Adult Sabbath School Lesson Study Outlines

Skip Navigation
Get these Sabbath School lessons by e-mail! Subscribe to the Bible Study of the Week mailing list:

 Subscribe in a reader

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!

  1. Creation Memorial

    1. 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!)

      1. 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, anniversaries, holidays.)

      2. How important is it that others remember your birthday on the exact day that you were born?

      3. 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 spouse?

        1. To make life easier for your spouse, what if she just started calling you by the name of the first spouse?

        2. Are birthdays and names a fair comparison to the Creation Sabbath?

        3. Do you think it makes a difference if God's position as Creator is heavily under attack?

      4. What do you think should be the practical consequence to us of God making the seventh day holy and blessed?

  2. Two Creation Accounts?

    1. Read Genesis 2:4-6. How can verse 5 say that no shrub or plant had appeared when this is after the Creation week?

      1. Is this a conflicting account of the Creation?
      2. Does this indicate that creation continued after the first week?

    2. It gets worse. Read Genesis 2:7-8. Is this a different version of the creation of man? A conflicting account?

    3. Now move down in this chapter and read Genesis 2:18, 21-23. Is this a third version of the creation of man (woman)?

    4. 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?

  3. Details, details!

    1. When you tell a story, do you tell all the details at once?

      1. What do you do with the added details? When do you give them?

      2. Have you ever had someone tell you the general outlines of a story and then later fill in some of the details?

      3. Is that what God is doing here in describing His creation?

        1. 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 account?

        2. Is there anything in Genesis 2:4-8 that contradicts the account in Genesis chapter 1? (No.)

        3. 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 plants.)

        4. 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?

    2. Does the Genesis 2:7 account of the creation of man contain more detail than the Genesis 1:27 account?

    3. Last week we discussed whether we evolved from slugs. Do you like the Genesis 2:7 account better?

      1. 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.)

      2. 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.)

    4. Does the Genesis 2:21-23 account contain more detail than the Genesis 2:7 account?

    5. 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.)

  4. Woman!

    1. 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.)

    2. 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!

    3. 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 marriage.)

      1. 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?

    4. Let's look at this more seriously. What do you like about the way Eve was made? (Not made of dirt like Adam.)

      1. What do you think about Eve being made from a rib as opposed to a toe, hand or brain? (Suggests an equality.)

      2. 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.)

    5. 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.)

  5. The Trees

    1. Read Genesis 2:9. What are God's reasons for making trees?

    2. 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?

      1. Isn't this a bit like driving your well for drinking water next to your septic tank?

      2. Why do you think God placed them as He did; life and death next to each other?

    3. 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.)

      1. 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.)

    4. 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.)

    5. 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?

  6. 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.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
Back to Top | Home