Introduction: In our first lesson of this series we discovered how
sin began in heaven. Next, we learned how the instigator of sin in
heaven, who had been tossed out of heaven, spread the sin problem to
God’s perfect creation on our earth: Adam and Eve. This week we
explore how sin continued its insidious march on earth. Let’s dive
into our Bible study and learn more!

  1. The Sons

    1. Read Genesis 4:1-2. Do you recall what it was like with
      your first born child? I thought that my son was doing
      things no other child in the history of the universe had
      done! What would it be like for the first-born of Adam
      and Eve, since it was literally true that Cain’s actions
      as a baby were unprecedented?

      1. Notice the division of work between the two sons. Why
        do you think they chose these jobs? (Read Genesis
        3:17. Cain is doing exactly what God said he should
        do. Perhaps Abel wanted to be a little different and
        thought his work was more spiritual.)

    2. Read Genesis 4:3-5. Can you understand Cain’s anger? (No
      doubt he thought he was doing the work God commanded. Why
      isn’t the result of that work a worthy sacrifice?)

    3. Read Genesis 4:6-7. What do we learn about whether Cain’s
      anger is justified? (Reading between the lines we learn
      that Cain’s anger is not justified. When God spoke to him
      about doing “what is right,” this reveals that God gave
      him instructions about a proper sacrifice.)

      1. What is the nature of Cain’s failure at this point?
        How would you compare it to the sin of his mother?(It
        was like Eve’s sin in that he apparently disbelieved
        what God had said about proper sacrifices. Cain
        decided that he would follow his own logical
        understanding of what he should be sacrificing, based
        on the circumstances of his job.)

    4. Read Genesis 4:8-12. What kind of penalty does God impose?
      (In Genesis 3:17-19 we learned that one penalty for the
      original sin was that it would be difficult to grow food.
      Cain’s penalty is more severe, the ground will not produce
      any food for him.)

      1. Put yourself in the place of Eve and Adam. Their
        first born murdered their second born, and then the
        first born is sent into exile. They lose both of
        their two sons in one day. What are your thoughts?

      2. What do you think about the penalty God imposed on
        Cain? (Read Genesis 9:5-6. It is premeditated murder,
        and it is unprecedented. Yet, God gives Cain a
        reduced penalty.)

      3. Who do you think inspired Cain to commit murder?

        1. What do you think life would be like if Satan
          had complete control of the world?

  2. Noah

    1. Read Genesis 6:1-4. What is meant by the “sons of God” and
      the “daughters of men” is unclear. What is clear is that
      they produced giants, and God was not happy about this
      with the result that He reduced their life span. Why do
      you think God thought this was a good remedy? (If you had
      people who lived for hundreds of years, and they asserted
      an influence for evil, it would interfere with God’s work
      on earth.)

    2. Read Genesis 6:5-7. Are we a mistake?

      1. God created humans with free choice. Does God regret
        that He gave us choice?

      2. Since we are looking at the history of rebellion and
        redemption in this series of lessons (the great
        controversy between good and evil), who is winning?

        1. If you were Satan, would you complain that God
          changed the rules?

        2. Has God changed the rules? (Read Genesis 2:15-17. Death is the penalty for sin. God has not
          changed the rules. Once people reject God, they
          are subject to this penalty.)

    3. Read Genesis 6:8-13 and Genesis 6:17-21. Let’s see if we
      can understand God’s mind. Does He regret creating humans?
      (No. God wants to continue with the human experiment.
      However, God does not want to continue to sustain evil.)

      1. What does this teach us about living a righteous
        life? Will God favor a righteous person? (Yes!)

      2. Why didn’t God destroy Satan and his fallen angels at
        the same time? Why not remove the leadership for the
        promotion of evil? (My best answer is that the time
        was not right. God had not come to earth to save
        humans and Satan had not shown the full extent of his
        evil design.)

  3. Abraham

    1. Read Genesis 22:1-2. Tell me what is going through your
      mind if you are Abraham?

      1. Read Jeremiah 32:35 and 2 Kings 16:3. Everything is
        wrong with this. God calls child sacrifice in the
        fire “detestable” and says such ideas would not
        “enter My mind.” The sacrifice is to take place on a
        mountain, a traditional place for idol worship. Would
        you believe this message was from God? (Abraham must
        have known the voice of God. Otherwise, this command
        is unbelievable.)

      2. Read Genesis 17:19-21. How would you reconcile God’s
        promise here with God’s instruction to offer Isaac as
        a burnt offering?

      3. We just got through discussing how God favors those
        who follow Him. How do you explain this terrible
        instruction to one of the faithful?

    2. Read Genesis 22:3-5. How long does Abraham wait to follow
      God’s directions?

      1. Notice the last part of verse 5: “We will worship and
        then we will come back to you.” Is Abraham lying so
        the servants will not interfere? If not (and I’m
        assuming not), what is Abraham thinking? (He believes
        God’s promise about the future of Isaac. Somehow God
        will work this out.)

    3. Read Genesis 22:9-12. Why would God do this to Abraham
      (and Isaac)? Why would God record it in the Bible? (If
      this is one of the worst stories you have ever heard,
      God’s point to Abraham and to us is that this is what God
      did on our behalf when He sent His Son, Jesus, to die in
      our place. There was no one to stop the horrible death of

    4. Let’s step back a moment. The Abraham story is incredibly
      emotional (especially for parents who are close to their
      children). At the same time, the story of Noah puts God
      in a less favorable light. What is God’s overall message
      to us from these two stories? (That God loves us beyond
      our imagination. God made an incredible sacrifice for us,
      even though at the time of Noah God said He regretted our
      creation. At the same time, God is a God of judgment. He
      will destroy evil.)

  4. Jacob and Joseph

    1. Both Jacob and Joseph have complex stories that we cannot
      explore in detail here. Each one involved bitter feelings
      between brothers. Jacob and Joseph were “good” guys, but
      they were to differing degrees responsible for their
      brothers’ anger toward them. Let’s explore how this worked
      out for Joseph. Read Genesis 45:1-4. Those who know the
      story tell me how Joseph has “attendants,” Pharaoh’s
      household has an interest in his affairs, and Joseph was
      previously “sold?” (Joseph’s brothers sold him into
      slavery because they hated him (Genesis 37), and through a
      series of events Joseph is now the prime minister of Egypt
      (Genesis 41).)

      1. Are the brothers of Joseph justified in feeling

        1. Is Joseph helping by reminding them that they
          sold him ( Genesis 45:4)?

    2. Read Genesis 45:5-7. What does this teach us about bad
      things happening to good people? (Read Genesis 50:19-20.
      God used the bad things in Joseph’s life to create good.)

      1. If you know the story of Joseph and the Hebrews, you
        know that they were ultimately enslaved by the
        Egyptians (Exodus 1). What relationship, if any, did
        that have to Joseph’s brothers selling him into

    3. Friend, sin has created a terrible situation for humans.
      Our God is active in the fight against sin. He suppresses
      sin without limiting human free choice and He turns the
      tragedies of sin into good. He made an astonishing
      sacrifice to defeat sin and make available to us eternal
      life free from sin. Why not choose right now to give your
      allegiance to God rather than to the one who inspired the
      death of Abel?

  5. Next week: Conflict and Crisis: The Judges.