Genesis: In the beginning...

A Bible Study on Genesis 1-11

One Bad Apple LESSON 3

For Devotions:

bulletRead Psalm 51.
bulletIn your opening prayer, confess your sins, ask for forgiveness for Jesus’ sake, and pray that God would indeed not lead you into temptation.

For Openers:

bulletOne of those guilty pleasures which I am tempted by is...
bulletOne time when I really got into trouble when I was a kid was when...
bulletSomething I really hate to do is..

For Your Information:

bulletRead through Genesis 3.1-24 and complete the outline:
bulletVerses 1-7:
bulletVerses 8-13:
bulletVerses 14-20 - God speaks to:
    Verses 14-15:
    Verse 16:
bulletVerses 17-19:
bullet(Verses 20-21):
bulletVerses 22-24:
bullet3.1 - Who tempts the woman? (See inset box inside.)
bullet3.2-3 - Carefully compare what the woman says here to God's command in 2.16-17. What is different about what the woman says?
bulletThink of pictures you have seen of this temptation story. Now carefully read 3.6. Who was also there?
bulletNote that "sin" is never mentioned in this chapter. (The first instance is 4.7.)
bullet3.11-13 - Note well: Who does the man blame? Who does the woman blame?
bullet3.14-15 - One reading of this story serves to explain why a snake crawls and why there is a natural hatred between humans and snakes. Verse 15, however, holds additional meaning if we understand the serpent to be Satan or the force of evil which opposes God. Though it is not explained in the New Testament, some early Christians did see in verse 15 a prophecy of Christ and his triumph over Satan. In this reading, Christ is the "offspring" (cf. Galatians 3:16) who will crush the head (i.e., destroy) of the snake/Satan though the snake/Satan will bruise his heal (i.e, the crucifixion).
bullet3.24 - Cherubim: fearsome angelic guardians, sometimes pictured as half-human, half-lion winged creatures (cf. Ezekiel 41.18-19)

For Discussion:

  1. 3.1-5 - How does the serpent display craftiness or cleverness in tempting the woman? Compare verses 4 and 5 to 3.22. Did the serpent lie or not?
  2. Is there anything significant about the difference between God’s command in 2.16-17 and the woman’s restatement of it in 3.2-3? (Cf. Deut. 4.2)
  3. What was the most tempting thing in this story? (3.5-6) What is the thing that most tempts you? What are the "snakes" in your life? As you watch TV or read magazines, what are the temptations we daily face?
  4. What exactly did Adam and Eve do wrong? What did they "fall" into?
  5. What is the relationship between sin and the knowledge of good and evil? Would Adam and Eve have been better off as happy idiots?
  6. Does the following quote from T. S. Eliot (Murder in the Cathedral) apply to this story? Does it apply to any experience in your own life?
    The last temptation is the greatest treason:
    To do the right deed for the wrong reason.
  7. Who do you think is most to blame in this story? The serpent? The woman? The man? God?
  8. If it had been you in Adam or Eve’s place, would you have been able to resist the temptation to eat the fruit?
  9. Adam and Eve ate the fruit... and did not die! What happened? Was the serpent right?
  10. What is the relationship between the man and woman’s newly gained knowledge and the awareness of their nakedness?
  11. In 3.9, 11, 13, note that God only asks questions, seemingly not knowing what evil has been done! Are there "right" answers or better answers to God’s questions?
  12. What is the woman’s punishment given in 3.16? Is it a descriptive (how things are) or a prescriptive (how things ought to be) statement? How does it relate to the "ideal" which was described in Genesis 1.27 and 2.18? (In light of your response here, how do you deal with 1 Timothy 2.11-15?)
  13. In 3.17-20, what has changed from God’s initial command about working in 2.15? What is the hard part about the work you are now doing?
  14. Have two people take the roles of Adam and Eve. Enact their conversation following God’s pronouncement.
  15. We Lutherans talk about "original sin," that the sin of Adam and Eve is somehow the sin of all humanity ever after. Do you truly believe that we are born sinful, "in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves"? How have you experienced sin in your own life? As a matter of choice or as an oppressive power? (Cf. Psalm 53.2-3 or Romans 3.20-26.)
  16. By having a forbidden tree in the garden, who was taking the bigger risk: God or humans?
  17. Read 3.20. Is the man’s naming of the woman as "Eve" an assertion of his authority or an exclamation of his wonder? (Remember to read this verse in light of 2.16-17.)
  18. 3.22-24 - Why is God afraid that humans might live forever? If you discovered the tree of life today, would you eat its fruit?
  19. Humankind is now living "east of Eden." (3.24) Metaphorically, what is further to the east of you at this time in your life? To the west?
  20. Read and 1 Corinthians 15.20-26 and 39-58 and/or Revelation 22.1-21. How do these passages envision the connection between the beginning of things in Genesis 3 and the conclusion of all things at the end of time?

For Later:

bulletRead Romans 5.15-21 and rejoice in God’s plan of salvation!
bulletMeditate on these words proclaimed at Baptism: "In Holy baptism our gracious heavenly Father liberates us from sin and death by joining us to the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are born children of a fallen humanity; in the waters of Baptism we are reborn children of God and inheritors of eternal life." If you are a sponsor, send a note to your godchild to remind them as well.
bulletRead Revelation 21.1-7. How do these words give you encouragement for now and hope for the future?


Mark G. Vitalis Hoffman

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