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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 4: Paradise Lost *
Introduction: There is an old saying: "You get one shot at the king;
either you kill him or he kills you." Imagine the thinking of Satan:
if you were given one opportunity to test the loyalty of Adam and
Eve, wouldn't you bring your best argument, your best temptation?
Everything was riding on that "one shot." Let's jump into our lesson
and consider Satan's decision on how to test the loyalty of God's
newly minted humans!
- The Shot
- Read Genesis 3:1. So far, I've been arguing that the
Biblical account of the Creation is literal. Is this text
also literal? Is a snake really speaking to Eve?
- Why does the Bible tell us that the snake was the
smartest animal around? (It suggests that if any
animal could speak, this one could.)
- Is this just a very smart snake? (A New Testament
story gives us a strong clue. Mark 5 contains the
story of the demons "Legion" who possessed first a
man and later a herd of pigs. The demons spoke
through the man, according to the Biblical account,
and they could have spoken through the pigs. I think
that is what is happening here. Satan takes control
of a snake. Because snakes are so smart, Eve is not
shocked to hear a snake talk.)
- Why does Satan ask about eating from trees?
(Remember, this is the "test," the "one shot." You
don't want anyone arguing later that Eve "missed the
meeting" about eating from the trees. Satan did not
want a dispute about whether she understood God's
- Read Genesis 3:2-3. Think back to last week. Does Eve
answer correctly? (She is both wrong and ambiguous. Review
Genesis 2:16-17. God did not say anything about "touching"
the fruit. According to the Bible He merely said "Don't
eat." Plus, there were two trees in the middle of the
garden: the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the
Tree of Life. ( Genesis 2:9))
- Was refraining from touching the fruit a good idea?
(If you are going to avoid eating it, it helps if you
avoid touching it.)
- Was Eve doing the right thing in saying that if she
touched the fruit she would die? (Read Deuteronomy
4:1-2. I think it is a serious mistake to confuse
what is a "good idea" with what God actually said.
When you teach your children about sin, do not
confuse in their minds what is actually sin and what
are good ideas to avoid sin. Otherwise, when they
violate your "good idea" and find no harm, they will
think that the same is true with sin.)
- Read Genesis 3:4-5. This is Satan's "shot" to obtain the
loyalty of humans. Analyze Satan's approach. What does he
do? (First, he flatly contradicts God. Second, Satan
suggests that God has lied to Eve so that she will remain
inferior. She can be like God.)
- How would you characterize Satan's temptation to Eve?
Is it appetite? Is it trust? Is it greed? Is it
vanity? Is it pride?
- Compare Genesis 3:22 with Genesis 3:5. Was Satan
telling the truth? (In part.)
- Did God hide the fact that He did not want humans to
know about evil? (Review Genesis 2:17. God gives the
tree the label "knowledge of good and evil." He does
not explain why they should not eat it. He just tells
them the penalty.)
- What lesson is there in this for you today? (We
laugh at parents who answer the "Why?" of their
children with "Because I told you so!" I
determined that I would always give my children
a reason for my rules. Perhaps that was the
wrong approach. On some things we need to learn
that God does not need to explain His rules to
humans other than to say, "I'm God and you are
- Is the mere retelling of the fall of humans an
explanation of God's rules?
- The Fall
- Read Genesis 3:6. Why did Eve eat the fruit when she knew
what God said? (The text says that the fruit was desirable
to look at. It looked like good food. It would give her
- Why would the appearance of the fruit be a major
factor in Eve's decision? (What she saw contradicted
what she expected from a tree that God said would
cause death. Surely a "death tree" would have ugly,
or at least suspicious-looking fruit.)
- Was Eve's sin a gradual one? (I think a major problem
was that Eve misstated the law of God ( Genesis 3:3).
She touched the fruit before she ate it. Because she
did not die when she touched the fruit, she was led
to believe that God was not trustworthy and she would
gain wisdom by eating it.)
- How many times have you thought that God was
untrustworthy when the real problem was your failure
to read and understand God's word?
- Why did Adam eat the fruit in violation of God's command?
(Read 1 Timothy 2:14. Paul tells us that Adam was not
- Paul seems to conclude that Adam is entitled to some
credit because he was not deceived and Eve was
deceived. How do you look at this? (All sin is sin,
but I look at deliberate disobedience in a far worse
light. Consider how you compare the two when your
children disobey you.)
- If you were giving advice to Eve, what would it be? (She
should have been on full alert when the serpent
contradicted God ( Genesis 3:4). She should have been more
familiar with God's word. She should have trusted God and
not her own intellect. She should have been satisfied with
the knowledge God had given her.)
- What advice would you give Adam? (With Eve, it seems there
is room to get this right "next time." With Adam, he just
seemed to flatly disobey God.)
- The Promise
- Let's read the ultimate results of this story. Read
Genesis 3:14-15. Is God speaking literally, or
- If you say "literally," what "offspring" does Satan
- Does this just mean that we won't like snakes, that
they will bite us down low and we will stomp on their
heads when we see them?
- If you say "figuratively," explain to me:
- What is meant by striking the "heel" versus
"crushing the head?"
- What is meant by enmity with the serpent and his
- We say, "love the sinner and hate the sin." If
you said that "offspring" figuratively means the
followers of Satan, then are we not expected to
have enmity against "those people?" (Revelation
12:17 clearly states that we are at war with
Satan. Logically, that includes his followers.)
- How do you reconcile Luke 6:35 ("love your
enemies" or Romans 5:8 ("while we were
still sinners, Christ died for us") with
the idea of enmity against the offspring?
(Love towards our enemies is a weapon of
war against them ( Romans 12:20).)
- What does the "crushing the head" tell us about the
outcome of the war with Satan? (We will win. He will
- Results of the Fall
- Read Genesis 4:1-2. What is Eve's attitude towards her
- Read Genesis 4:3-7. What is Cain's problem? (He was not
"doing right" when it came to his choice of offerings.)
- Look deeper. Why is this such a serious matter? (The
sacrifice of a lamb looked forward to Jesus' death on
our behalf. Bringing to God what is logical - given
your line of work - is the "works" approach to
salvation. Like his mother, Cain decided that he
could make his own judgment on how to obey God.)
- Read Genesis 4:8. What motive does Cain have to kill Abel?
- What does this tell us about Satan? What is his
attitude towards humans? His attitude towards you?
- Imagine the thoughts of Eve and Adam about this
murder. Would they blame themselves?
- Friend, consider the nature of sin. We go from simple
deception, distrust and a desire to be like God, to pre-meditated murder in a single generation. Consider what
Satan has in mind for you! Whose side will you choose?
- Next week: Destruction and Renewal.
* 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.