather to the beginning of the world and universe that we know. God was not created and He has always been–He is not a created being. We have been promised an eternity in heaven with Him, but whereas we each have a definite ‘beginning’ point, God does not–He has always been and will always be.
2) GOD is not an ‘it’ or a ‘thing’ but a personal Spirit - Aside from Jesus’ coming to earth as a baby–as both God and man–God is entirely without a body. There are times in the Old Testament that tell us God appeared as a man–to Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Samson’s mother and others. We call these appearances ‘epiphanes.’ So why do we refer to God as ‘He?’ Because God is personal and is not an ‘it.’ As the Creator of all, Jesus instructed His disciples to pray to ‘our Father in heaven,’ but we must not confuse that to mean He has a body and /or is male. When God created people, He created male and female in His own image. We bear God’s image, not in our physical bodies, but in our oneness and shared Spirit.
3) GOD is eternally existent as a trinity of three persons–Father, Son and Holy Spirit. One of the most difficult concepts for us to grasp is the trinity. The word ‘trinity’ does not appear in the Bible, though it is clear through various verses that ‘trinity’ is an appropriate descriptor for God. God as three persons has always existed–throughout the Bible, each is mentioned at ‘the beginning’ of Creation and each took part. But how to understand the trinity...?
We could think of God like an egg–three parts (shell, white and yolk) that make up one (egg); however, remove one element of an egg and you no longer have an egg–the shell is not an egg, the white is not an egg, just as the yolk alone is not an egg. The Father, however, is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Spirit is also God (though not three gods).
We could think of God like a pie cut into three pieces, but as soon as you remove a slice, you have less pie. You can never have less God.
The best illustration that I have come upon is that of water. Water can manifest itself in three different states–solid ice, liquid, or water vapour. No matter what state water is in, its molecular structure doesn’t change...it will always be two hydrogen atoms for every one oxygen atom. The amount of water we have on our planet never changes either–the amount found in each state can fluctuate, but we will never gain or lose the amount of water we have.
While it’s not a perfect illustration to explain how a being such as God can exist as three persons in one, it does open up our ability to grasp a little more of how the trinity is possible. “The three persons of God are distinct but inseparable, one in essence, power, and glory.” Distinguishable, yet One.
4) GOD is both ‘transcendent’ and ‘immanent’ - He is not bound to the confines of the Created universe, yet He chooses to be present–He is simultaneously outside of Creation, but is constantly working within it as our Creator and Sustainer. For example, He exists outside of time–He can see the past, present and future as one eternal ‘now’–and yet at the same time has the ability, and has promised, to walk alongside us on a day by day basis.
5) GOD is the Ruler of all–both visible and invisible - Nothing is outside of God’s control. Everything that has been created, was created by God and for God. Does that mean that God created sin? No...but He did allow for it’s existence. We will discuss that topic during this series on a later date.
6) GOD is the source of all good things - Just as apples are only found on an apple tree, goodness is only found in God. God is love. God is joy. God is peace...
God is so very difficult to understand because He is a being like no other, however, He remains knowable...
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!