Creation Restored: The Gospel According to Genesis, the newest short-term study from Threads, releases April 1 but you can pre-order it TODAY on Lifeway.com.
Join authors Matt Carter and Halim Suh as they examine Genesis 12-50 and explore how the early portions of the Bible foreshadow the gospel of Jesus Christ — the good news of salvation and redemption that we find only in relationship with Him. When we read about Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph—the family of promise—we read about salvation by faith. We begin to understand that God orchestrates everything, including suffering and evil, in order to redeem the consequences of the fall and ultimately restore us to Him.
Here’s a sneak peek at the Introduction from Creation Restored.
God Is Making It Good Again
Growing up, I (Matt) went to Sunday School and learned all the Bible stories. During my years at Texas A&M University, I sat under an amazing preacher who preached through the Bible verse by verse. I studied theology through seven grueling years of seminary. After starting The Austin Stone Community Church, I spent four and a half years preaching through the Book of John and two and a half years preaching through 1 Corinthians.
But the truth of the matter is, nothing has given me a better understanding of the gospel of Jesus and the purpose of the cross than studying the Book of Genesis. Genesis hasn’t only increased my knowledge of the gospel; it’s also increased my love for the gospel.
The beginning …
One of the reasons the Book of Genesis advances the gospel in such a powerful way is that it includes the full history of God’s story: creation, fall, redemption, and restoration.
The first two chapters of Genesis focus on creation. God looked at the earth that was formless and void, dark and barren, and He chose to create. He spoke, and instantly galaxies came forth in obedience to His voice. With one word from His mouth, the heavens assembled, the oceans were poured out, and mountains emerged from the earth to point back toward heaven.
When God saw everything He had made, He proclaimed, “It is good” (Genesis 1:25). And it was. It was a landscape full of created things and beings erupting with praises for their Creator. Each element of creation was designed to display a different glimpse of His character. In fact, what made creation so good wasn’t just that it was beautiful and majestic, but primarily that it pointed to a good, perfect God.
And yet, even with the billion-fold wonder of stars and the breathtaking majesty of mountains, the best of God’s handiwork was revealed when He made man in His own image.
The decision to have men and women not only point to His character but actually bear His image gave humankind the greatest dignity in all creation. When God stepped back after breathing life into His image-bearers, He looked at everything He had made and proclaimed it to be “very good” (v. 31). And it was. In the moments following that proclamation, God and humans enjoyed sweet, intimate communion. Our first parents experienced exactly what we were created to be, and every one of their needs was met in God.
Then came the second phase: The fall.
In Genesis 3-11, the sharp knife of sin severed us from everything that gave us life. In one catastrophic exchange, humanity traded everything God had provided and promised for the lie that they were better off without Him. The serpent convinced Adam and Eve that God was holding out on them—that He couldn’t be trusted. The serpent led them to believe that if they wanted true happiness, they would have to do the one thing God had commanded them not to do. The promise from the serpent was that life would be found in this rebellion; the promise from God was that this rebellion would bring death.
Unfortunately, the serpent’s lie sounded sweeter to their ears. Everything about abandoning God and going after His throne seemed more appealing. So Adam and Eve rebelled; they took and ate. They traded roles with God Himself and sought in their own power to be their own gods.
The consequences were devastating. Our earliest ancestors were cut off from the paradise of Eden. More importantly, they were cut off from the paradise of knowing God intimately and walking with Him. They were cast out. From that moment on, their hearts were rebelliously bent away from God.
And that’s not just Adam and Eve. This is you and me. From the moment we were conceived, we inherited the same stony, dead hearts that beat in the chests of our first parents. Because of their sin and because of our own, we’re doubly guilty before our Father. We’re all sinners by nature and by choice.
… and the end
Because of the fall, we’ve been left with a series of terrifying questions: Can we avoid being cut off from God forever? Is there a way to reconcile? Can God look upon us again and declare that we’re “very good”?
Thank God, the answer to all of those questions is yes.
Beginning in Genesis 12 and continuing through the end of the book, we get a glimpse of God’s plan for fixing what we broke. We see Him making all the bad things come untrue.
Through the stories of Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph, we discover what God intends to accomplish during the remaining phases of our story—redemption and restoration. And it’s very good.
Matt Carter serves as lead pastor of The Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas. A cancer survivor, author, and speaker for camps and conferences nationwide, he holds a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Matt and his wife, Jennifer, have three children.
Halim Suh and his wife, Angela, have three kids and live in Austin, Texas, where he is an elder and pastor of equipping at The Austin Stone Community Church. Halim has a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Texas A&M University and a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
And don’t miss Matt and Halim’s other Threads study Creation Unraveled, which examine Genesis 1-11 and explore how the first chapters of the Bible lay the foundation for the gospel of Jesus Christ-the good news of salvation and redemption that we find only in relationship with Him.