Use one or both of these questions to introduce the lesson:
1. Following the 2016 presidential campaign, unsuccessful candidate Hillary Clinton released a book entitled What Happened. Why can examining a personal failure be a helpful exercise?
2. Consider a personal crisis of your own (loss of a job, financial difficulty, etc.). What did you see as the reason for your failure immediately afterwards? How has your analysis changed as time has passed?
Read Genesis 3:1-7.
1. Many problems we encounter begin by not getting our facts straight. Compare the facts in Genesis 2:9, 15-17 to the way those facts were twisted in Genesis 3:1-4. (Pay attention to the “nots” in the serpent’s tale!) Why were these small changes significant?
2. Problems also begin when subjective emotions overrule objective facts. Compare the change in feelings about the fact of nakedness in Genesis 2:22-25 and 3:7.
3. Note that the first result of sin was to institute a cover-up! In your experience, what typically happens to relationships when we try to cover up wrongdoing rather than confessing it?
Read Genesis 3:8-13.
4. It is not uncommon, before committing a consequential sin, to think, “No one will ever know.” Underline the four questions God asked in these verses. Do you think he asked them because he did not know, or for another reason? What was the purpose of the questions?
5. Turn your attention to the responses given to each of God’s questions. How did each of the responses (or lack thereof) avoid taking full responsibility for sin?
Read Genesis 3:14, 15.
6. The serpent is not identified as Satan in this account. Read Romans 16:20 and Revelation 12:9. How do these verses clarify our understanding of Genesis 3?
7. Read Revelation 19:11-16; 20:10. How will the serpent’s head finally be crushed?
8. Holding a Bible, pinch the pages containing Genesis 1–3 between the thumb and forefinger of your left hand. Then hold Genesis 4–Revelation 22 in your right hand. Your left hand holds the account of how human suffering began, and your right hand holds how God acted to fix the problem. Think of this exercise whenever you are tempted to ask, “What happened?” when encountering consequences of sin.