Lesson 3

A Garment of Innocence

(Genesis 1-3)
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Introduction: A once popular country and western song by Toby Keith contains the line "I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then." Do you feel that way sometimes? Innocence is better than knowing? The problem with erasing knowledge is that the clock of time does not turn backwards. (Unless you have Alzheimer's.) Once you know, you know. This week we study the garment of innocence, and two people who desperately wished that they "didn't know now what they didn't know then." Let's dive in!

  1. Creation of Humans


    1. Read Genesis 1:26-28. What advantages did humans possess upon their creation? (They were created in the image of God as rulers of the earth. They were blessed by God.)


    2. Read Genesis 2:8-10. Make a mental picture of this garden. Would you like to live in it? (Yes! Wonderful fruit trees in a garden with four rivers.)


    3. Read Genesis 2:7,19 and Genesis 2:20-23. Adam and the animals were formed from the ground. Eve was later formed from Adam's rib. What does that suggest about the nature of the relationship between men and women?


    4. Read Genesis 2:23-25. What answer does Adam give about the nature of their relationship based on the method of Eve's creation? (He sees a unity between them.)


    5. Does the "rib creation" of Eve inform our proper view of marriage today? (Just as Adam and Eve had an intimate physical connection in their creation, so this intimate physical connection in marriage results in children who have a physical connection with their parents. Children are the fusion of two lives.)


    6. Imagine that you have a perfect body and your spouse has a perfect body. Would you feel shame about being alone and naked in a perfect and safe garden?


      1. If your answer is "No," why does the Bible need to explain that they did not feel shame? (It suggests that the default position now is to feel shame about being naked.)


    7. Our series is about the symbolism of garments. Adam and Eve wore no traditional garment, according to the Bible. What symbolism should we draw from that? (They were perfect. Their surroundings were perfect. They were to further the human race through sexual union. This symbolized the purity and innocence of humans before sin entered the picture.)


      1. What kind of bodies will we have in heaven?


      2. What kind of clothes will we wear?


  2. Fall From Innocence.


    1. Re-read Genesis 2:9 and Genesis 2:15-17. Why do you think God named the tree "knowledge of good and evil?"


      1. Why would God not want humans to know good? That is, why not just call the tree "knowledge of evil?"


      2. Do you think the name of the tree was the result of negotiations between God and Satan?


    2. Read Genesis 3:1-5. We studied what the serpent was wearing last week. How would you characterize the temptation placed before Eve? (Pride? Distrust of God? Satan's pitch was that Eve would know more, her knowledge would be more like that of God.)


      1. Is it true that God did not want Eve to have greater knowledge?


      2. I believe in acquiring greater knowledge. Correct understanding is key to correct behavior. How can more knowledge be bad? (Seeking more knowledge was not the sin. The sin was distrusting and disobeying God to become more like God. The knowledge that came from that - what it was like to lose innocence and purity - was not positive in any way.)


      3. Recently, I wrote that those who have fallen into sin have an advantage in understanding righteousness by faith. The idea is expressed in Luke 7:47: those forgiven much love much, and those forgiven little, love little. One reader pointed out to me that disobedience is never good. That is an especially important point when considering the knowledge of evil.


      4. Does this discussion help us to understand why the tree was called "knowledge of good and evil?" (Innocence is contrasted with knowing both good and evil.)


    3. Read Genesis 3:6. What was Eve's motivation for eating the forbidden fruit? (Good for food, pleasing to the eye and would give wisdom.)


      1. Do the first two reasons make any sense whatsoever? The garden was filled with trees that were good for food and had fruit pleasing to the eye! Is Eve an idiot, or is something deeper being revealed? (God and Eve had a completely different view of what was at issue. Eve thought the problem was that the fruit was poisonous. That is why what it looked like and whether it was good for food were so important. It did not look poisonous, it looked like good food.)


      2. What is wrong with Eve's point of view? (This is a pride issue. She thought the whole point of the prohibition was about her - her health and well-being. Satan introduced the additional idea about her education and knowledge.)


        1. What was the prohibition about?


      3. Are we guilty of this same sort of pride in interpreting God's commands? Most commands have some fairly obvious link to our health and well-being. Does that mean we can disregard a command if we cannot discern a link to our well-being?


        1. In Leviticus 11 God declares some animals fit for food and some not. This distinction between clean and unclean animals existed very early in human history because it is referred to in Genesis 7. The way it is referred to in Genesis 7 infers that the distinction was already well-known. Referring to a story in American history, I recall a saint telling me she would starve before she ate a horse. I privately thought she was nuts - since the whole purpose of the clean/unclean meat distinction was for health. Did I have an "Eve" attitude? (Yes. While I might have been right, it is dangerous to think we can discern God's reasons for a command and then disregard the command when it no longer fits our understanding of the reasons.)


    4. Read Genesis 3:7. We discussed this before: perfect bodies and a married couple. Nothing in that to make them feel guilty. How do you explain this? (I don't think that the "naked" is a reference to sexuality. Have you ever felt so guilty that you wanted to hide? Have you ever wanted to avoid other people looking at you because of your decisions in life? You feel stripped of your dignity. I think that is what is going on here - they wanted to disappear into a pile of leaves. They would become anonymous trees for a while.)


    5. Read Genesis 3:21-24. What kind of garments does God make for Adam and Eve? (Animal skin.)


      1. What symbolism do you find in that? (Their feeling of nakedness because of their sin is "covered" as the result of the death of animals. This symbolizes the sanctuary system and God's promise to redeem them.)


      2. Does the "skin" garment add to our discussion about Adam and Eve using leaves to stop feeling naked? (This shows that the garment has more than a spiritual/mental importance. This suggests that they did feel uncomfortable without clothes.)


  3. Choosing a Garment


    1. Last week we studied the fall of Satan. This week we studied the sin of Eve and thus the fall of humanity. What similarities are there between these two? (Both started out perfect. Pride and distrust of God were the key to the entry of sin.)


    2. Think about this. The rest of us started out less than perfect. We were born into sin. (See Romans 5:12-14.) What chance do we have to be free from sin apart from the robe of righteousness we discussed in the first lesson?


    3. Friend, humans have lost their innocence. If we are honest, we know that we are desperately evil. We cannot turn back the clock of time and become innocent again. Our only hope is to accept the invitation extended to us by God and cover our guilty "nakedness" with Jesus' robe of righteousness. Will you confess your sins and accept God's invitation and His robe today?


  4. Next week: The Coat of Different Colors.

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