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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 37 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 1: Adam and Eve: The Intended Ideal *
Introduction: There are three kinds of people: those who read the
owner's manual/directions carefully; those who never read the owner's
manual; and, those who read the manual when forced to do so. I don't
know which group you would identify with, but our lessons this
quarter take us to the "owner's manual" on marriage. How is your
marriage? Would paying a little more attention to the "owners manual"
be helpful? Why not try it? God created us. He created marriage, and
we start this week with what God has to say about the first marriage:
Adam and Eve. Whether your marriage could use a little "tune up" or
is a complete disaster, let's jump right in and see what the "owner's
manual" has to teach us!
- Creation of Marriage
- Read Genesis 1:26. Imagine you were sitting in a "box
seat" during Creation watching God put together the world.
First you saw Him create light, then sky, then separate
land from water, then create vegetation, then the sun and
moon, then the sea creatures and finally the land
creatures. The result was this beautiful world. Now you
hear God say the words of verse 26. What would you think
about being a human? (It is great to be you! It would be a
thrilling thing. Not only would I be in the image of God -
who had just done all these great and powerful things, but
I would be in charge of the creation!)
- Read Genesis 1:27. How can God say that He created humans
in His image when we refer to God as "Father" and "Son,"
and Holy Spirit and He created both "male and female?"
(There are several attributes of God's "image," that apply
to humans. But, the obvious is what you just saw from your
"box seat." God just created this fabulous world and now,
with the combination of male and female, He gave to His
creation the ability to further create. Not just create
trees or cows, but create the most sophisticated part of
His creation: humans!)
- Who was God speaking about when He said in Genesis
1:26 "Let us make...?" (It must have been the
- Read Genesis 2:18. What motivated God to create a helper
for Adam? (God said it was not good for Adam to be alone.)
- Read Genesis 2:19-20. Where were Adam and God looking for
a suitable helper? (Among the animals!)
- Is this a joke? Is God inserting a little humor into
His account? Or, is there some substance here that we
do not want to overlook? (One of the grand attributes
of God is His partnership with us. Not only did He
partner with Adam in naming the animals, but He let
Adam make a judgment about who would be Adam's
"suitable partner." Adam found none among the
animals. Instead, he found a pattern of male and
female in the animal kingdom.)
- Consider the world "helper." Is this like a
"carpenter's assistant," a "plumber's helper," or
even "hamburger helper?" Does it communicate a
secondary role for Eve? (Read Psalms 70:5. This is
one of several texts where God is referred to as our
"help" or "helper.")
- Read Genesis 2:21-22. This is one of the most interesting
passages in the Bible. Ponder a few questions:
- Much of the Creation was spoken into existence. God
seems to have "hand made" Eve. Why?
- Why did God put Adam to sleep while He made Eve? Why
"bring her to" Adam? Why not let him watch her being
- Adam was also "hand made" from the dirt. (Genesis
2:7) Why did God make Eve out of a part of Adam? Why
make her out of a rib?
- Why do people even have ribs? (Your ribs protect
your vital organs. God took something that gave
Adam protection and used it to create Eve.)
- Read Genesis 2:23. What is Adam's response to the way Eve
was created? (He felt this real identity with his wife.)
- What lesson do you draw from this regarding marriage?
(That God intended husband and wife to have this
close identity with each other.)
- Read Genesis 2:24. Who is speaking? The context of this is
Adam having a rib removed and Eve being created from it. I
have not seen that in a modern marriage. How do husband
and wife become "one flesh?" (I don't think Adam is
speaking. It is the "narrator" - God speaking through
Moses. Husbands and wives literally become one flesh in
- Read 1 Corinthians 11:11-12. How does Paul understand the
significance of Eve being made from Adam's rib?
- I'm often teased that men (and the rest of the
animals) were made from dirt and women from Adam.
From what does Paul say men were born? (Women! Paul
says men and women need each other!)
- Read Genesis 2:25. What do you think is the purpose for
this comment? Bible "real estate" is scarce. This story is
very abbreviated. Why is this detail so important that it
is recorded? (This is the ultimate proof of their combined
identity and innocence: their ease with each other.)
- Corruption of Life
- Read Genesis 3:1-6. Matthew Henry, along with other
commentators, reads these verses to mean that Eve and the
serpent were at first alone, and then Adam was brought
into the picture later. I believe that is the implication
from the way this is written. Whatever the timing, who is
the "leader," the "ringleader" in this sin? (It is clear
that Eve is the ringleader in this terrible sin. She is
the one who gives the fruit to Adam.)
- Read Genesis 3:7. Have you ever "had your eyes opened" to
your sin? Do you remember that terrible "after sin"
feeling - where you realize how awful you have been?
- We now get back to our Genesis 2:25 question: why
would they feel naked now? They are sinners, but the
are still married! (Sin exposes you to shame and
humiliation and guilt. If you let sin into your
marriage, you will be humiliated. It seems clear that
Genesis is not talking just about being naked, it is
talking about the impact of sin on humans. It strips
away our dignity. It robs us of our joy.)
- Read Genesis 3:16. Did Eve's leadership role in bringing
sin to humanity alter her relationship with Adam?
- Did it alter the relationship between all married
people? (The results of sin were passed on to all
humans. It does not seem that God is speaking only to
Eve. What God declared fell on all women.)
- Isn't this grossly unfair? Why should Eve's sin
affect the marriages of those women who come
along after her? (The whole thing is "unfair,"
in the sense that Adam and Eve plunged us all
into sin. This lack of fairness is not God's
fault. He was not the author of sin. God
"unfairly" died in our place and paid the
penalty for our sin. In our text God is
declaring the results of sin - results that were
more terrible for Him.)
- Read Genesis 3:17-19. Television tells me to listen to my
wife. My wife tells me to listen to her. Is that an un-Biblical principle? (No. The context is listening to your
wife instead of listening to God. A penalty is imposed on
Adam which is passed on to the rest of men.)
- Was the marriage relationship altered by sin?
- How should that fact impact your marriage? Would it
be reasonable to strive for a "pre-sin" marriage
relationship? Or, is that not possible? (Before sin
Adam seemed to have a leadership role. See, 1 Timothy
2:13-14. The Bible gives husbands a leadership, not
tyrant, but leadership role in a God-honoring
marriage. However, if God is not at the center of the
marriage, then we have moved on to something else.)
- How should wives relate to a husband who is not
godly? (Read 1 Peter 3:1-2. Having the right attitude
towards an unbelieving husband helps to attract him
- Sometimes I am asked if "submission" means
submission to improper behavior. What would you
answer? (This text suggests the answer is "no,"
because it refers to "the purity and reverence"
of the life of the godly wife.)
- Friend, God's ideal for your marriage is an identity
between husband and wife. When spouses start looking out
for their own needs first, then the marriage starts to
unravel. Will you commit to putting the needs of your
spouse before your needs?
- Next week: Abraham and Sarah.
* Copr. 2007, 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.