Can you imagine what it would be like to zip through space to any place in the universe in an instant? Or to have strengths and abilities far greater than Superman? Can you even begin to grasp what it would be like to live forever? Believe it or not, that is your awesome potential! Ponce de Leon, a Spanish explorer who lived in the early 1500s, searched in vain for the mythical Fountain of Youth. But you can find the source of eternal youth because God has revealed it to us. What is it? To find the answer to this exciting question, we must go back to the very first chapter of Genesis and learn the purpose for our lives. We need to know why God created us and gave us life and breath. But first, do you have your Bible in front of you? And do you have a pen or pencil and paper? It's important to always look up and read every scripture given in answer to the questions asked in these "Teen Bible Studies." And copying the answers in a notebook will aid you in learning the material and reviewing your studies later. Now that you have your Bible, your pen and paper, let's begin. 1. What do the very first words of the Bible tell us about God? Genesis 1:1. The original Hebrew word for God in verse one is Elohim. Elohim is a uniplural or collective noun, like the words church, family or kingdom, all of which are composed of more than one member. In other words, the name Elohim stands for a group composed of two or more individuals. Elohim, as intended in Genesis 1:1, is the God Kingdom or God Family. 2. But who are the individuals presently composing Elohim? John 1:1-2. Was it the "Word" who created all things? Verse 3. What did the Word later become? Verse 14. Who, then, is the Word? Ephesians 3:9, last part. And who is the other divine member of the God Family? I Corinthians 8:6. John 1:1 and Genesis 1:1 are two accounts that bring us back to the same time in prehistory — the original creation of the universe. Both verses reveal that the two supreme Beings of the God Family created all things. The Greek word translated into English as Word in John 1:1 is Logos. It means spokesman or one who speaks. It was actually the Logos, the Spokesman — the Word of the God Family — who "spake, and it [the creation] was done" by the power of the Spirit of God (Psalm 33:6-9, 104:30). And so everything was created and made by the divine Being who later became the human Jesus Christ. The Word, then, is the divine Personage who was made flesh nearly 2,000 years ago. He was begotten (conceived) in the virgin Mary by God who, through this miraculous begettal, became His Father. Yet, at that prehistoric time of the first verse of John 1, the Word was not yet the Son of God. He became God's Son later, through being begotten by God and born of Mary as a human being. 3. Is the God Family eternal, or ever living? Psalm 90:2, 102:25-27. Both members of the Godhead have always existed. Our finite human minds can't quite understand how these immortal supreme Beings could have always existed, but neither can we quite understand what electricity is. Yet, we know electricity exists and is very real! But what does all of this have to do with your awesome potential? Everything! For God is in the process of expanding His universe-ruling Family. And you can become a member of that eternal Family! Man is not just another animal as evolutionists claim. God's purpose for creating man far surpasses anything ever imagined by the mind of man. Let's return to the first chapter of Genesis and begin to understand the most astounding revelation of your Bible. 4. After what "kinds" were the animals, fish and fowl created? Genesis 1:20-25. These verses plainly state, without any interpretation, that God created fish to reproduce after their own kind, birds after their kind and cattle after the cattle kind. Each kind may have many varieties within it, but all creatures reproduce only after their own kind. That is why dogs reproduce dogs, monkeys reproduce monkeys, sheep reproduce sheep. 5. But what about man? After whose "image" and "likeness" was man created? Genesis 1:26-27. In God's pattern for all life, like reproduces like. And just as each created form of plant or animal life reproduces after its own kind, so humans reproduce humans. But unlike any of the animals created by God, man was created in God's likeness. These scriptures refute the theory that man is merely the highest of the animals, having evolved from lower mammals. They clearly state that God created man after His own image and likeness. God made man like Himself — in the same form and shape. And He is now in the process of creating man after His own kind! Notice again what God said in Genesis 1:26: "Let us make man in our image." The original Hebrew here indicates far more than merely the outward form and shape of God — His likeness. Image also refers to mind and character. God intended for man — to whom He gave the gift of a thinking, reasoning mind — to develop the very mind and character of God! Each animal was created with a brain suited for its needs. But animals do not have the attributes of mind and character that God gave only to man. It is these special qualities that separate men from animals. The attributes of human mind and character truly make man God's unique physical creation. God has shared some of His own qualities with human beings and expects them to develop the "image" of God's perfect mind and holy character. Simply stated, God is reproducing Himself. The awesome potential of all human beings — past, present and future — is that of becoming the literal children of God — members of His own spirit Family! Notice the overwhelming evidence of God's breathtaking purpose for you. 6. Is God still in the process of forming and molding man as a potter works with clay? Isaiah 64:8. Did Job realize God was forming a special creation in his life? Job 14:14-15. Notice the latter part of verse 15: "Thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands." Job knew he was a piece of divine workmanship in the hands of the Master Potter. What God created at the time described in the first chapter of Genesis was a physical creation. Man, made of the dust of the ground, was the material being that God planned to mold, shape and form into a perfect spiritual creation. He pictures us as the clay, Himself as the potter who is forming us into the spiritual image of Himself. 7. Are true Christians clearly being fashioned by God for a specific purpose? Ephesians 2:10. "We" in New Testament language usually refers to Christians, as Paul intended in verse 10. Christians are God's "workmanship." They are being created "unto good works." God, through the Holy Spirit He puts within Christians (after their repentance and baptism), is forming in them His perfect spiritual character. With their obedient cooperation, He is creating in them His own character and image. He is creating them to be the supreme masterpiece of all His works of creation — individuals who will ultimately be capable of exercising the awesome powers of the God Family! (More about these powers next time.) And so man, the material creation, is only the first phase of this creative process. Now the clay model has to be fashioned and molded by experience, with the aid of God's Holy Spirit, into the finished spiritual masterpiece possessing the very character of God. An analogy of this process would be a caterpillar going through a metamorphosis and emerging a beautiful butterfly. Man must undergo a spiritual metamorphosis or change into perfect spiritual members in the divine God Family! 8. Does God plainly show that it is His purpose to increase His divine Family by bringing many sons into it? Hebrews 2:9-10, Revelation 21:7. Isn't Jesus Christ actually the first of many sons of God? Romans 8:29, Colossians 1:18. To be "conformed to the image" of Christ means to become like Him — to be glorified as He is glorified — to be a part of the divine Family of God as much as Christ now is. 9. But what must happen to flesh-and-blood human beings before they can enter God's Family? I Corinthians 15:49-53, John 3:3-8. Jesus said we must be "born again" — changed into spirit. Yes, born again — this time born of the Spirit of God as divine Sons in the Family of God! Next time we'll study more about this incredibly wonderful truth. And we'll see how exciting it will be as a powerful spirit being, living and working together with Jesus Christ and other born-again members of God's universe-ruling Family.