God's Eternal Plan - Lesson 1
Background for the Teacher
- The student can explain from Ephesians 1:3-10 that before the world began theTrinity had a plan which could reconcile humans with God if they departed fromHim by sin.
- The student can give some reasons to believe the Bible story of creation.
- The student can draw and explain the first two pictures in the ten steps through the Bible, state what they mean, and list one or two Bible verses teaching that point.
- Each student needs access to a Bible.
- Each student needs a blank piece of paper and a pen or pencil.
- The teacher needs access to a board on which to draw the pictures, write the meaning, and list the verses.
- Have the worksheets ready for this lesson. This sheet and the worksheet and written review for all future lessons will be at the end of each lesson outline.
Paul mentions a mystery that unfolded by his time. We begin in this lesson to study thirteen steps in the development of that mystery as we study the creation of all things.
Lesson Plan for Conducting the Class
Introduction: (8 minutes)
- If you and the class are not well acquainted, spend a little time getting to know each other. If the group is small, let each person introduce himself/herself by name and a with little information. The teacher can do the same.
- Introduce any guests in the class.
- Have a prayer to ask God's blessings on this study.
- Ask how many like to read mystery stories or watch them in the movies or on TV. Tell the class that this study is about God's mystery. Have someone read Ephesians 1:9. Talk about that for a few minutes. Then have the person read verse 4. Q: When did this mystery begin? A: Before the world began. And it unfolds step by step through the Bible. That is what this study will be about.
Learning Experiences: (30 minutes)
- Have someone read Genesis 1:26. Q: What do you notice is going on between whom? A: The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are having a conversation about creation. In particular they say they will make "man" meaning human beings, in their likeness. Q: In what way does this action separate humans from animals? A: Humans can think, reason, and decide for themselves.
- Now have three different people stand before the class and read the conversation presented below. Giving them advance notice and a copy so they can practice would be best.
- Introduction: Forever back in time were the three persons of the Trinity-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We don't know what they did back then, but we do know that at some point in time they decided to create something. Let's guess that the conversation went something like this: Father: Let's make something. Son: Yes, we could do that. Holy Spirit: What shall we make. Father: Let's create stars and planets and galaxies. Son: Yes, and on one of the planets we could create life-with seas and dry land filled with animals and birds and fish. Father: And "let us make man in our image and after our likeness"(Genesis 1:27). Holy Spirit: You mean that these creatures could think and reason. Father: Yes and they can make choices. And we can feel especially close to these beings because they will have some of the same qualities we do. Son: But what if they make bad choices and do things that hurt others. Holy Spirit: That would be called sin. Son: But if they do these sins, that would separate them from us because we could not have fellowship with sinners. Father: Yes, we would still love them, but we could not have a close relationship with them. Holy Spirit: If they sinned, would that mean they would be separated from us forever? Our justice would require that their sins be punished. Father: They could not bring themselves back to us, but if someone could live a perfect life and be punished for sins he did not commit, then that punishment could count for the punishment the sinners deserved. Holy Spirit: But where would we find a person who could live a perfect life. Once people start sinning, it would be very unlikely that anyone in that setting could live a perfect life. Son: I know. I could go to earth and live like one of them, be tempted like they are, and resist sinning. Then I could be punished for sins I did not do and my punishment could be substituted for theirs. Father: Yes. That could work. So, we are agreed. We will make human beings and if they sin, we will work through this process to bring them back to us.Son and Holy Spirit: Yes, Father. We are agreed on this plan.
- We know from Genesis 1:26 that the Trinity did talk about creation and much of what is in this conversation is revealed along the way but we don't know, of course, exactly what they said.
- Have someone read Ephesians 1:3_10. Q: Does this mean that God picked out individuals to be saved and/or lost before they were even born? A: No, He did not pick out individuals to be saved and the rest to be lost. Read 1Timothy 2:3.Q: How many does the Lord want to be saved? A: All men. So He developed a plan so those who chose to participate could share in this plan of salvation which He would develop over time.
