Rotation.org Writing Team
Adam & Eve
Passage: Genesis 2:4 through Genesis 3:24
Key/Memory Verses: "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)
“See, I am making all things new.” Rev 21:5
We've often been told this story is mainly about "the origin of sin," when (especially for kids) it is really about the nature of us — our response to God and the expectations and character of God.
God gives us choices, expects obedience, and yes, God knows we will sin. We are tempted by many things. God calls to us to him. We hide, then we blame. God punishes, yes, but here is the good news not often taught in this story: God clothes, and God goes with us into a difficult world. And eventually through Jesus and the rest of the New Testament, God promises a new paradise.
Objectives for Adam and Eve Rotation
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).
What a beautiful, intriguing, and amazing story you are about to teach. The story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden has mesmerized and perplexed people of faith for three millennia. Its images permeate our secular and religious culture: Man and rib, Eden and forbidden fruit, Tree of Life, sexuality and sin, crime and punishment, "The Fall," God's evening walk in the garden, casting blame, being cast out, fig leaves, toil and child bearing.
The first story about people in the Bible asks some of faith's most important questions:
- Who are we?
- Why didn't God make us perfect?
- What happens when we disobey God?
- What does God want?
- Will we ever get back to paradise?
The story is so well-known that you might not be prepared to see some startling new insights, such as:
- They sin, but God waits until the evening to come looking. Why does he wait?
- They hide, but the all-knowing God who knows where they are, still calls their names, giving them a chance to step forward.
- They grab fig leaves; but God makes clothing to cover their shame.
- God throws them out of the garden, but we know from the rest of the Bible that God goes with them!
- And then there is the wonderful testimony of the New Testament... that Adam and Eve's sin has been forgiven, and a new heaven and earth are coming, a new paradise where we are renewed, and God will dwell with us in a personal way (Rev 21).
Is Adam and Eve "history"? No, their story is something much more important and more profound than history. This is the beginning of God's story of redemption, the first chapter in a theme that goes from the first garden, to a garden called Gethsemane, where "the second Adam" sweat blood over obedience, and "became obedient, even to death on a cross." (Phil 2)
Did Adam and Eve really exist? Yes, go look in the mirror. This isn't a story about the first two people and how they were made. This is a story about how YOU are made, and how you act, and what God is going to do about it.
It isn't even a story about the "origin of sin" as some theologians have be-labored. This story is rigged from the start: Everyone who's ever heard it knows the moment God says, "don't touch that tree" — knows we will touch that tree! God knows it too: The moment he plants the tree God knows we will screw up. Thus, the question is not "Where did sin come from," but rather, "How should we respond to our sin?" and "How does God respond to our sin?"
Upon first reading, you might not think that Adam and Eve is a story about redemption. But look again. The same God who knows what they've done still comes to them and calls them by name, saying, "where are you," even though God knows exactly where they are and what they've done. Of course they hid. Of course they cast blame. Of course! And of course God casts them out. Sin and lack of repentance has consequences.
This "flaming sword" ending is where many stop teaching the story of Adam and Eve. But as Christians, we are called to teach the good news. So consider what happens next. They have fig leaves. God makes them clothes out of animal skins. It's a metaphor the Bible often expresses in similar ways.... God clothes us, covers our sin. About a thousand pages later we learn that God clothes us with his righteousness too.
And then God goes with them. God does not abandon. And God eventually sends his Son to them to guide them back. God plants a new tree, and hangs redemption on it. And by the time we get to the last book of the Bible, we are reading about a new paradise where there is no weeping or death, "where behold, I will make all things new." (Rev 21:5).
Every student should know what these images in the story stand for:
- Rib = God makes us companions and helpers for one another
- Garden = God's desire and gifts for our lives
- Tree of Life, Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil = Listen to God or don't listen, Choose what God wants, or decide you can make your own choices.
- Fruit = Choices and Consequences. Right and wrong.
- Serpent = The Temptation to think we know better than God.
- Bushes = We think we can hide from God!
- Evening Breeze = God waits and calls out to us (knowing what we've done)
- Nakedness and Fig Leaves = Shame and Cover up
- Animal skin clothing = God's parting gift to cover our shame.
Questions to ask children
- "What things do people do to disobey God?"
- "What tempts you?"
- "Why do God's children hide from God rather than admit they are wrong?"
- "How do you hide your sins from God?"
- "How will God deal with us if we admit our wrong-doing?"
- "What does God give us to live obedient lives?"
- "What do you do to be a better child of God?"
- "What bad choices, attitudes and actions in your life do you need to admit?
- "How and when do you admit your sins to God?"
- "What can you start doing to live a more obedient life and stay away from wrongdoing?"
- "What can we do for each other as companions to help each other obey God?"
Written by: (Rev.) Neil MacQueen
Themes in this story
Compiled from discussion by the Writing Team
Focus -- on God; on Self
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