Adult Sabbath School Lesson Study Outlines

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Lesson 1: What Happened? *

Introduction: God has entered into a contract with humans. Humans enter into contracts with each other all the time to get things they want. Have you ever considered, however, entering into a contract with your country? Citizens of a country have certain obligations. It is a two-way street. The country makes basic promises to its citizens and the citizens make promises to the country. An example is paying taxes in exchange for order, protection and basic services. How about God? What contracts, what promises, have we exchanged with Him? Let's dive into our study this week to begin our study of the topic, "The Promise."

  1. The Beginning

    1. Read Genesis 1:1. The first verse of the first book of the Bible starts out with a declaration that God created the heavens and earth. Why do you think God chose to start out His instructions to us like this?

    2. Read Genesis 1:2. Is this a description of what it looked like when God created the heavens and earth? Or, is it a description of what God had to work with when He began His work of creating heaven and earth? (I think this is a description of what things looked like after God started His creation. Genesis 1:1 flatly says God created the earth. God did not entirely create earth if it already existed in some primitive form.)

      1. How do evolutionists explain the creation of matter? (They don't. They all assume that the basic building blocks were present and evolution started from there. A friend of mine encouraged me to read the book "Dragons of Eden" so I would be more sophisticated in my views of how things began. I pointed out to my friend that "Dragons" starts out with the assumption that quite a bit existed before evolution is theorized to have begun. The hard question then, is, "How did "stuff" get here in the first place?" Genesis 1:1 says God created the "stuff" of Genesis 1:2.)

    3. Scan Genesis 1:3-10. These verses give a fuller explanation of how God created the heavens and earth. If you had to explain this to someone else, how would you do it? (The phrase that keeps being repeated is "God said." God just spoke our world into existence.)

      1. Have you ever noticed that the more money you get paid, the more your job consists of just talking to get things done? Why is that? (The lowest wages generally go to the people who are actually doing the work. The higher the level of "management," the more you engage in talk instead of "hands on" work. The "theory" behind this is that the talkers have more education in management and a better grasp of the "big picture.")

        1. Is this "theory" just nonsense? (No doubt some managers are incompetent and some "hands on" workers better understand the entire operation. However, in general it is true that some gifted managers are necessary to make things run right. If each employee just did what he thought was best, you would likely have chaos.)

        2. Let's apply what we know about real life to what God has written about His Creation. Are you glad that God, like the highest level of management, just spoke the world into existence? If you did not have the Biblical account, would you prefer a world that came together, as the evolutionists argue, at the bottom and not the top? (This is a very important concept. God tells us that our world is the result of intelligent design. The evolutionists tell us our world is the result of chance. My life experience tells me that intelligence beats chance every time. If you disagree, go out and buy a car or a house that came together by chance rather than intelligent design.)

        3. What does intelligent design teach us about God's opinion of us and our world?

  2. The Beginning of Man

    1. Read Genesis 1:27 & Genesis 2:7. God is now doing things completely differently. He is not speaking, He is creating man by hand. Why?

      1. If the president of a large company goes to one of the plants and personally supervises a job, what do you conclude about that job?

        1. What if the president personally performs the job, what do you conclude about that job?

      2. Genesis 1:27 tells us that we are made in "the image" of God. What does that mean to you?

      3. Assume you knew nothing about the Bible, and someone came to you and said "I've got two stories about how you came to be here. One story says you are created in the image of God. The other says you came about by a series of accidents and mutations." Which story would you want to claim as yours? (What a great thing to stand in the image of God!)

    2. Read Genesis 2:20-23. Our lesson (Monday) goes out of its way to speak about the equality of the creation of man and woman. It says, "there is no hint of inferiority of one to the other." As you consider Genesis 1:27, 2:7, 20-23, do you agree?

      1. What about man being made first?

      1. What about man getting to name all of the animals?

      2. What about all of the animals first being considered for the role of ( Genesis 2:20) "suitable helper" before woman was created for that role?

