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In a world with so much destruction and pain we can often find ourselves asking: Was there ever a perfect plan for the world? Was it designed by anyone at all? Was it an accident? And if it was all planned for a reason and purpose, what are those purposes?
Vaughan Roberts encourages readers to look at the first chapters of the Bible to understand the plan that God had in mind for humanity right from the start. He examines how God intended us to live in his creation and gives clear indications of how we can do so in the world today, even through the pain and destruction around us. He covers the issues that affect us all: our identity, the earth, sex, marriage and work.
This is an indispensable guide to understanding how the Creator wants the world to work and will challenge readers to change their behaviour and attitudes to reflect what God intends for life.
Now re-issued in a large paperback format.
Extent: 128 pages
Publication Date: 18/01/2013
Published by: IVP
1. The divine Creator
Bible study: Acts 17:16–34 27
2. God’s design for humanity
Bible study: Genesis 1:26–27
3. God’s design for the earth
Bible study: Genesis 1:26–31; 2:4–17
4. God’s design for sex and marriage
Bible study: 1 Corinthians 6:12–20
5. God’s design for work
Bible study: Colossians 3:18 – 4:1
Some experts take it in turns to present their research into a letter they have been examining. The chemist begins by detailing the basic chemicals of which it consists. Then the physicist outlines the electrons, protons and quarks which form the basic building blocks of the paper and ink. The mathematician concludes by speaking of the fundamental equations that govern the movement of the electrons. Their presentations may be accurate, but they are not adequate. The listeners know a great deal about the letter at the end of them, but they still have no answer to some important questions: who wrote it and why? Their curiosity is only finally satisfied when Matt stands up and announces that he wrote it to his girlfriend Ruth to ask her to marry him.
Science can explain much about the world we live in, but it does not have all the answers. It can tell us how things work but it cannot give us an ultimate answer to the great question of meaning: why are we here? Nor can it give answers to questions of morality: how should we behave? But the Christian conviction is that where science is silent, God the Creator has spoken, giving us answers that we could never find by mere observation and experiment.
There are four building blocks to a Christian worldview: creation, fall, redemption and new creation.1 In my previous two books (God’s Big Picture and Life’s Big Questions) I have followed the Bible’s story line as it has described each in turn from Genesis to Revelation. In God’s Big Design I plan to focus on the first building block, creation, and on only two chapters of the Bible: Genesis 1 and 2. They provide the essential foundation for any Christian understanding of the world and our place as human beings within it. We will be considering what Genesis 1 and 2 teach about the Creator himself and then his design for humanity, the earth, sex and marriage, and work. But even if our focus is on the very beginning of the Bible, our attention is bound to be directed often towards its end. The Creator is also the Redeemer. His original design has been spoilt by human sin, but will one day be fully renewed in Christ. Genesis 1 and 2 provide the blueprint not just for life in this present world but also for life in the world to come, God’s new creation.
You will be disappointed if you look to this book for answers to your questions about how Genesis 1 and 2 relate to modern science. Such discussions have their place but there is a danger that they distract us from the Bible’s message. Gordon Wenham, author of an excellent commentary on Genesis, writes:
The Bible-versus-science debate has, most regrettably, sidetracked readers of Genesis 1. Instead of reading the chapter as a triumphant affirmation of the power and wisdom of God and the wonder of his creation, we have been too often bogged down in attempting to squeeze scripture into the mould of the latest scientific hypothesis or distorting scientific facts to fit a particular interpretation. When allowed to speak for itself, Genesis 1 looks beyond such minutiae. Its proclamation of the God of grace and power who undergirds the world and gives it purpose justifies the scientific approach to nature. Genesis 1, by further affirming the unique status of man, his place in the divine programme, and God’s care for him, gives a hope to mankind that atheistic philosophies can never legitimately supply.
It is hardly surprising that Genesis, coming from a pre-scientific age, does not address many of the questions we bring to it. However, as we study these ancient chapters we will find they set many searching questions of their own and provide answers which are as relevant and challenging today as when they were first written.
Four building blocks to a Christian worldview
Creation God made everything.
Fall The rebellion of human beings against God has marred his perfect creation.
Redemption God, in his love, has begun to fulfil his plan to restore all things through his Son Jesus.
New creation God’s plan of salvation will be completely fulfilled when Jesus returns to introduce the new creation.
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