By Jimmie Eaton
(Jimmie Eaton left this life in 2016 and left behind a great legacy in Red Bank and beyond, including a large collection of class notes. This sheet is adapted from a series he taught on ‘Great Characters of the Bible’ with a few questions added for discussion. ‘…he being dead still speaks.’ Hebrews 11:4, NKJV)
Because we usually think of Adam as bringing sin and death into the world, we do not necessarily think of him as being one of the great characters of the Bible. However, he was the first man and it was God who formed him out of the dust of the ground. It is from Adam and Eve that the entire human race has descended. It is only right that we think of him in a special way.
Questions for Discussion
‘Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So, God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’ Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.’ And it was so.’ Genesis 1:26-30
1. Mankind was the crowning act of God’s creation.
How was man different than any creature God created before?
What does it mean to be made in the image of God?
2. Adam came into this world fully developed as a human being. He did not come as a baby and develop into an adult over several years.
Can you imagine what it must have been like for him to suddenly appear with a fully developed body and mind out of nowhere?
‘Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.’ The LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’ Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So, the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So, the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.’ That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.’ Genesis 2:7-25
3. What were Adam’s responsibilities and instructions in Eden?
Why was he lonely?
Can you imagine what it must have been like when Adam and Eve first saw each other and began to communicate?
How do you envision that scene?
4. Why was the eating or not eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil an issue of life or death?
Like every ordinance of God its binding obligation depended wholly and solely on the command and authority of the Lawgiver. God who had created them and put them in the garden had every right to require obedience from Adam and Eve.
5. Read Genesis 3.
Why did Eve listen to the serpent and ignore the clear word from God?
Why did Adam join her in this?
What did they lose in the process?
They became aware of the consequences of disloyalty to God. Man became aware of the magnitude of disobedience to his Creator. Disrespect for the precepts of God is a serious matter to God, man must come to realise that it must become a serious matter with him also.
6. There is hope. All is not lost.
God still loved Adam and Eve even though they had rebelled against His command. He still loves us today when we rebel against Him.
‘The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.’ 2 Peter 3:9
How does God feel about the unrepentant?
What should this motivate Christians to do?
‘And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.’ Genesis 3:15
7. This passage reveals that at a time appointed by God in the future, but kept secret from man, God would send the Son. Satan would bruise Christ by his action of causing Christ to be crucified on a cross, but that very death would strike a mortal blow to Satan and his power.
The following passage sets forth the great redemptive plan of God.
‘Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bond-servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.’ Philippians 2:5-8
Because His blood was shed upon the cross, we can be cleansed of all our sins and live with God in eternity. Little did Satan realise what a devastating blow it would be when he planned Christ’s death. Under the blood of Christ Satan can no longer defeat us!
‘For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.’ Romans 5:19