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Lesson 1: Creation and the Fall *

Introduction: Unity seems to be a word that has fallen out of popular favor. Diversity is the popular word of today. Like many current trends, it is a concept that has turned traditional thinking upside down. The motto of the United States is "Out of many, one." Diversity is supposed to progress to unity according to this motto, not the other way around. Is this traditional concept also a Biblical concept? Does God desire us to be unified or diversified? Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and find out!

  1. Created Nature

    1. Read Genesis 1:26. In what three ways are we like God? (We are rulers, we bear the same "image" and "likeness.")

      1. What is the difference between an image and a likeness? (We have the same essential form as God, and we are like Him in other ways. Being a ruler must be one of them.)

      2. I think that arrogance drives much of the theory of evolution. Is there room for pride in the creation account? (We were created to be rulers! The difference is that we were given this authority by God, which makes Him clearly superior to us.)

    2. Read Genesis 1:27. God did what He proposed. Why would He give humans such great authority?

    3. Read 1 John 4:7-10. What does John suggest is the reason why God gave humans such authority? (Because He loved us.)

      1. If that is the reason, why didn't God give this authority to all of the animals that He created? Did God love them less? (Read Genesis 1:28. This introduces the concept of authority and unity. Being a ruler means that you have something to rule. God made us rulers over the animals. But, He is the ruler over us.)

        1. Why is authority important to the idea of unity? (If everyone does exactly what they want, then the only "unity" we have is the unity of chaos. The fact that God loves humans and animals, but gave us authority over them, shows that the very nature of organization and authority reflects love.)

    4. Read Genesis 3:1-5. How would respect for authority answer the challenge faced by Eve? (The serpent Satan directly challenged God's authority.)

      1. What is the nature of the challenge? (Eve will have more of God's authority - knowing good and evil.)

      2. Could Eve have simply answered "God is in authority over me, so I will believe Him and not you?" Is this a logical answer since Eve didn't know the serpent and it was calling God a liar? (Following authority would have saved Eve. It was both the proper and the logical answer.)

    5. Read Genesis 3:9-12. What has happened to unity between Adam and Eve?

      1. What has happened to Adam's respect for God's authority? (Adam's answer blames God by saying that He put Eve in the garden.)

    6. Read Genesis 4:3-8. What is the first step in Cain's sin? (He did not follow God's authority when choosing his offering.)

      1. To what did this rebellion against authority lead? (To killing his brother. This is the most extreme act of disunity.)

    7. Do we see a pattern here? How are authority and unity linked? (In both cases we find that rejecting God's authority leads to serious acts of disunity.)

      1. Is the modern concept of diversity also a rejection of authority? Or, is it something different?

  2. Babel

    1. Read Genesis 11:1-4. Are humans looking for unity? (Yes. They announce that they do not want to be scattered.)

      1. Why are they building a tower "that reaches to the heavens?" (Read Genesis 9:8-11. They want to have unity without accepting God's authority. They do not believe God's promise to never again bring a world-wide flood. So, they rely on themselves to build a tower that will rise above any future flood. Doing that will make them famous.)

    2. Read Genesis 11:5-9. Is God against unity? (God stands against unified opposition to His authority!)

      1. What does this say about the concept of unity in the abstract? (Unity is not a positive value in itself. It brings more power and authority, but the goal of the Christian is unity under the authority of God.)

      2. Does this show that God is the Father of diversity? (We see that diversity here is an attempt to interfere with human achievement. God notes that "one people speaking the same language" will result in "nothing" being "impossible for them.")

  3. Rebuilding Unity

    1. Read Deuteronomy 7:6. Has God changed tactics? Is He no longer striving for unity? (It is more accurate to say that we rejected the unity God had in mind when we rejected Him. God slowed down the unified resistance to Him at Babel. God then selected a specific people to do His work.)

    2. Read Deuteronomy 7:7-8. Why did God choose the Jews to be His special people? (The text refers to promises made to "their forefathers." This is a reference to Genesis 12 where we learn that God chose Abram to be the father of a great nation. This says that God "loved" His special people.)

    3. Read Romans 4:3. What is special about Abraham? (He believed God. This is as contrasted to Eve, who disbelieved God.)

      1. As you contemplate these verses, what seems to be God's plan to return to the unity of Eden? (God still loves us! When the world seems unified against God, He chooses a man who believes God, and uses that man to begin to build a great nation whose purpose is to bring the world once again into unity under God's flag.)

  4. Other Aspects of Unity from Eden

    1. Read Genesis 2:2-3 and Exodus 20:8-11. How would the Sabbath contribute to God's original plan for unity? (A day of rest from work to reflect on our Creator God would be a big factor in promoting unity in support of God. This is a day for the entire household, because no one, not even the animals, is to work.)

    2. Read Genesis 2:22-24. How would marriage between a man and a woman promote unity? (The reference to "one flesh" points to the design of a man and a woman to allow them to jointly become creators of a new life that reflects both of them. Marriage and the family are another aid to unity under God's authority.)

    3. As you consider the world today, is unity under God's plan growing, or is it under attack?

    4. Friend, consider your life. Are you promoting unity under God's flag, or are you a force for disunity (diversity)? If you are resisting God, why not repent and ask the Holy Spirit to help you promote unity in Jesus?

  5. Next week: Causes of Disunity.
* Copr. 2018, 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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