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Sabbath School Lessons on Beginnings and Belongings
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Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 3: The Early Earth *
Introduction: When we studied Genesis chapter 1, the Creation account
seemed very clear and straightforward. Genesis 2 raises the issue of
whether there is more than one story here. Is God less than clear?
What lessons for life can we learn from the Creation account? Let's
dive in and find out!
- Creation Memorial
- Read Genesis 2:1-3. Why does the Bible say that God rested
on the seventh day and made it holy? Was it fatigue? (The
rest is keyed to His creation! The Sabbath is God's
memorial to His creation of the "heavens and the earth" --
including the creation of us!)
- Normally, memorials are "things" that we look at to
remind us of something in the past. Do you know of
any "time" memorials like the Sabbath? (Birthdays,
- How important is it that others remember your
birthday on the exact day that you were born?
- Assume that you married for the second time. Your
spouse has a hard time remembering things - but he
remembers perfectly the birthday of his first spouse.
Since it is a real pain to try to remember your
actual birthday, would it be okay with you to
celebrate your birthday on the birthday of his first
- To make life easier for your spouse, what if she
just started calling you by the name of the
- Are birthdays and names a fair comparison to the
- Do you think it makes a difference if God's
position as Creator is heavily under attack?
- What do you think should be the practical consequence
to us of God making the seventh day holy and blessed?
- Two Creation Accounts?
- Read Genesis 2:4-6. How can verse 5 say that no shrub or
plant had appeared when this is after the Creation week?
- Is this a conflicting account of the Creation?
- Does this indicate that creation continued after the
- It gets worse. Read Genesis 2:7-8. Is this a different
version of the creation of man? A conflicting account?
- Now move down in this chapter and read Genesis 2:18, 21-23. Is this a third version of the creation of man
- Do we have two creation stories for the plants and three
creation stories for humans? How do you explain two
accounts about creating the plants and three accounts
about creating man?
- Details, details!
- When you tell a story, do you tell all the details at
- What do you do with the added details? When do you
- Have you ever had someone tell you the general
outlines of a story and then later fill in some of
- Is that what God is doing here in describing His
- What problems do you see, if any, with the idea
that the Genesis 2:4-8 account of the creation
of plants and humans merely provides more
details about the Genesis 1:11-12, 26-27
- Is there anything in Genesis 2:4-8 that
contradicts the account in Genesis chapter 1?
- What additional details do you find in Genesis
2:5-6 about the plants? ( Genesis 1:11-12 simply
indicates the creation of plants and trees.
Genesis 2:5-6 tells us how God prepared the
ground by setting up a watering system for the
- Assume someone told you that they just planted a
tree in their front yard last weekend. A few
minutes later they tell you how they dug the
hole, how they amended the soil and put in a
drip irrigation system for the tree. Would you
assume they planted two different trees?
- Does the Genesis 2:7 account of the creation of man
contain more detail than the Genesis 1:27 account?
- Last week we discussed whether we evolved from slugs. Do
you like the Genesis 2:7 account better?
- Tell me what you like and do not like about the
account of your creation? (I like the fact that I was
"hand made" by God. I like the fact that it is His
breath that is in me. I would have preferred to have
been made out of gold or at least a nice hardwood.)
- Do you think there is a reason man was formed out of
dirt as opposed to gold? (Yes. I think God is making
the point that we are nothing without Him.)
- Does the Genesis 2:21-23 account contain more detail than
the Genesis 2:7 account?
- If you don't like my "detail" explanation, consider
another explanation. The Chumash (Stone Ed.), a Jewish
commentary, has a very simple and quaint approach to the
origin of plants and Genesis 2:5-6. It says that when God
created the plants in Genesis 1 they were waiting under
the surface of the earth. They were waiting for man. When
Adam came and prayed for food, and was ready to work the
ground, God sent water and the plants sprung up.)
- Read Genesis 2:18. What was wrong with man being "alone?"
(God does not explain this, except to say that two can
help each other. See Ecclesiastes 4:9-10.)
- Read Genesis 2:19-20. Are we to understand that Adam
looked for a "helper" among the animals? Do you remember
your parents discussing their boyfriends or girlfriends
and then teasing you about what it would be like if
someone else had been your father or mother? Consider the
stories Adam could have told to his children!
- Re-read Genesis 2:21-24. I believe God provides details in
the Bible when He has an important reason to do so. What
reason can you find for God adding the great detail of the
creation of Eve? (Verse 24 gives us one reason - the very
method of creation speaks to us about the nature of
- Last week someone told me after the class about
another detail to be gained: "Man, when he loses the
breath of life, becomes dirt. Woman, when she loses
the breath of life becomes man." Is the joker's
gender in doubt?
- Let's look at this more seriously. What do you like about
the way Eve was made? (Not made of dirt like Adam.)
- What do you think about Eve being made from a rib as
opposed to a toe, hand or brain? (Suggests an
- Does the derivative nature of woman (that she was
made from man) negate the equality idea? (Adam's
comment (v.23) is interesting. He argues for
identity, not just equality.)
- What part of God's Creation account is not under attack by
Satan today? (The Sabbath, the Creation account, God's
marriage instruction are all under attack.)
- The Trees
- Read Genesis 2:9. What are God's reasons for making trees?
- Let's assume that you were the architect for the Garden of
Eden. Would you place the Tree of Life and the Tree of the
Knowledge of Good and Evil close to each other?
- Isn't this a bit like driving your well for drinking
water next to your septic tank?
- Why do you think God placed them as He did; life and
death next to each other?
- Read Genesis 2:15-17. Did God explain why Adam should not
eat of the tree of knowledge? (No. God just stated the
penalty for eating it.)
- Why not explain? (I think this is related to the
issue of God making us from dirt. We need to accept
that we are mere humans and He is God. When He tells
us to do something, He does not have to explain it to
us to get our intellectual approval.)
- Did you notice Eve missed the meeting about the Tree of
the Knowledge of Good and Evil? ( Genesis 2:16-17) If this
is a third version of creation, instead of blaming the
serpent for her sin in eating the fruit, Genesis 3:13, Eve
should simply have said, "I missed that meeting!" (Since
she did not raise that excuse, it is clear she knew.)
- Friend, God started out with a simple explanation for how
He created everything. He set out a simple way to honor
His work, and He set out a simple test of allegiance.
Although we may want to blur right and wrong by trying to
make them more complicated, God's approach to us is pretty
simple. Will you obey God, or will you cloud the issues?
- Next week: Paradise Lost.
* Copr. 2006, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.