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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 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 3: The Fall Into Sin *
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." I wonder if Adam and Eve
gave as much thinking to their upcoming test? Let's jump into our
lesson and consider how sin entered our world!
- The Shot
- Read Genesis 3:1. Some people do not believe that the
Biblical account of the fall of humans into sin is
literal. Do you think a snake is really speaking to Eve?
- Most Christians think the snake is Satan. Revelation
20:2 calls Satan "that ancient serpent." If this
snake really is Satan, does that prove this story is
an allegory and not literal?
- Why does the Bible tell us that the snake was the
smartest animal around? Why is that detail
necessary? (This explanation suggests the story is
literal. If any animal could speak, this one could.
Thus, Eve would not have been surprised to have been
speaking to a snake.)
- Do we have to choose between a smart snake and Satan?
Between believing this story is literal or believing
the snake is Satan? (A New Testament story helps
unravel this mystery. Mark 5 contains the story of
the demons "Legion" ( Mark 5:9) 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
Genesis 3 is a literal account and Mark reveals what
is happening here. Satan takes control of a snake.
Because snakes are so smart, Eve is not shocked to
hear a snake talk. Note that the apostle Paul refers
to this as if it were a literal event. 2 Corinthians
- Why does Satan ( Genesis 3:1) ask about eating from
trees? Why does he state what is obviously not true?
(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, so he misstated it so that she would correct
- Read Genesis 3:2-3. What do you think about Eve's
response? Does she answer correctly? (She is both wrong
and ambiguous. Read Genesis 2:16-17. God did not say
anything about "touching" the fruit. According to the
Bible He merely said "Don't eat." Notice that there were
two trees in the middle of the garden: the Tree of
Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life. (Genesis
- 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? That would be a
good idea, right? (Read Deuteronomy 4:1-2. I think it
is a serious mistake to confuse what is a "good idea"
with what God actually said is sin. 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? (I think it is all of these
things except appetite. Eve decides to trust in her
(about to be acquired) knowledge, rather than trust
in God. This is 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? (Read Genesis 2:17. God gives the
tree the label "knowledge of good and evil." In the
Bible account, 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
- What percentage of the population does not trust the
Creation account or the story of the fall of humans?
- Where do they find an alternative account? (The
theory of evolution, for one.)
- How ironic is this? Let's assume for a minute that
this is all allegory, myth or whatever label they use
to say "I cannot believe this is literal." If
anything is to be taken away from this story, what is
it? (That we are to trust God and what He says rather
than depend on our own understanding. If even the
"myth" people believe there is a lesson here, why
don't they apply it to this story? Why would they
think they should supply their own story based on
their own supposed knowledge?)
- 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.)
- God's Reaction
- How would you react to Adam and Eve if you were God?
- Read Genesis 3:8-11. What does God do after Adam and Eve
sin? (He comes looking for them.)
- Read Isaiah 59:1-2. Why didn't God just abandon the
earth when Adam and Eve sinned? Isaiah seems to say
when you sin God turns away from you. How do you
explain the apparent contradiction between what we
observe about God in Eden and Isaiah's statement?
(When I was a young man, I was taught that if I
sinned God would not listen to me. It was a
horrifying thought - I could make decisions that
would cause God to abandon me.)
- Read Ephesians 5:5-6. Do Paul and Isaiah agree? If
so, what is God doing in Eden?
- Read Luke 15:3-7. What does Jesus teach us about His
attitude towards sinners?
- Read Romans 5:6-8. Considering all of these verses, what
do we learn is God's reaction to sin? (Eden gives us a
good view of our God. He loves us, He comes after us, He
confronts us with our sins. But, if we finally reject
God, He will turn away.)
- Put yourself in God's place in our point in time. You
created the world, but many people doubt your word about
that. Your creation - humans - doubted you and believed
Satan. As a result, you sent your Son to die for their
sins. Humans killed your Son. What would be your
attitude, as God, towards humans? (Read Hebrews 10:29-31.
I certainly do not want to be lost. But if I reject
everything which God has done for me, His judgment is fair
- more than fair.)
- Friend, consider what God has done for you. Will you walk
away from Him or give your heart to Him right now?
- Next week: Atonement and the Divine Initiative.
* 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.