Education in the Garden of Eden
FOURTH QUARTER 2020
SABBATH SCHOOL INSIGHT #1
OCTOBER 3, 2020
“EDUCATION IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN”
“Behold, God is exalted by His power;
Who teaches like Him?” Job 36:22, NKJV
The primary purpose of the Eden school was for Adam and Eve to not only learn about the Creation, nor necessarily merely about the Creator, but to know the Creator for themselves, through their association with Him and the study of the things He had made to teach them of His very Person and character in order that they might become like Him, revealing His glory. The Sabbath was especially designed for this purpose, as humanity was to contemplate and study these things with God Himself committing to meeting with them on this day. They would rest in the knowledge that He was sharing all things with them as a loving Father.
“Love, the basis of creation and of redemption, is the basis of true education.” Ed. p. 16
“After resting upon the seventh day, God sanctified it, or set it apart, as a day of rest for man. Following the example of the Creator, man was to rest upon this sacred day, that as he should look upon the heavens and the earth, he might reflect upon God's great work of creation; and that as he should behold the evidences of God's wisdom and goodness, his heart might be filled with love and reverence for his Maker.
“In Eden, God set up the memorial of His work of creation, in placing His blessing upon the seventh day. The Sabbath was committed to Adam, the father and representative of the whole human family. Its observance was to be an act of grateful acknowledgment, on the part of all who should dwell upon the earth, that God was their Creator and their rightful Sovereign; that they were the work of His hands and the subjects of His authority. Thus, the institution was wholly commemorative, and given to all mankind. There was nothing in it shadowy or of restricted application to any people.
“God saw that a Sabbath was essential for man, even in Paradise. He needed to lay aside his own interests and pursuits for one day of the seven, that he might more fully contemplate the works of God and meditate upon His power and goodness. He needed a Sabbath to remind him more vividly of God and to awaken gratitude because all that he enjoyed and possessed came from the beneficent hand of the Creator.” PP 47, 48.
Satan, of course, hated this close communion that the human race was having with their loving Creator. So, he carried his strategy developed among the angels to the earth, sowing the seed of doubt in the mind of Eve, and then Adam. Before the first lie, “you shall not surely die,” came the first higher criticism. Did God really mean what He said, or was His word conditioned on a precedent context that changed the meaning of what Adam understood God to say? In this, he attacked the credibility of the Eden school Teacher, suggesting there was a greater context in which to judge God Himself. To this day, this incredulity continues in worldly schools of so called “higher learning,” in some form even affecting our own, and bleeding into our churches.
E. J. Waggoner:
"'No Lie Is of the Truth'" The Present Truth 17, 44.
“'He is a very good man, so spiritual and elevating in his influence. You must mind, however, and be on your guard against believing his stories, for his judgment is so poor that he often tells egregious lies, supposing them to be true. He cannot tell the difference between truth and error, and is very credulous; but there is no doubt that he is a sure guide in morals and religion.
“Do you believe anybody could be found so foolish as to talk that way about any man? Would you accept, as tutor to your children, a man, even if he did not tell willful lies, gave utterance to the most ridiculous nonsense about matters which he considered it his special province to explain, in which he professed to know more about than anybody else?
“Of course, you would not; yet that is just what, following the leading of the so-called 'Higher Criticism,’ a great many ministers of the Gospel are telling us now about the Bible. They will pick flaws in almost every Bible narrative, and declare that many of them are utterly impossible and absurd, and that no man of education could think of believing them, and then will hasten to assure us that ‘the fact that it is mistaken in all these things does not impair its value as a religious guide.’ They try to make themselves believe that they are relieving the Bible of some of its ‘difficulties;' but they are, so far as their influence goes, weakening its hold on the people. Their teaching is more pernicious than that of any of avowed infidel. We know that the Bible speaks the truth, because it tells us the truth about ourselves, and therefore we know it to be true when it tells what happened before we were born.” October 31, 1901 EJW, PTUK p.704.