- Have someone read Genesis 1:1_2. Q: What members of the Trinity are mentioned as being part of creation? A: Father and Holy Spirit. Read John 1:1.Q: What does this add? A: That the Word (Jesus) also had a part. We don't know exactly what each did, but they all had a part. The Father seems to have been the planner, the Word (Son) the one who carried it out, and the Spirit on who also had a part in brooding over the waters.
- Q: Still in Genesis 1:2_23, what is made by the end of the fifth day? A: Dry land and seas, light and sky, sun, moon, and stars, and fish and fowl. Q: What is made on the sixth day? A: Animals and humans-man and woman in God's likeness.
- Is this just a poetic story or did these events happen as described? Here are some thoughts to help us answer that question.
- Read Matthew 19:4_6 and 1 Timothy 2:13. Q: Do Bible writers appear to believe that Adam and Eve were real people? A: Yes they speak of them that way mentioning things they did that had lasting effects on their offspring. But what about non_biblical reasons for believing in creation?
- Q. What are the steps in the scientific method? A: Hypothesis; testing by performing something observable; if the testing appears to confirm the hypothesis, then repeating the testing with further observations. Q: Can we use the scientific method about creation? A: No. We might pose a hypothesis but no one has been able to demonstrate creating something from nothing. No one has been able to show how life came about. So we cannot apply the scientific method to the question of creation. And as we learn more and more about life and its complexity, even the vast information stored in each cell, it is becoming more and more apparent that the concept of life forming by chance with no intelligence behind it is becoming a less appealing hypothesis.
- Our approach to studying the moment of beginning is best done by reasoning back to the most likely conclusion. So we ask questions like this: "Which is more likely, that the vast universe with processes of gravity, seasons, exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between animals and plants, processes of reproduction, and even the complexity of each cell came about when nothing became something with no intelligence behind it OR when a powerful, intelligent being acted to create the universe, life, and people?"
- Q: Does anyone know about Anton Flew? A: Teacher at Oxford who debated people all over the world defending atheism. In 2004, he said he could no longer be an atheist because the complexity of life required intelligent design. (See more on the internet about Anton Flew.)
- Q: Does the fossil record support the concept of evolutionary development of life? A: No. Of millions of fossils found embedded in rocks, none has shown any intermediate forms of one species becoming another as evolution claims. Remember that evolution requires not just variations within a species, which does happen, but the development of one species of life into another. No fossils of such changes have been found among billions of fossils. In addition, in the Cambrian period, a great many animal life forms appear with no evidence of preliminary forms from which they developed. While many evolutionists still claim that the fossil record supports evolution, the opposite actually is true. No true half ape_half human fossils have been found.
- So there are excellent reasons to believe the Bible account of creation that"in the beginning God created." Either a powerful, intelligent being created, or nothing suddenly became something with all the complexities of life. Even one life cell contains more information than an entire set of the Encyclopedia Brittanica. Seem likely that such suddenly sprang from nothing?
- Summary: Three key points about creation. (1) God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit worked as a team to design and produce all that exists. (2) God made human beings and placed them over all creation and gave them the power to choose. (3) Before creating human beings, God had in mind a plan to restore them to fellowship with Him if, by sinning, they chose to depart from Him.
In our study we will use a series of ten simple drawings to trace the mystery we are studying. Learn to draw each picture, learn a statement to tell what it means,and be able to list one or two passages of scripture which support the truth of the statement.
God and humans are in fellowship. Genesis 3:8 says that God walked in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. They were together and humans were happy. So, the "G" for God and the happy face for humans.
God made humans with the power of choice. Genesis 2:17-"you are not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." This concept is represented by a human face with a question mark. Humans are asking, "What shall I do?"
Application and Assignment:
- Christians need to be able to support with good reasons why they believe theBible's story of creation. Study your worksheet to get the reasons given in this lesson clearly in your mind. This will prepare you for the written review that will be given at the first of the next class period.
- Practice drawing the two pictures and beside them writing the accompanying statement and remembering where in the Bible this statement is supported. By the end of this class, you will be able to do this with the ten pictures and then can use this method to teach someone how to become a Christian.
- Next class period we will ask you to draw the pictures, write the statements and list the verses and answer a few questions about what we have studied in Lesson 1.
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