Introduction: Have you ever stopped to consider the “big question” of
the world of good and evil? If God exists, why does sin exist? Is
there a supernatural conflict between the forces of good and evil?
How did evil arise? Are we players in that conflict? If God is in
charge, why are we even allowed to sin? Let’s dive into our study and
see what the Bible has to say about these topics!

  1. God’s Image

    1. Read Genesis 1:26. Our text brings us to the last part of
      the Creation week. It reports God speaking. To whom is God
      talking? What does God mean when He says, “Let us make
      man…?” (This shows that the creation of man was a matter
      of discussion, therefore planning, in heaven. The
      reference to “us” is an early indication of the Trinity
      (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Compare John 1:1-4.)

      1. When God says in Genesis 1:26 that He is making
        people in “His image, in our likeness,” what do you
        think this means?

        1. Why would God say “image” and then say
          “likeness?” Is He just repeating for emphasis?
          Or, does God mean two different things?

        2. Read Colossians 1:15-16. What does this
          reference to Jesus suggest is meant by “image?”

          1. Note the logical problem of being in the
            “image” of someone who is “invisible.”
            Doesn’t this limit our options in defining

        3. Read Hebrews 1:3. What does this suggest is
          meant in Genesis 1:26? (These texts in
          Colossians and Hebrews suggest that the primary
          meaning of Genesis 1:26 is not actual
          appearance. Jesus was not a glorious, radiant
          being while here on earth. And, it is difficult
          to be in the image of someone who is invisible.
          Instead, Genesis seems to say that we reflect
          God in our thinking. We are more like God than,
          say, the animals.)

    2. Read Isaiah 55:8. If we reflect God in our thinking, how
      do we explain this statement by God?

    3. Read Genesis 8:21. How can we claim we reflect God in our
      thinking when God makes statements like this?

    4. Let’s get back to our story by reading Genesis 1:27-28.
      What does this suggest about how humans are like God?
      (This gets us to the heart of our likeness. Even though
      our thoughts are below those of God, even though our
      inclination is evil ( Genesis 8:21), nevertheless, God has
      given us a “ruler” role on this earth. We get to make
      decisions about what happens around us.)

    5. Read Genesis 2:8-9 and Genesis 2:15-17. What is a critical
      part of the “ruler role” of humans? (Free choice. That
      role as ruler is centered on our ability to decide how we
      “rule” our life.)

      1. Notice that humans were not allowed to eat of the
        tree of “the knowledge of good and evil.” Assume you
        are Adam or Eve, and you are sitting on a hill in the
        garden from which you can see this tree of the
        knowledge and good and evil. You put on your
        philosopher’s hats and ask yourselves the question:
        “How much free choice do we have if we do not even
        have knowledge of some of our choices?” How would you
        answer that question? (If I were Adam, the simple
        answer would be, “I’m dead if I eat. If I’m dead, how
        much choice will I have then? I’m not eating.)

        1. Do you think Adam and Eve had a discussion like

  2. God’s Image Under Fire

    1. Read Genesis 3:1. Is this a memory test? What kind of
      choice is Eve asked to make here?

    2. Read Genesis 3:2-3. Why was it in Satan’s best interest to
      have Eve recite God’s command? Can you imagine being late
      to an appointment, asking the driver to exceed the speed
      limit to get there on time, and at the same time say to
      the driver, “You know fines are doubled in this area – the
      fine is twenty dollars for each mile you go over the speed
      limit?” (I suspect Satan did not want any argument about
      whether Eve understood the nature of her actions.)

    3. Read Genesis 3:4. How is being made in the image of God
      under the most extreme test right now? (The rulership of
      humans, their free choice, is now being put to the test.
      Will these rulers remain loyal to God? Will they honor the
      trust God has given them? The test gets back to my
      imagined discussion between Adam and Eve about the tree.
      The most practical basis to avoid eating is that you will
      die. Satan specifically attacks God’s statement on that
      issue. The question become one of trust – does Eve trust

      1. What other issue is involved for Eve? (Does Eve
        desire to “become like God?”)

    4. Read John 15:9-11. Did the test end with Eve? (No.)

      1. How are you employing your ruler role? How is free-will working out in your life? Does your life reveal
        that you trust God?

  3. Satan

    1. In Genesis we see that the “serpent” encourages Eve to
      disbelieve God. In John 15 we find Jesus encouraging us to
      obey God. From where did the serpent, Satan, come? What is
      the source of this desire to do evil – in the face of
      God’s instruction to do right?

    2. Read Revelation 12:7-9. What is the goal of “that ancient
      serpent, called the devil, or Satan?” (To fight God by
      leading us astray.)

    3. Read Revelation 12:10. What other activity does Satan
      engage in that involves us? (No only does Satan attempt to
      lead us into sin, but he then he goes to God and accuses
      us of betraying God!)

    4. The Bible gives us some hints at how it came to be that
      Satan, a heavenly being, ended up fighting against God and
      being hurled to earth. Read Isaiah 14:12-14. What caused
      Satan’s break with God? (Pride. A desire to be like God.)

      1. Consider again Satan’s statement to Eve in Genesis
        3:5. Why is this a strong temptation? (It was Satan’s

    5. How many supernatural allies work with Satan? (Read
      Revelation 12:4. The Bible does not give us a detailed
      account about Satan. However, the picture that emerges
      from these texts is that Satan was an exalted angel in
      heaven who entered into sin because he wanted to be like
      God. In his rebellion, he convinced one-third of the
      angelic host to follow him. War resulted in heaven and
      Satan and his angels were thrown to earth. Satan then
      began his project of persuading humans to be disloyal to

      1. Given this background, why would Satan want to
        “accuse” us ( Revelation 12:10) before God? How does
        this make any sense? (If Satan were involved in a
        continuing war with God that he could win, this would
        make no sense. Satan would brag about his increasing
        number of “soldiers.” However, if the war has been
        lost (a major subject of our new series of lessons),
        then Satan is reduced to adding more victims. Since
        God is the Victor, Satan’s “best” is to try to
        embarrass God by accusing us of being disloyal to

  4. The Future

    1. Summarize what we have learned about the nature of the
      conflict between good and evil and our role in it? (In
      heaven, one of the most exalted angels made the decision
      to become like God. This rebellious plan spread to other
      angels until God had a full-blown rebellion on His hands.
      War began in heaven, and this exalted angel, together with
      a third of the rest of the angels, were defeated and
      exiled to earth. In the meantime, God created humans in
      His image – meaning that God gave them free choice and
      authority over the earth. The exalted angel, known as
      Satan, the “serpent” or the “dragon,” embarked on a
      mission to spread the rebellion to humans. This succeeded
      when Eve and Adam disbelieved, distrusted and disobeyed
      God by eating the forbidden fruit so they would become
      like God. Thus, the conflict, the rebellion, spread to

    2. Read Genesis 3:8-9. Was God asking about geographic
      location or spiritual location?

    3. Friend, where are you? In the conflict between good and
      evil, God wants to know where you stand. Why not give Him
      a positive answer today?

  5. Next week: His Glorious Purpose Foreshadowed in Types.