Adam & Eve's Fall
Summary of Lesson Activity
The children will read or hear the Bible passage about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, talk with the serpent, and explore the concepts of temptation, choice, and obedience.
Scripture: Genesis 2:4-3:24
Key/Memory Verse: "Since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."
Romans 3:23-24 (NRSV)
After completing this Rotation, participants will be able to:
- Find the story in the book of Genesis;
- Retell the story in their own words. (Note: For older children and youth it is recommended that they learn the entire story. For younger children, it is recommended that they use an abbreviated storybook version. It is important that older students especially take the time to learn the whole story.)";
- State in their own words some of the various conclusions or meanings of the story;
- Identify temptations and wrong choices in their own lives and ways to be obedient to God;
- Know that God has forgiven them even when they do wrong and is our guide to doing right;
- Understand that the punishment and banishment of Adam and Eve was not the "end of the story," but that God promises to bring a new heaven and earth (paradise) and will dwell with his people (Rev 21).
- Chalk or markers
- Chalk or white board, newsprint, or poster board
- Cutting board [Optional]
- Knife [Optional]
- Serpent puppet [It can be a simple tube sock with button eyes and a red felt tongue.]
- Candle and matches [optional]
Advance Preparation Requirements
- Read the Scripture. Note that this is a story for wondering about. This workshop will give the children the whole Bible story, but not necessarily the answers. They will be left with the story to consider all the rest of their lives.
- You may invite another adult to help out and be the serpent. The dialog would then become a three-way conversation between the serpent, the children, and you.
- Depending on the weather and your facility, you may need to plan a temptation other than going out to the playground. Maybe play tag in the gym. Or have relay races up and down the halls. Or go to the nursery to peak at the babies. Or go to the gathering area to get donuts. You get the idea.
- Reading The True Story of the Three Little Pigs will help you develop the serpent's character and tone.
- Precut enough apple pieces for each child to have a slice of an apple or bring a knife and a cutting board and slice it at the appropriate time.
- Learn the memory verse.
- Write the memory verse on chalk or white board, newsprint, or poster board.
- Consider age level adjustments needed each week for the different groups (those included in the lesson plan and your own).
Open with prayer, such as
Gracious God, we are surrounded by serpents and temptations. Thank you for your faithfulness. Help us to make good choices today and everyday. Please show us a way out so that we will not give in to temptation. And thank you for forgiving us when we do make bad choices. Amen.
Say to the children, "Today we will consider a story of two people who disobeyed God. We will read the scripture and then bring the story to our present-day lives."
Help the children use their Bibles.
Remind them that 'Genesis' means 'beginning' and it is the first book in the Bible and includes the story of Creation, Noah's Ark, Abraham, his son Isaac, his grandson Jacob and his great-grandson Joseph. It is in the Old Testament. We restate information about Bible organization to be sensitive to visitors and new children in the class who may not have any knowledge of the Bible. We never want a child to feel like they do not belong because they do not know this information before they come to class.
Read the scripture. Have volunteers read a section at a time; stopping to discuss as noted.
Genesis 2:4 - 3:5.
Stop and discuss: I wonder where man was when this was going on? [Accept all answers in brief discussion and then continue.]
Stop reading and pass out apple pieces to everyone to eat while you discuss.
- I wonder where God was when this was going on?
- Did He know what was happening?
- I wonder why He let this happen?
- Do you think he could have stopped Woman from making this choice?
Explore the story
"Now we are going to explore our Bible story. Today's drama is a journey in our imaginations. Just as God had to be imaginative to create everything, we need to be imaginative to see that this sock with buttons is actually a serpent. "
Script: Talking with the "Serpent"
[Have the children sit in a circle. Put on the serpent puppet. Or invite a helper with the puppet to join the group.]
"Let's take a bit of time to talk with one of the characters from our Bible story. I would like everyone to meet the serpent."
[Introduce him by name to each child if there is time.]
"The serpent would like to have a few words with you."
[The serpent should speak in a high, thin snakey voice -- draw out the 's' and 'f' sounds so the words sound like hisses. Improvise and have fun. The following script is just a suggestion to get you started.]
"Helloooooo. I'm sssssso glad to have thissss chancssse to vissssit with you. Now, I bet you are thinking I'm the bad guy in thissss ssssstory from Genesisssss. Issss that true?" [Listen to responses. Continue in snakey hissy voice.]
"Everyone is always picking on me. What did I do? Did I force Eve to eat the fruit?" [Accept responses.]
"No! I'm just a curious sort of guy. I've always been curious. I bet a lot of you ask a lot of questions, too. I just asked a question. You can read about it in the Bible. Right here in the book of Genesis it says that I asked, 'Did God say, "You shall not eat from any tree in the garden"?'" Open the Bible for me, please, to Genesis 3:1. [The serpent asks for help, since he does not have hands to open the Bible and turn pages.]
"That's all I did, ask a question. And Eve gave me this crazy answer about God telling them not to eat from the tree in the middle of the garden or they would die. Now, really! I ask you, who in his right mind would plant a tree no one could eat from in the very middle of a garden? Can you believe it?"
[Have puppet look around furtively and then whisper.]