“What is the difference between the true method of study, of education, and the false method of study and of education? The true method is to study all things as the study of God; the false method is to leave God out, not to get to Him at all, or have His laws control. The laws of nature are the habits of God, simply God's usual way of working. This field is as broad as the universe, and to begin to illustrate it, we begin an indefinite study. All this is Bible study. This is the study of the gospel. It is the power that attracts us to Him and keeps us from sin. The result for us of this study is growth. We will desire the sincere milk of the Word that we may grow thereby, and if we are as submissive as nature, we will grow. Every product of creation was pronounced after its kind to be good. God had a certain ideal for trees, grass, plants, man, and that was submission. Perfect submission means perfect being.
“The hearers of the Word are not to be mere echoes. The Gospel plan is that everybody should be original, an original, independent thinker, in the proper sense of the term. No person is to build upon any other person, but upon the one foundation, Jesus Christ; ‘for other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.’ The promise is, ‘They shall be all taught of God.’ True thinking, right thinking, is the product of the Spirit of God in the soul, the expression in words of the experience of the life. This is all the real originality that is possible. True originality is the working of ‘that one and the selfsame Spirit, distributing to every man severally as He will.' Thus, there is no ground for anybody to complain of lack of education, nor any reason for one to ape another, for the Gospel itself provides the highest education for all. There is no teacher like God. ‘The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.’ This wisdom is not on the surface, but is in the life and character. 'A good understanding have all they that do His commandments.’” October 18, 1900 EJW, PTUK p. 663.
Restoring by true education what was lost in Eden culminates in the final call and experience of giving glory to the Creator God as the hour of His judgment arrives, an obvious reference in the first angel’s message to the Sabbath commandment. Notice the relationship to Revelation 13, and the second and third angels’ messages, as well as Revelation 18. False education, willful misunderstanding of God, is what undermines and causes the destruction of Babylon.
A. T. Jones:
“Now, mark the situation. Here was the world's education. The world's education had brought the world to where it did not know God. God comes to reach the world by preaching, which is simply teaching; and He sends out His apostles, those whom He had taught, to teach the world. Now, what did they use in their teaching? What did God employ from which to teach the world, when the world by wisdom had reached the point where it did not know God?—His word, the Bible. Everyone who is sent forth to preach under His commission is charged by the Lord Himself: ‘Preach the Word.’ They are not to diminish aught from it: ‘Preach the Word.’
“Then: preaching is teaching; the world by its wisdom had reached the point where it did not know God; God comes now to teach the world, to give it the true education; and to do this, He takes His word and presents that to the world. And when that is done, it is counted foolishness, by the world. The Spirit of the Lord, when writing of it, recognizes the fact that it was called foolishness: ‘It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.’ It pleased Him to do in that way—by the foolishness of preaching the gospel—by the foolishness of teaching the word of God—what the wisdom of the teaching of the world and of the schools of the world had not been able to do.
“'But unto us which are saved,’ the use of the Bible as the basis of all education—that education which is Christian education—that education which comes from God—he who will receive that as Christianity, to him ‘it is the power of God.’ ‘But unto us which are saved it [the preaching of the cross] is the power of God.’ [Voices: Amen.] Not only is it the power of God; but it is ‘the power of God, and the wisdom of God.’ [Voices: Amen.]
“Thus went forth the gospel, Christian education, in that day when Jesus sent forth His disciples preaching the Word. Presently, there were those who, in their professed Christianity and half-hearted Christian experience, thought that Christian education, Bible teaching—the teaching of the word of God—was too narrow. It was not sufficiently deep, nor sufficiently broad, not sufficiently balanced, to give Christianity the proper standing before the world. To give it its proper place, Christian education must be blended with the world's education.
"Therefore they took the world's philosophy and the world's literature, and made them the real basis of education, and made the Bible and Christian education conform to them. That was the great apostasy, which finally seized upon the power of the Roman government; and of which the result was ‘the beast’ of the book of Revelation. When that result of the abandonment of true Christian education had manifested itself in the world, God again sent a message to the world in the great Reformation. In that again he exalted the Bible as truly educative, as that which has in it Christian education, root and branch. And that made Protestantism. But instead of Protestantism holding fast to that principle, it, too, gradually became cold and half-hearted, adopted the world's wisdom and the world's literature, and imitated the world in its work of education. And so much is this so that, as you know, Protestantism is now making the very image of the beast.” October 10, 1899 ATJ, ARSH p. 647.
