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Sabbath School Lessons on Garments of Grace
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 3: A Garment of Innocence *
Introduction: A once popular country and western song by Toby Keith
contains the line "I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know
then." Do you feel that way sometimes? Innocence is better than
knowing? The problem with erasing knowledge is that the clock of
time does not turn backwards. (Unless you have Alzheimer's.) Once
you know, you know. This week we study the garment of innocence, and
two people who desperately wished that they "didn't know now what
they didn't know then." Let's dive in!
- Creation of Humans
- Read Genesis 1:26-28. What advantages did humans possess
upon their creation? (They were created in the image of
God as rulers of the earth. They were blessed by God.)
- Read Genesis 2:8-10. Make a mental picture of this
garden. Would you like to live in it? (Yes! Wonderful
fruit trees in a garden with four rivers.)
- Read Genesis 2:7,19 and Genesis 2:20-23. Adam and the
animals were formed from the ground. Eve was later formed
from Adam's rib. What does that suggest about the nature
of the relationship between men and women?
- Read Genesis 2:23-25. What answer does Adam give about
the nature of their relationship based on the method of
Eve's creation? (He sees a unity between them.)
- Does the "rib creation" of Eve inform our proper view of
marriage today? (Just as Adam and Eve had an intimate
physical connection in their creation, so this intimate
physical connection in marriage results in children who
have a physical connection with their parents. Children
are the fusion of two lives.)
- Imagine that you have a perfect body and your spouse has
a perfect body. Would you feel shame about being alone
and naked in a perfect and safe garden?
- If your answer is "No," why does the Bible need to
explain that they did not feel shame? (It suggests
that the default position now is to feel shame about
- Our series is about the symbolism of garments. Adam and
Eve wore no traditional garment, according to the Bible.
What symbolism should we draw from that? (They were
perfect. Their surroundings were perfect. They were to
further the human race through sexual union. This
symbolized the purity and innocence of humans before sin
entered the picture.)
- What kind of bodies will we have in heaven?
- What kind of clothes will we wear?
- Fall From Innocence.
- Re-read Genesis 2:9 and Genesis 2:15-17. Why do you think
God named the tree "knowledge of good and evil?"
- Why would God not want humans to know good? That is,
why not just call the tree "knowledge of evil?"
- Do you think the name of the tree was the result of
negotiations between God and Satan?
- Read Genesis 3:1-5. We studied what the serpent was
wearing last week. How would you characterize the
temptation placed before Eve? (Pride? Distrust of God?
Satan's pitch was that Eve would know more, her knowledge
would be more like that of God.)
- Is it true that God did not want Eve to have greater
- I believe in acquiring greater knowledge. Correct
understanding is key to correct behavior. How can
more knowledge be bad? (Seeking more knowledge was
not the sin. The sin was distrusting and disobeying
God to become more like God. The knowledge that
came from that - what it was like to lose innocence
and purity - was not positive in any way.)
- Recently, I wrote that those who have fallen into
sin have an advantage in understanding righteousness
by faith. The idea is expressed in Luke 7:47: those
forgiven much love much, and those forgiven little,
love little. One reader pointed out to me that
disobedience is never good. That is an especially
important point when considering the knowledge of
- Does this discussion help us to understand why the
tree was called "knowledge of good and evil?"
(Innocence is contrasted with knowing both good and
- Read Genesis 3:6. What was Eve's motivation for eating
the forbidden fruit? (Good for food, pleasing to the eye
and would give wisdom.)
- Do the first two reasons make any sense whatsoever?
The garden was filled with trees that were good for
food and had fruit pleasing to the eye! Is Eve an
idiot, or is something deeper being revealed? (God
and Eve had a completely different view of what was
at issue. Eve thought the problem was that the fruit
was poisonous. That is why what it looked like and
whether it was good for food were so important. It
did not look poisonous, it looked like good food.)
- What is wrong with Eve's point of view? (This is a
pride issue. She thought the whole point of the
prohibition was about her - her health and well-being. Satan introduced the additional idea about
her education and knowledge.)
- What was the prohibition about?
- Are we guilty of this same sort of pride in
interpreting God's commands? Most commands have some
fairly obvious link to our health and well-being.
Does that mean we can disregard a command if we
cannot discern a link to our well-being?
- In Leviticus 11 God declares some animals fit
for food and some not. This distinction between
clean and unclean animals existed very early in
human history because it is referred to in
Genesis 7. The way it is referred to in Genesis
7 infers that the distinction was already well-known. Referring to a story in American
history, I recall a saint telling me she would
starve before she ate a horse. I privately
thought she was nuts - since the whole purpose
of the clean/unclean meat distinction was for
health. Did I have an "Eve" attitude? (Yes.
While I might have been right, it is dangerous
to think we can discern God's reasons for a
command and then disregard the command when it
no longer fits our understanding of the
- Read Genesis 3:7. We discussed this before: perfect
bodies and a married couple. Nothing in that to make them
feel guilty. How do you explain this? (I don't think that
the "naked" is a reference to sexuality. Have you ever
felt so guilty that you wanted to hide? Have you ever
wanted to avoid other people looking at you because of
your decisions in life? You feel stripped of your
dignity. I think that is what is going on here - they
wanted to disappear into a pile of leaves. They would
become anonymous trees for a while.)
- Read Genesis 3:21-24. What kind of garments does God make
for Adam and Eve? (Animal skin.)
- What symbolism do you find in that? (Their feeling
of nakedness because of their sin is "covered" as
the result of the death of animals. This symbolizes
the sanctuary system and God's promise to redeem
- Does the "skin" garment add to our discussion about
Adam and Eve using leaves to stop feeling naked?
(This shows that the garment has more than a
spiritual/mental importance. This suggests that they
did feel uncomfortable without clothes.)
- Choosing a Garment
- Last week we studied the fall of Satan. This week we
studied the sin of Eve and thus the fall of humanity.
What similarities are there between these two? (Both
started out perfect. Pride and distrust of God were the
key to the entry of sin.)
- Think about this. The rest of us started out less than
perfect. We were born into sin. (See Romans 5:12-14.)
What chance do we have to be free from sin apart from the
robe of righteousness we discussed in the first lesson?
- Friend, humans have lost their innocence. If we are
honest, we know that we are desperately evil. We cannot
turn back the clock of time and become innocent again.
Our only hope is to accept the invitation extended to us
by God and cover our guilty "nakedness" with Jesus' robe
of righteousness. Will you confess your sins and accept
God's invitation and His robe today?
- Next week: The Coat of Different Colors.
* Copr. 2011, 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.