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s the earth came forth from the hand of its Maker, it was exceedingly beautiful. The angelic host viewed the scene with delight, and rejoiced at the wonderful works of God. After creating the earth, the Father and the Son carried out their purpose to make man. As Adam came forth from the hand of His Creator he was a noble being, with a powerful mind, a will in harmony with the will of God, and affections that centered upon heaven. He possessed a body heir to no disease, and a soul bearing the impress of Deity.
He stood before God in the strength of perfect manhood. All the organs and faculties of his being were equally developed and harmoniously balanced. Eve too, was noble, perfect in symmetry, and very beautiful. This sinless pair were clothed with a covering of light and glory, such as the angels wear.
God manifested His great love to Adam and Eve by planting a garden especially for them. In this garden home the Lord placed trees of every variety for usefulness and beauty. There were trees laden with luxuriant fruit designed of God to be food for the holy pair. In the midst of this garden stood the tree of life, the glory of which surpassed all other trees. Its fruit looked like apples of gold and silver, and was to perpetuate immortality.
Adam and Eve were charmed with the beauties of their Eden home. They recognized the order and harmony of creation, which spoke of wisdom and knowledge that were infinite. Some new beauty and additional glory of their Eden home they were continually discovering, which filled their hearts with deeper love and brought from their lips expressions of gratitude and reverence to their Creator.
Our first parents, though created innocent and holy, were not placed beyond the possibility of wrongdoing. God made them free moral agents with full liberty to yield or to withhold obedience. They were to enjoy communion with God and with holy angels, but before they could be rendered eternally secure, their loyalty must be tested. The Lord had seen fit to lay upon them but one prohibition as to the use of all that was in the garden, but if they should disregard His will in this particular, they would incur the guilt of transgression. The tree of knowledge had been made a test of their obedience and their love to God.
The Plot Against Humanity
No longer free to stir up rebellion in heaven, Satan's enmity against God found a new field in plotting the ruin of the human race. He determined to incite them to disobedience, and bring upon them the guilt and penalty of sin. Thus he would not only plunge these innocent beings into the same misery which he was himself enduring, but would cast dishonor upon God, and cause grief in heaven.
The innocent pair were not left without a warning of the danger that threatened them. Heavenly messengers opened to them the history of Satan's fall and his plots for their destruction, unfolding more fully the nature of the divine government, which the prince of evil was trying to overthrow.
Satan was not to follow them with continual temptations; he could have access to them only at the forbidden tree. Should they attempt to investigate its nature. they would be exposed to his wiles. God left them free to obey or disobey. He could have held them back from touching the forbidden fruit, but had He done this, Satan would have been sustained in saying that God's rule was arbitrary. Adam and Eve were left perfectly free.
Satan assumed the form of a serpent (then a beautiful and intelligent creature) and entered Eden. In this guise he took his position in the tree of knowledge and commenced leisurely eating of the fruit.
The angels had cautioned Eve to beware of separating herself from her husband. With him she would be in less danger from temptation than if she were alone, but she unconsciously wandered from his side. She soon found herself gazing with mingled curiosity and admiration upon the forbidden tree, and she questioned with herself why God had withheld it from them. Now was the tempter's opportunity. As if he were able to discern the workings of her mind, he addressed her: "Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?"
To the tempter's ensnaring question she replied: "We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." Gen. 3:2-5.
The serpent plucked the fruit of the forbidden tree and placed it in the hands of the half-reluctant Eve. Perceiving no evil results, Eve "took of the fruit. . . and did eat." it was delightful to the taste, and as she ate, she seemed to feel a vivifying power, and imagined herself entering upon a higher state of existence. Without a fear she plucked and ate. Having herself transgressed, she became the agent of Satan to work the ruin of her husband. Her hands filled with the forbidden fruit, she sought his presence and related all that had occurred.
Sadness and alarm came over the face of Adam. He replied that this must be the foe against whom they had been warned, and by the divine sentence she must die. In answer she urged him to eat, repeating the words of the serpent, that they should not surely die. Adam understood that his companion had transgressed God's command, and disregarded the only prohibition given to test their fidelity and love. There was a terrible struggle in his mind. He had looked upon the glory of the Creator. He understood the high destiny opened to the human race should they remain faithful to God. Yet all these blessings were lost sight of in the fear of losing that one gift which in his eyes out valued every other. Love, gratitude, loyalty to the Creator—all were overborne by love to Eve. He resolved to share her fate; if she must die, he would die with her. After all, he reasoned, might not the words of the wise serpent be true? Eve was before him, as beautiful and apparently as innocent as before this act of disobedience. No sign of death appeared in her, and he decided to brave the consequences. He seized the fruit and quickly ate.
