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Sabbath School Lessons on The Atonement and the Cross of Christ
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About the Author
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: God's Nature: The Basis of Atonement *
Introduction: Have you ever thought about how long God has been
around? Just saying, "How long" implies a specific period of time.
Can you imagine a God who has always been? There is much scientific
evidence for the "Big Bang" theory of the origin of the universe. We
can observe that the universe is uniformly expanding outward at a set
rate of speed. Two logical conclusions flow from this. First, the
universe had a creation point (the "bang"). Second, since the rate
of expansion is perfectly timed, an Intelligence guided the "bang."
If time was created when the universe was created, then the
"Intelligence" exists in a realm outside of time. Let's dive into
the Bible and see what it says on this subject!
- Creator God
- Read Psalms 102:25. Do the heavens and the earth have a
beginning, according to the Psalmist? (Yes.)
- Read Genesis 1:1-2. Just looking at these two verses,
does it appear to you that the heavens and the earth
were created at a point in time before our specific
world was further developed? (These verses can easily
be understood this way. God "bangs" the universe
into existence, and then He sets to "work" to improve
our "formless and empty" earth into the Creation. The
amount of the time lapse is not indicated.)
- Read Psalms 102:26. Does our earth have a finite time to
- What happens when the earth wears out? (God creates a
- Imagine a God who is so powerful that creating a new world
is like you putting on new clothes. What would you do if
it turned out that the set of clothing you had just
created had a defect?
- Consider the options open to God when Adam and Eve
sinned. What would you have done?
- Read Psalms 102:27-28. What does this tell us about our
Eternal God and the future of His defective children? (It
suggests that humans will live in His eternal presence.
Their earth will wear out, but God will make a place for
them in His presence.)
- Which member of the Trinity is the one who created
our earth? (Skim Hebrews 1:8-12. The writer of
Hebrews tells us that Psalms 102:25-27 refer to Jesus
(the Son). He is the Creator.)
- Read Isaiah 65:17-19. We learned that God will make a
place for His people after this earth has worn out. What
place is that? (He makes a new heaven and a new earth.)
- Will the new earth remind us of the old earth? (God
mentions a new city with the name of an old city -
Jerusalem. I think that the new earth will have
places we recognize from the old earth.)
- What major differences will there be in the
geography of the new earth? (Read Revelation
21:1. The sea is gone. Most of the present earth
is covered with water.)
- Loving God
- So far we learned that God (specifically Jesus) created
the earth and will recreate it. The good news is that we
do not need to die when the old earth dies. That does not
make logical sense, because we are defective. We sinned.
If God can make a new earth as easily as He changes His
clothes, why not just create a new, better grade of humans
while He is at it? What interest would He have in
- Read 1 John 4:9-10. What interest does God have in us? (He
- Why? Look at the person to the right of you. Would
you give up your only son for that person?
- Would you give up your son if that person was in
trouble and facing death due to their own fault?
Let's say that person is dying of AIDS because
of an improper sexual relationship and your son
has always been pure sexually?
- What if you could easily create a new, better
version of the person sitting to your right?
Would you give up your son then?
- Let's go beyond a simple trade - your son for
that person to the right of you. Assume that
person to the right of you (and that person's
family) planned to torture your son in this
trade. Would you do it then?
- Read 1 John 4:7-8. Do you know God? (My brain is not big
enough to "know" God. That He would give up Himself, give
up His Son, to death and torture for me is beyond my
ability to grasp. It is a love beyond my comprehension.)
- Does this mean that I (and you, if you just agreed
with me) do not fit within 1 John 4:7-8? (I don't
think any honest person can say they completely grasp
the enormity of God's love. These verses say that an
attribute of a born again person is that we will love
that person sitting to the right of us (and left of
us and those all around us).)
- We are the beneficiaries of a love that we cannot
completely comprehend. What fortunate people we are!
- God Without Equal
- Read Isaiah 40:25-26. What is your answer to the question
in verse 25? (Based on what we just learned, God has no
- What is the pagan's answer? (Time and chance.)
- Time and time again, God pins His claims, His
entitlement to our allegiance, on His Creation of the
world and His recreation of humans through Jesus'
redemption of us. In that light, is it fair to call
the Genesis account a myth or an allegory?
- I was just reading something written by retired
Professor Irvin Taylor, a cultural anthropologist.
He said that "most educated" members of my church who
live in the more developed countries "have matured
past the point" of taking the Genesis account of
God's creation literally. What do you think? If we
become more "mature," live in a certain place and
have "higher" education, will we start believing that
time and chance are the true explanation for God's
amazing claims? (Full disclosure: I am not familiar
enough with Prof. Taylor's views to know whether he
has "matured" to the point of believing in time and
chance as opposed to simply disbelieving the Genesis
- It is hard for me to believe that Professor
Taylor really thinks that geography and age make
the real difference in a person's thinking.
What I suspect he is really talking about is
higher education. Should a highly educated
person be more likely to disbelieve God's
claims? (My goal is to reconcile God's eternal
truths with whatever science currently claims is
the true. If the Christian God stakes His claim
to our allegiance on His Creation and
Redemption, logic says that people who
disbelieve Him need to seek out another god who
makes no such claims.)
- Look again at Isaiah 40:26. The Psalmist says not one of
the stars is missing. Missing? How could you lose a star?
(This is one of the astonishing things about the rate of
expansion of the universe. If it expanded too quickly, it
would blow apart. If it expanded too slowly, gravity would
take over and it would implode. God has precisely ordered
- Read Psalms 139:1-4. God has a universe to mind. He has
nations and rulers to mind. Has He time for you? Has He
the capacity to know about your (my) little life? (The
Psalmist tells us that God knows everything about my
- Friend, do you need to expand your thinking about God? Do
you need to expand your view of the love He has for you?
The idea that we can scratch a rock, and then with our
limited mental ability extrapolate truth which contradicts
the plainest teaching of Scriptures is the ultimate
arrogance. Will you today decide to repent and give God
His proper place in the universe He created?
- Next week: Cosmic Crisis: The Disruption of God's Established
* Copr. 2008, 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.