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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 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 7: Through a Glass, Darkly *
Introduction: I'm currently reading the book Antifragile by Nassim
Taleb. Except in the area of physics, Taleb thinks that tinkerers,
rather than scientists, are responsible for most of our "scientific"
advances. A poster child for Taleb's theory is Steve Jobs, a college
drop-out who helped to create Apple computers in his garage. When it
comes to the clash between science and the Bible, I'm not too sure it
is helpful to say to pagans, as Taleb would say, "You're not too
smart and you lie about your accomplishments!" However, there is
substance to the claim that we are a lot less smart than we think -
especially when humans challenge God. Our lesson this week is about
the reasons for our limited knowledge, so let's jump into our lesson
and learn more!
- Like God
- Read Genesis 1:26 and Genesis 3:4-5. Notice the "be like
God" language. Do God and Satan have a mutual goal with
regard to humans? (They both declared that humans should
be like God.)
- We often say that Eve sinned because of pride and
covetousness because she wanted to be "like God."
How can this be sin when God declared that He was
making humans "in our likeness?"
- How do the goals of Satan and God differ? (God made
humans like Him by making them rulers and giving them
the power to create life. Satan made them "like God"
by opening the knowledge of evil.)
- The title of our lesson is "Through a Glass Darkly." Read
1 Corinthians 13:9-12. The Greek which the KJV translates
"through a glass darkly" the NIV translates "a poor
reflection as in a mirror." Why does God's vision of us
being "like God" include a limitation on our knowledge?
- Read 1 Corinthians 13:13. Does this statement have
anything to do with the answer to the prior question?
- Low Vision
- Read 1 Corinthians 1:10-12. What is the nature of the
problem? (Christians who identify with a person instead of
identifying with Jesus.)
- Why would people have the tendency to identify with a
person, rather than God?
- Read 1 Corinthians 1:17. I like smart preaching. What is
Paul talking about here? (We don't want to substitute the
human for the divine.)
- Paul uses a very interesting phrase, "lest the cross
of Christ be emptied of its power." What is the power
of the cross?
- Read 1 Corinthians 1:18-20. We are back on the topic of
knowledge. When I consider Moses and Paul, I think of two
very smart fellows. Why would God be against the wise and
- This quote comes from Isaiah 29. Let's read Isaiah
29:11-12. God gave a vision to Isaiah. Isaiah
recorded it on a scroll. What do you think about the
reaction of the people to the vision? (They raise
technical issues. It is sealed. I cannot read.)
- What should they have said? (Let's unseal it.
Let's find someone who can read. Or, Isaiah,
tell us what it says.)
- Read Isaiah 29:13. What is the problem with the
people? (They are not serious about having a
relationship with God.)
- Let's jump back to 1 Corinthians for just a bit. Read 1
Corinthians 1:21. We need to tie up some loose ends here.
In Genesis we learned that God withheld some knowledge
from humans. This text tells us that this lack of
knowledge is part of God's plan ("the wisdom of God") that
human wisdom is limited.
- Why? Is God anti-intellectual?
- What kind of "wisdom" did the people in Isaiah 29
display? (They were focusing on the details. The
small issues. The human deficiencies.)
- Read Isaiah 29:14. What is God's solution to this kind of
small human thinking? (He will dazzle them with wonders!)
- Consider what we just read in 1 Corinthians 1 and Isaiah
29. How does this warning apply to us today? Do we see
this very thing now?
- Years ago a new car was being introduced at an auto
show. As it sat on the turntable, I noticed scratches
below the door sill. Something about the sill was not
right, and it allowed the shoes of the driver to mar
the surface. What do you think the sales staff
thought about my comment? (The so-called
intellectuals are pointing out the scientific view of
the age of things, details that call into question
the creation account. God is pointing out the majesty
- The Low Vision Advantage
- Read 1 Corinthians 1:22-24. Wait a minute! Didn't Jesus
do many miracles? Aren't Jesus' statements wise? (Yes,
Jesus performed miracles and shared wisdom. But, that was
not the main point. The main point was that He died for
- Read 1 Corinthians 1:25. The "foolishness of God" refers
back to the previous verses. God's wisdom was sending His
Son, Greek wisdom was logic, and Jewish wisdom was
miraculous proof. How is God's wisdom superior? (We don't
need to approach things from a complicated point of view.
God died for us. We don't need to be able to
mathematically explain it. We don't need to physically
- Let's run our thinking back to Eden and Eve's choice
in Genesis 3:3-5. What if Eve focused on everything
that God had done for her, all the wonderful gifts He
had given, as opposed to what God might have
- Apply this to the creation/evolution debate. What is
the argument in favor of creation? (Everything we see
- the extraordinary power and intelligence behind the
operation of the heavens, the earth and our own
- What is the argument behind evolution? (Detailed
theory based mostly on things we do not see.)
- Let's revisit 1 Corinthians 1:17. How does creation inform
how we should preach the gospel? (We should not make it
complex. We should not encrust it with "human wisdom."
Rather, we should preach it as God's gift to humans.)
- Read 1 Corinthians 1:26-28. Thanks, Paul! Not many of you
are smart, not many have influence, not many are
sophisticated, not many of you are strong. You are a bunch
of weak-minded, weak muscled nobodies. Is this the natural
result of preaching a anti-intellectual gospel? Is this
the goal, to bring in the least of human society?
- Read 1 Corinthians 1:29. What is the reason for God's
anti-intellectual, anti-cultural, anti-power approach? (So
that humans will not boast.)
- Why does God care whether we boast? (It turns the
focus away from Him.)
- Read Isaiah 29:16. What unmasks our pretensions? Our
- Grand Unified Theory of Low-Vision
- Let's contemplate some applications of what we have been
discussing. What kind of thinking made Eve vulnerable to
Satan? (Thinking that she needed to know more. Thinking
that the focus should be on her knowledge, not God's
- What kind of thinking made Jesus's work with the Jewish
establishment so difficult? (They were focused on
themselves, what strategy they needed to follow to survive
and thrive. See John 11:49-50.)
- Read 1 Corinthians 1:30-31. What would have saved Eve and
the Jewish establishment? (Turning the focus away from
themselves and towards God. If Eve had started boasting
about what God had done, as opposed to focusing on what
she might need, Satan would have been defeated.)
- As we saw, many of Paul's converts were from the lower
strata of society. Is that good? (Another benefit of the
simple message that God gave up Himself for us, is that
anyone can understand it.)
- Why would intellectuals, the rich and the powerful be
less likely to accept the simple message of the
gospel? (Because they are more likely to be focused
on self. They are used to others being focused on
them. They want a message that focuses on them, not a
simple message that can be understood by anyone and
has a God focus.)
- Friend, God's message is that He has given us plenty of
proof to believe He exists. He has shown us His love by
dying to give us eternal life. Will you be willing to
trust God and not insist that everything be explained to
you? Will you accept that you are the clay and not the
- Next week: Jesus, Provider and Sustainer.
* Copr. 2013, 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.