Soon the thought of his sin filled him with terror. The love and peace which had been theirs was gone, and in its place they felt a sense of sin, a dread of the future, a nakedness of soul. Their enveloping robes of light disappeared, and to supply their place they attempted to fashion coverings; for they could not, while unclothed, meet the eye of God and holy angels.
It was not God s will that the sinless pair should know anything of evil. He had freely given them the good, and had withheld the evil. But, contrary to His command, they had eaten of the forbidden tree, and now they would continue to eat of it— they would have the knowledge of evil— all the days of their lives. From that time the race would be afflicted by Satan's temptations. Anxiety and toil were to be their lot. They would be subject to disappointment, grief, and pain, and finally to death.
The warning given to our first parents— "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2: l7)—did not imply that they were to die on the very day when they partook of the forbidden fruit, but on that day the irrevocable sentence would be pronounced. Immortality was promised them on condition of obedience; by transgression they would forfeit eternal life. That very day they would be doomed to death. God is the fountain of life; when one chooses the service of sin, he separates himself from God, and thus cuts himself off from life.
In order to possess an endless existence, man must continue to partake of the tree of life. Satan hoped that they would eat of the tree of life, and thus perpetuate an existence of sin and misery. But after man's fall, holy angels were immediately commissioned to guard the tree of life. "And the Lord God said, . . . lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: . . . So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life." Gen. 3:22, 24. None of the family of Adam were permitted to pass the barrier to partake of the life-giving fruit; hence there is not an immortal sinner.
The sin of our first parents brought guilt and sorrow upon the world, and had it not been for the goodness and mercy of God, would have plunged the race into hopeless despair. Let none deceive themselves. "The wages of sin is death." Rom. 6:23.
Satan exulted in his success.
Love's Hidden Resources
The fall of man filled all heaven with sorrow. The world that God had made was blighted with the curse of sin and inhabited by beings doomed to misery and death.
The Son of God, heaven's glorious Commander, was touched with pity for the fallen race. His heart was moved with infinite compassion as the woes of the lost world rose up before Him. But divine love had conceived a plan whereby man might be redeemed. The broken law of God demanded the life of the sinner. In all the universe there was but one who could, in behalf of man, satisfy its claims. Since the divine law is as sacred as God Himself, only one equal with God could make atonement for its transgression. None but Christ could redeem fallen man from the curse of the law and bring him again into harmony with Heaven. Christ would take upon Himself the guilt and shame of sin—sin so offensive to a holy God that it must separate the Father and His Son. Christ would reach to the depths of misery to rescue the ruined race.
The plan of salvation had been laid before the creation of the earth; for Christ is "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8); "God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16. Oh, the mystery of redemption! The love of God for a world that did not love Him!
Man had become so degraded by sin that it was impossible for him, in himself, to come into harmony with Him whose nature is purity and goodness. But Christ, after having redeemed man from the condemnation of the law, could impart divine power to unite with human effort. Thus by repentance toward God and faith in Christ the fallen children of Adam might once more become "sons of God." I John 3:2.
Not only man but the earth had by sin come under the power of the wicked one, and was to be restored by the plan of redemption. At his creation Adam was placed in dominion over the earth. When man became Satan's captive, the dominion which he held passed to his conqueror. Thus Satan became "the god of this world." 2 Cor. 4:4. But Christ, by His sacrifice paying the penalty of sin, would not only redeem man, but recover the dominion which he had forfeited.
The plan by which alone man's salvation could be secured, involved all heaven in its infinite sacrifice. The angels could not rejoice as Christ opened before them the plan of redemption, for they saw that man's salvation must cost their loved Commander unutterable woe. in grief and wonder they listened to His words as He told them how He must descend from heaven's purity and peace, its joy and glory and immortal life, and come in contact with the degradation of earth, to endure its sorrow, shame, and death. The angels prostrated themselves at the feet of their Commander and offered to become a sacrifice for man. But an angel's life could not pay the debt; only He who created man had power to redeem him. Yet the angels were to have a part to act in the plan of redemption. Christ was to be made "a little lower than the angels." Heb. 2:9. As He should take human nature upon Him, they were to minister to Him, to strengthen and soothe Him under His sufferings. They were also "sent forth to minister for them who should be heirs of salvation." Heb. 1:14. They would guard the subjects of grace from the power of evil angels and from the darkness constantly thrown around them by Satan.
Christ assured the angels that by His death He would ransom many, and would destroy him who had the power of death. He would recover the kingdom which man had lost by transgression. Sin and sinners would be blotted out, nevermore to disturb the peace of heaven or earth. Through His death, fallen man could be reconciled to God. Then joy, inexpressible joy, filled heaven.
Gift of Love"
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Created: 8/1/01 Updated: 1/7/04