Welcome to 1888 Message Study Committee!
Sabbath School Insights
2016 Quarter 1: Jan-Mar
Insight #2 January 9, 2016
First Quarter 2016 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
“The Crisis in Eden”
For the week of January 9, 2016
Last week we considered three lies which the devil, speaking through a serpent, enticed Eve. The three lies were all transgressions of God’s law. We need to remember that the law of God existed before Adam and Eve were created. Angels were governed by it. Lucifer fell because he transgressed the principles of God’s government. After creating Adam and Eve, God revealed to them His law of righteousness. It was not in written form, but was revealed to them by their Creator. The three lies were those which Lucifer was self-enticed by and with which he deceived a third of the angels. Likewise, these worked for the fall of Adam and Eve. And they are with us to this very day. They will be with the human until the close of probation. These three are:
- You do not have to obey God
- You will never die
- You will be like God
Before we discuss the Crisis in Eden let’s briefly consider creation and the Creator. Christ was the active agent in creation (John 1:1-3). He created the world and all that is in it by the power of His word. He spoke and what He said became what He said (Psalm 33:9). In seven days He created a perfect world and everything in it. Everything was very good because of the Creator. All things were perfect. The crowning act of creation on earth was the creation of mankind.
God did not create Adam as He had did with all other things animate and inanimate. He formed man from clay, the dirt, the dust of earth. Like the potter molding a vessel, Christ shaped man in His own image physically, mentally and spiritually. Man was created with individuality with the ability to think and do. With this came a moral conscience to distinguish good from evil.
God’s law is His standard of morality. Because God created us, He is entitled to have laws to govern us. His laws whether physical, mental or spiritual are for our benefit. Created with freedom to choose, man was made responsible and accountable for his actions. God presented His law to Adam in the following words as recorded in Genesis 2:16–17:
16And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Man may eat freely of every tree, with one small exception. There was one tree, only, among the multitude of trees restricted by God for food. This prohibition was because of the crisis which started began in heaven. The prohibition was a test of faith in God’s word.
After expelling Lucifer and his followers for heaven, they came to earth and here the great controversy between God and Satan, between good and evil was to be played out. The universe was on tiptoe watching the drama as it unfolded in the theatre of earth. “We have been made a spectacle [literally: “theatre”] to the world, both to angels and to men” (1 Corinthians 4:9).
A.T. Jones noted the expression with which Satan opened the conversation with Eve. He wrote,
It is an expression which insinuates into her mind a whole world of suspicion. The common version translates it, “Yea, hath God said,” etc. The Revised Version gives it the same. The Jews' English version translates it, “Hath God indeed said,” etc. But no translation can give it exactly. It can not be exactly expressed in letters so as to form a word that would give it truly. Yet everybody in the world is familiar with the expression. It is that sneering grunt (expressed only through the nose) -- c-ugh! -- which conveys query, doubt, suspicion, and contempt, all at once. “C-ugh! hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” And everybody knows that to this day among men there is nothing equal to this sneering grunt, to create doubt and suspicion; and no other expression is used so much by mankind for that purpose. And this is the origin of it. Ecclesiastical Empire, pp. 590-591.
Satan was directly attacking the law of God and indirectly God Himself in these temptations. The law is a transcript of God’s righteous character. His law is the law of righteousness (Psalms 119:172). Sin is the coming short of God’s righteousness. To come short of His righteousness is to transgress the law, which is sin.
Eve was led to disbelieve God through the evidence of her senses instead of believing God. She saw that the fruit looked good to eat. She smelled its wonderful aroma. She tasted the forbidden fruit and sinned. She chose look; she chose smell the forbidden fruit; she chose to eat it; she chose to sin. Then she led Adam into sin. He chose to die with her rather than to be separated from her. Romans the first chapter tells us “that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:21-22).
Eve was the first inhabitant of this world who responded to the suggestion of selfishness, at the suggestion of Satan which is the suggestion of self. She was the first to reach out after wisdom this way. What did she get? Nothing but foolishness. She became a fool. And this is where we all are today. It is Satan who leads the natural mind. When those go away from God, as did Adam and Eve, they became fools who change “the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things.”
This is the reason Adam and Eve could not answer God’s straight question straight – “Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” (Genesis 3:11). Satan took them under his dominion and there was no other power to control them. His control was absolute and they could not obey God. They could only make excuses by blaming others. But, thankfully, God did not leave them in that condition. Nor has he left the race there. He turned to the devil, masquerading as a serpent, and declared, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15).
I want to call attention to a false translation of Genesis 3:15. It is Jerome’s Latin Translation. It reads as follows: “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.” [Bold emphasis supplied] This Old Testament in the Douay-Rheims Bible was translated from the Latin Vulgate, and first published by the English College at Douay, France in a.d.1609. The purpose of this translation, in both text and notes, was to uphold tradition in the face of the Protestant Reformation, especially in England. It was an effort to support the Counter-Reformation. The woman who supposedly crushes the head of the devil is a pretended Mary. Statutes depict this false doctrine. These statutes present Mary as standing on the serpent’s head.
However, the correct translation remains and is: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”
This is the first gospel promise of Christ crucified and it is not at all about Mary as has been interpreted and depicted in Papal dogma.
There are two enmities in the world: one is Satan’s enmity against God; the other is from God and His is enmity against Satan. Through these two enmities came two mysteries, one is the mystery of God; the other the mystery of iniquity. The mystery of iniquity involves the unanswerable question: How could perfectly created beings such as Lucifer, the angels that fell with him, Adam and Eve, become evil? There is no reason for this. To find a reason for it is to excuse sin. There is a greater mystery. It is this: how can fallen sinful human beings who have deface God’s image in them, be made again into His image? We can only answer thus – it is because of Christ. He was made to be sin itself for us, in order that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).
In concluding this study here is a quote from A. T. Jones who presented this thought at the General Conference in 1895:
This enmity against Satan is the righteousness of God, of course. In this saying, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman,” God broke the bond of Satan over the will of man, set man once more free to choose which authority he would follow, which king and which world he will have. In this word God broke the absolute dominion of Satan and set the man free to choose which world he will have. And since that time the man who will choose God's way and yield his will to the control of God can answer a straight question unto the Lord, so that when the Lord comes and asks, Did you do so and so? He can answer, Yes, without bringing anybody else into it at all. This is confession of sin. And thus came the ability to confess sin and reveals the blessed truth that the power to confess sin--repentance--is the gift of God. (General Conference Bulletin, February 17, 1895, p. 192).