Relevant Verses: Gen. 3; Rom. 5:12
Leading Question: “How does the Bible explain the entrance of rebellion and death into a perfect world?”
Question: The title of our lesson talks about death in a sinful world. Is that an easier question to address than the one that asks about death in a perfect world? Are both of them mysteries or only one?
The official study guide points out that God’s warning to the first couple indicates the existence of free will (why warn if there was no danger of falling?), a theme that is important to Adventists. But the caution from Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart is worth noting:
Fee, Gordon and Douglas Stuart on Calvinists and Arminians from How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth (Zondervan, 2003), 74
For many in the Arminian tradition, who emphasize the believer’s free will and responsibility, texts like Romans 8:30; 9:18-24; Galatians 1:15; and Ephesians 1:4-5 are something of an embarrassment. Likewise many Calvinists have their own ways of getting around 1 Corinthians 10:1-13; 2 Peter 2:20-22; and Hebrews 6:4-6. Indeed our experience as teachers is that students from these traditions seldom ask what these texts mean; they want to know “how to get around” these texts!
To be blunt, the tension between the two traditions cannot be tidily resolved. Somehow, both perspectives are needed for balance in the church.
Question: The official study guide claims that some things we are better off not knowing. Our questions are: Which, when, and how? Are we not better off questioning virtually everything?
Question: In the light of Genesis 3:1-7, are there iron-clad rules than can keep us from slipping into sin?
Question: How does one get a messianic prophecy out of Genesis 3:15? Two points should be made about this passage. First, we have no evidence before the close of the canon that this verse was applied to a messianic figure. All the speculation and application was after the resurrection. Second, the evidence is also clear that no one believed Jesus was God incarnate until after the resurrection. So we should be cautious about making early application.