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Sabbath School Lessons on The Promise - God's Everlasting Covenant
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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 40 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 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."
- The Beginning
- 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?
- 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.)
- 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
- 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.)
- 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
- 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.)
- 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.)
- What does intelligent design teach us about
God's opinion of us and our world?
- The Beginning of Man
- 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?
- 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?
- What if the president personally performs the
job, what do you conclude about that job?
- Genesis 1:27 tells us that we are made in "the image"
of God. What does that mean to you?
- 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!)
- 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
- What about man being made first?
- What about man getting to name all of the animals?
- 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?
- What about the fact that man was made out of dirt and
woman was made out of the rib of a living being?
- What do you conclude about God choosing a rib, as
opposed to Adam's toe or a brain, to make Eve?
- 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
- The Beginning Role of Man
- Read Genesis 1:28. What role does God assign to Adam and
- 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?
- 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.)
- If you are "ruler" over the creation, do you have
some moral responsibility to it?
- The Fall
- 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.)
- Put yourself in Adam's place. Do you think you could
avoid eating from this one tree?
- What does it say about our God that he allowed Adam
and Eve to eat from any tree other than this one?
- 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
- Would it be a problem for you that God called
the tree "the tree of knowledge of good and
- 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.)
- 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?")
- Read Genesis 3:1-5. Can you summarize, in one sentence,
what Satan was saying to Eve? (God did not tell you the
- Read Genesis 3:6. What did Eve's actions say to God? (I
believe this serpent and I disbelieve you.)
- Read 1 Timothy 2:14. Knowing that Adam was not deceived,
what do you conclude about his eating the fruit? (He did
- 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.)
- Read Genesis 3:9. If you were God, is this what you would
- The Promise
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.