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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!

  1. The Shot

    1. 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?

      1. 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.)

      2. 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.)

      3. 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 command.)

    2. 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))

      1. Was refraining from touching the fruit a good idea? (If you are going to avoid eating it, it helps if you avoid touching it.)

      2. 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.)

    3. 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.)

      1. How would you characterize Satan's temptation to Eve? Is it appetite? Is it trust? Is it greed? Is it vanity? Is it pride?

      2. Compare Genesis 3:22 with Genesis 3:5. Was Satan telling the truth? (In part.)

      3. 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.)

        1. 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 not.")

        2. Is the mere retelling of the fall of humans an explanation of God's rules?

  2. The Fall

    1. 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 wisdom.)

      1. 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.)

      2. 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.)

      3. How many times have you thought that God was untrustworthy when the real problem was your failure to read and understand God's word?

    2. Why did Adam eat the fruit in violation of God's command? (Read 1 Timothy 2:14. Paul tells us that Adam was not deceived.)

      1. 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.)

    3. 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.)

    4. 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.)

  3. The Promise

    1. Let's read the ultimate results of this story. Read Genesis 3:14-15. Is God speaking literally, or figuratively?

      1. If you say "literally," what "offspring" does Satan have?

      2. 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?

      3. If you say "figuratively," explain to me:

        1. What is meant by striking the "heel" versus "crushing the head?"

        2. What is meant by enmity with the serpent and his offspring?

        3. 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.)

          1. 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).)

      4. What does the "crushing the head" tell us about the outcome of the war with Satan? (We will win. He will lose.)

  4. Results of the Fall

    1. Read Genesis 4:1-2. What is Eve's attitude towards her sons?

    2. Read Genesis 4:3-7. What is Cain's problem? (He was not "doing right" when it came to his choice of offerings.)

      1. 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.)

    1. Read Genesis 4:8. What motive does Cain have to kill Abel?

      1. What does this tell us about Satan? What is his attitude towards humans? His attitude towards you?

      2. Imagine the thoughts of Eve and Adam about this murder. Would they blame themselves?

    2. 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?

  1. 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.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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