This week, the adult Sabbath school lesson directs our attention to the human condition. One of the ways great artists, poets, and philosophers have explored the essence of existence lies in considering its absence. The quarterly helpfully does so on the first page: “This week we will consider how the Old Testament defines human nature and the condition of human beings at death.” But tipping us off that we might be in for a less than wide-screen exploration of existential questions, the memory text is Genesis 2:7 and much of the rest of the week confines itself to a doctrinal redux. To be specific, the lesson repeats many of the beats of Seventh-day Adventist fundamental belief number 26, including the intriguing oscillation between different translations (NIV, KJV, NASB, ESV) to make the key connotative points about the creation of Adam. As I still remember scrawling in the margins of my God and Human Life theology class notebook: breath + body = a living soul. From there, the lesson summarizes the implications of the Adventist doctrine of mortalism, or psychopannychism.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/12027