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Lesson 3: Mankind: God's Handiwork *

Introduction: Before my wife and I had children, I had many misinformed ideas about the topic. For example, I thought some couples had children to boost their own standing. That would never happen to me! Instead, I thought that I had my own reputation and they would make their own - whatever it might be. How wrong I was! We don't have enough space in this introduction for me to explain the many ways my children have affected both my reputation and my thinking! In our exploration of the big picture issues, how do we reflect the nature of God, His thinking and His reputation? Let's dive into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn!

  1. The Logic Foundation


    1. Read Mark 10:2-9. We are about to plunge back into Genesis to see what clues Adam and Eve give us about God. However, there are two fundamental issues we have to first face. Is the creation story real? Can we draw lessons from it for our lives today? What is Jesus' understanding of the truth of the creation account? (He believed it. He treats it as a literal story.)


      1. What is Jesus doing in these verses? (He is basing His theology, His understanding of marriage, on the creation account.)


    2. Read Mark 10:10-12. Later, we will look in more detail at this story in Mark. Are we on solid ground when we consider the creation account to formulate conclusions about God's will for us today? (Yes, Jesus did! We are entitled to make the same sort of assumptions.)


  2. God's Royal Children


    1. Read Genesis 1:26-28. What two themes dominate these verses? (That we were created to be like God and that we were created to be rulers of God's creation.)


      1. Are those two ideas linked?(God is the Creator and the Ruler of the universe. He has made us mini-rulers.)


      2. Has God also made us creators? (Look again at verse 28. God created male and female copies of Him so that we could create!)


      3. What does this teach us about the nature of God? (He is generous! He wants to share His power and His role with us.)


      4. What does God's blessings on us and His task for us teach us about the nature of God? (He desires what is best for us. He is actively involved in our lives.)


    2. Look again at Genesis 1:27. Does God have a feminine side?


      1. Compare Genesis 2:20 with Genesis 1:27. What does this teach us about God's view of women? (Eve was not a second-class creation. She was not like one of the animals. She was a "suitable helper." Just like Adam, she was created in the image of God.)


    3. Let's stay with Genesis 1:27. Have you noticed that children often look, walk and talk like their parents or even grandparents?


      1. Despite the impact of sin, what does this teach us about God?


      2. Read Isaiah 55:8-9. What is the limitation on this line of thinking?


    4. Look again at Genesis 1:27-28. What does this say about the logic of evolution? (Evolutionists cannot deny that humans have the power of creation. We see it every day. But, they illogically conclude that God did not create us.)


      1. If our observation is that children mirror their parents (or grandparents), why should we conclude that we can create but God cannot? (One of my greatest prejudices against theistic evolution arises from the fact that it is illogical. Given my assumptions (about the existence and power of God), creation is a lot more logical than evolution. Evolution attributes more creative power to humans than it does to God.)


    5. Recall last week that Eve fell into sin because she distrusted and disbelieved God ( Genesis 3:2-6). How does this lesson apply to the theory of evolution? (The Bible is very clear about our creation. Evolution flatly contradicts God's word on the subject. The continuing issue for humans is whether we will distrust and disbelieve God.)


    6. Re-read Mark 10:5-9. When I was young, I would hear people say, "If God wanted us to smoke He would have created us with a chimney." I thought that was silly. Is it? (Jesus bases His theology of marriage on the factual details of the creation account.)


      1. What does this teach us about Jesus' view of the current debate in the United States over homosexual marriage? (That the creation account properly informs our opinion. God created the model for marriage as between a man and a woman joined for life.)


  3. God's Risky Choice


    1. Read Genesis 2:19-20. In the prior section we saw that God gave humans power and authority. How extensive is the authority given? (God let Adam determine the names of the animals.)


      1. What about a mate? Did Adam have authority to choose a mate? (It looks like God was in a joint venture with Adam to find a mate for him. They jointly agreed that no "suitable helper was found.")


      2. Does this suggest anything about how our children should find a spouse?


    2. Read Genesis 3:6. We might have thought that letting Adam name the animals was in the same league as letting our children name a pet. How serious is this choice?


      1. What does giving Adam naming authority teach us about God? (It shows a generous, kind and loving God.)


      2. What does allowing us to choose sin teach us about God? (God values freedom, even if it creates grave risks.)


      3. Let's make this issue current. In many things in life, there is a balance between freedom and security. This is a current debate in the United States when it comes to fighting terrorism. How would God balance freedom and security?


  4. God's Reversal


    1. Read Colossians 2:9-12. The fact that God allowed us to sin teaches us something about God and His attitude towards us. What does Jesus teach us about God? (Jesus was Deity in bodily form!)


      1. How did Jesus restore Adam and Eve? How did He fix their error? (By giving up His life.)


      2. Why would the God who created the universe resort to a battle tactic that looks like a loss? Why agree to suffer and die? (This is mind boggling.)


      3. What parallels do you see between the creation account and the life and death of Jesus? (In both we see God giving to us at His own great expense.)


    2. Read Colossians 2:13-15. How did the cross disarm the powers and authorities? (By dying in our place, God took away the accusation of Satan and the law that we deserve death.)


    3. Read Colossians 2:20-23. What is the message of the cross when it comes to dealing with sin in others? (God could have prevented Adam and Eve from sinning. We try to prevent our children from sinning. We use authority to prevent fellow church members from sinning. This approach "lacks any value in restraining sensual indulgence.")


      1. How do we deal with our children when it comes to teaching them? (Just as Jesus "disarmed the powers and authorities" ( Colossians 2:15) by the cross, so we must triumph over the sin in the lives of our children by love and self-sacrifice.)


    4. Read Colossians 3:1-4. What is God teaching us, through His relationship with us, about how to deal with sin? (We need to set our minds on the nature of God. We need to set our minds on what Jesus has done for us. Setting our minds (or the minds of our charges) on the rules is a recipe for disaster.)


    5. Read Colossians 3:5. This is where the rubber meets the road. How do we put to death sexual immorality, impurity, lust and evil desires? (We would not do it by saying to ourselves that an "affair" or sex outside marriage is wrong. Instead, we would focus on what the creation account teaches us about God's perfect plan for a life of joy. We would focus on how God defeated evil by giving up Himself. An affair is selfishness, not selflessness. If you focus on pleasing your spouse rather than yourself, you are on the road to holiness.)


    6. Friend, we see in the creation account and Jesus' life on earth, a God who gives us great power and authority, while unselfishly giving away His power and authority. Will you ask the Holy Spirit today to help you to begin a life in which you consider the interests of others over your own interests?


  5. Next week: Salvation: The Only Solution.
* Copr. 2012, 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.

© 2017 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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