"You know, the weather is really terrific today." [or there are donuts in the gathering area - whatever fits your situation] "God won't notice if we sneak out of here for a few minutes."
[Children should hesitate and be tempted but decline. If they give in this quickly, you as teacher will need to intervene -- and spend more time exploring resisting temptation.]
"OK. Eve told me about the fruit they couldn't eat. And all I did was suggest that Eve try the fruit. I told her the truth, that she wouldn't die. (Well, she didn't, did she?)"
"You're not going to believe this, but she actually ate it. Not only that, but she gave some to that guy with her - what was his name? Adam, that's right. She gave some fruit to him, and he ate it, too!"
"You know, there is no line at all on the playground for the swings this time of day. Do you like to swing? I'm just curious."
"Anyway, they ate that fruit. And then they got all upset because they saw they were naked. Grabbed a bunch of leaves and covered themselves up. Hopping all over like a bunch of grasshoppers. Until they heard God coming up the path. Then they jumped into the bushes."
"Hey, we could go outside [into the halls] and play hide and seek just like Adam and Eve did. Do you think Ms ___ [name of DCE or pastor or other person of authority] will find us?"
"Right away God noticed something was different. How does He do that? Although he didn't find them hiding in the bushes right away. He had to call out to ask them where they were. And God asks, 'Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?' How does He do that?"
"You know what those tattletales did, right away. (I hate tattletales. I promise I won't tell if you go out to the playground with me. No one will notice. We'll be back before the bell rings. Would I lie to you?) Anyway, Adam pointed to Eve and Eve pointed to me, the little tattletale. And not only that, but she even accused me of lying to her. Did I tell a lie? No! Go back and read your Bibles if you don't believe me! I never lie!"
"God was mad. Boy oh boy, was He mad. (I'm not boring you, am I? Why don't we just go out to the playground and forget about this Bible story thing. Maybe we can even stop and grab a donut on the way to the playground. You like donuts, don't you? I'm just curious.) So God starts with the cursing. 'Upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat.' Have you ever eaten dust? Donuts are much, much better. (Are you sure we don't have time to go get a donut. God certainly won't mind and neither will your parents. They won't have to feed you as much lunch if you have a donut now.)"
"Part of God's curse was that I would be enemies with woman's offspring. But you aren't my enemies, are you? We should go to the playground. Have you been there lately? I think they did something to the slide to make it faster. Don't you want to go try it out? That would prove what great friends we are and that God is wrong. Enemies, indeed!"
[Teacher should interrupt here before the serpent leads the class out the door.] "Okay, that's enough. Thank you, Mr. Serpent, for visiting us today. I'm sure we have all learned something."
Discuss the story:
"Let's take some time to think about the story. Don't respond right away, but consider the questions. Then, if you want to share your response, raise your hand."
[Allow some time for silent reflection after you read a question; you may want to dim the lights in the room and light a candle to slow things down. Many of these questions have no one right answer; many are personal. Encourage the children to think about the story. As stated in the background notes: "Teach them the story. Let it breathe with questions. Don't smother it with pat answers. There's more here than you can answer."]
- What tempted Eve? [Note: not 'who.']
- What tempts you the most?
- Why do God's children hide from God rather than admit they are wrong?
- How do you hide your sins from God?
- What bad choices, attitudes, and actions in your life do you need to admit?
- What can you start doing to live a more obedient life and stay away from wrongdoing?
- The serpent said that God was lying; that Adam and Eve did not die when they ate the fruit. Is that correct? [help the children remember that although Adam and Eve did not die immediately, they did not live forever]
- Did you notice that there was a death after they ate the fruit? Let’s reread Genesis 3:21. [an animal died to clothe them, to cover their sins. This is a foreshadowing of Jesus dying to cover our sins.]
Consider the memory verse
The serpent showed you how it is hard to always make good choices and withstand temptation. Our memory verse reminds us of that. Let's read it together.
"Since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."
Begin by reading from Paul's letter: 1 Corinthians 10:13. [Read it from the Bible so that the children know it is the word of God and not just your lesson plan.]
I wonder what Paul is telling us in this verse? What might be the way out?
Say: Many of the Psalms were written to be prayers. We are going to read part of Psalm 51 together as our closing prayer.
[Pass out the Bibles.
Show the children how to find Psalms in the middle of the Bible.
Read in unison Psalm 51:1-2, 10-12.]
You will need to decide how best to adjust the lesson for older and younger students. Keep the children active and involved in activity. Do what works for you and the children. Some ideas, in addition to those included in the lesson plan:
Adaptations - Younger Children
- For classes composed primarily of pre-readers, show the children how to find the Genesis passage in the Bible and then have them do it. After everyone has found the passage, have them close their Bibles and listen while you read.
- Read a shorter passage from the Bible: Read Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-13 to the children and then and tell them how the serpent, Eve, and Adam were punished.
- Read the prayer Psalm to them rather than reading it in unison.
Adaptations - Older Children
- Encourage the children to tell the serpent why he is wrong. This is an opportunity to witness and share their faith stories.
- Role-play responses to temptations that they bring up in the reflection discussion time.
Scieszka, Jon. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. New York: Viking Penguin, 1989. (The wolf is the inspiration for the character of the serpent.)
The scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1989, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.
Written by: Amy Crane for rotation.org