      3. What about the fact that man was made out of dirt and woman was made out of the rib of a living being?

      4. What do you conclude about God choosing a rib, as opposed to Adam's toe or a brain, to make Eve?

      5. Does the manner in which woman was made have any significance at all? (Read Genesis 2:24. God absolutely attributes significance to the way in which He created woman, for He says that in the proper marriage arrangement, man and woman become "one flesh." God intended to teach at least this lesson.)

  1. The Beginning Role of Man

    1. Read Genesis 1:28. What role does God assign to Adam and Eve?

      1. Why would God say, in a perfect world, "subdue" the earth? Was there some question whether man had charge over the animals and the earth?

      2. There is a popular term today, "species discrimination" which is short-hand for the idea that man has no right to be preferred over the animals. "Species discrimination" thus condemns animal testing of drugs, animals used for coats (fur and leather), and animals used for food. What does the Bible say about the idea underlying "species discrimination?" (This is a concept at odds with the Bible. Man is assigned a role higher than the animals. Animal life is inferior to human life. If man, as a benevolent ruler, wants to say "I will be kind to animals by not eating, wearing or experimenting with them," fine. But animal advocates have no moral right to claim the equality of animal life to human life.)

      3. If you are "ruler" over the creation, do you have some moral responsibility to it?

  2. The Fall

    1. Read Genesis 2:16-17. Did you ever notice that this warning was made to Adam - before Eve was created? Ladies, do you think that Adam just did not explain things very well to Eve? (I'm teasing. In fact, Genesis 3:2 shows that Eve did understand the warning.)

      1. Put yourself in Adam's place. Do you think you could avoid eating from this one tree?

      2. What does it say about our God that he allowed Adam and Eve to eat from any tree other than this one?

      3. Compare the complexity of Adam's life with yours. Want to live a long time? You have to eat right, exercise right, have the right parents, etc. All this guy had to do was to avoid eating from this single tree!

        1. Would it be a problem for you that God called the tree "the tree of knowledge of good and evil?"

        2. Would it be a problem that the tree (Genesis 3:2) was in the "middle of the garden?" (Yes, I think both of those things would be problems. Being in the middle, you would notice it all the time. Having the name "knowledge of good and evil" would intrigue me.)

      4. Is it unfair that Adam and Eve had only this one limitation, this one test, and we have all sorts of tests and limitations? (Their test is essentially the same as our test, "Do you trust God? Are you willing to act on that trust?")

    2. Read Genesis 3:1-5. Can you summarize, in one sentence, what Satan was saying to Eve? (God did not tell you the truth.)

    3. Read Genesis 3:6. What did Eve's actions say to God? (I believe this serpent and I disbelieve you.)

    4. Read 1 Timothy 2:14. Knowing that Adam was not deceived, what do you conclude about his eating the fruit? (He did it deliberately.)

      1. If you were God, what would Adam's actions say to you? (He chose Eve over God. The two messages to God are most disturbing. Eve essentially said God was a liar. Adam essentially said to God I prefer someone else over you. If I were God, I would not be happy with my creation.)

    5. Read Genesis 3:9. If you were God, is this what you would have said?

  3. The Promise

    1. Read Genesis 3:14-15. Is this a promise to us? Is there hope in this? (If you look at this in terms of snakes and humans, then this is not much of a promise. On the other hand, if you look at this symbolically in terms of Jesus and Satan: Jesus coming to earth as the "offspring" of Mary, and engaging Satan in a battle for us, then this is a wonderful promise.)
    2. Friend, Adam and Eve did not cover themselves with glory in their dealings with God. He gave them a simple test and they failed it. Not only did they fail it, but they managed to really insult God in the process. Despite this, God began to reveal to them His promise to give them a way out of death. He is a great, and generous God.

  4. Next Week: Covenant Primer.
* Copr. 2003, 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.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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