Ellen G. White:
THE TREE OF LIFE AND THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE
“'And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. . . . And the Lord commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.’
“It was not the will of God that the sinless pair should know aught of evil. He had freely given them the good and had withheld the evil. But, contrary to his command, they ate of the forbidden tree. The disobedience to God's express command, opened the flood gates of woe upon our world. The tree of knowledge had been made a test of their obedience and their love to God. Satan could have access to them only at the forbidden tree. Should they attempt to investigate its nature, they would be exposed to his wiles. They were admonished to give careful heed to the warning which God had sent them, and to be content with the instructions which He had seen fit to impart.
“Filled with enmity against God, Satan lurked in the forbidden tree, making it the field for carrying out his plan to ruin the human race. Appearing to Eve in the form of a serpent, he addressed the woman, saying: ‘Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, 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. . . . 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.' By partaking of this tree, he declared they would attain to a more exalted sphere of existence and enter a broader field of knowledge. He himself had eaten of the forbidden fruit, and as a result had acquired the power of speech. He insinuated that the Lord jealously desired to withhold it from them, lest they should be exalted to equality with Himself. He said it was because of its wonderful properties for imparting wisdom and power, that He had prohibited them from tasting or even touching it; that God had been seeking to prevent them from reaching a nobler development, and finding greater happiness. Satan claimed to have received great good by eating of the forbidden fruit; but he did not let it appear that by transgression he had become an outcast from heaven. He concealed his own misery, in order to draw others into the same condition.
“Satan is still doing the same work begun in the garden of Eden. He is working vigilantly, that men may accept his assertions as proof against God. He is working against Christ's efforts to restore the moral image of God in man. By every species of deception, he is endeavoring to induce man to eat of the forbidden tree. He thus tempts man to disobedience by leading him to believe that he is entering a wonderful field of knowledge. But this is all a deception. Elated with his ideas of progression, man is setting his feet in the path that leads to degradation and death. Satan, in a deceptive garb, still lurks in the tree of knowledge. The words of God spoken at creation, ‘But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it,’ come sounding along the line of ages to us today: for ‘they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.’ ‘Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve.’ ‘If the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow Him.’
"The garden of Eden was not only Adam's dwelling, but his school-room. As in that school, so in the school of earth today, two trees are planted, - the tree of life, which bears the fruit of the true education; the tree of knowledge, yielding the fruit of ‘science falsely so called.’ All who have a connection with Christ have access to the tree of life, a source of knowledge of which the world is ignorant. After sin entered this world, the heavenly Husbandman transplanted the tree of life to the paradise above; but its branches hang over the wall to the lower world. Through the redemption purchased by the blood of the Son of God, man may now partake of its life-giving fruit. The tree of knowledge has its roots in the earth - it is of the earth, earthy. All who have tasted of the heavenly fruit, the Bread of Life, are to be co-workers with God, pointing others from the tree of knowledge to the tree of life, that they also may partake of its fruits.
“Jesus Christ is to the world as the tree of life to which Adam and Eve had access in the garden of Eden. When, by disobedience, the fallen pair were deprived of the fruit of this tree, thy lost everlasting life. The tree of knowledge became a curse to them, not because of its poisonous qualities, but because of their act of disobedience. It was attractive to them; and in their great desire for it, they partook of it, and lost their purity and their allegiance to God. But Christ presents Himself as the Life-Giver, the tree of life for the world. By feeding upon His flesh, and drinking His blood, our spiritual life is perfected.
“Shall the education given in our schools be after God's order, or after the wisdom of this world which the Lord pronounces foolishness? Shall the hearts of the students become estranged from God by eating of the tree of knowledge, which hardens the heart into disobedience and administers to vanity and pride? Shall not the education given in our schools be of that character which will give a more decided knowledge of God's word, and which will bring the soul into a vital connection with God, keeping God before the mind's eye, and arousing every better feeling of the soul? This is the kind of education which is as enduring as eternity.
“There are many beliefs which the mind has no right to entertain. Adam believed the lie of Satan, the wily insinuations against the character of God. It is well and essential to obtain a knowledge of the world in which we live; but if we leave eternity out of our reckoning, we shall make a failure from which we can never recover. It will be as the knowledge gained by eating of the fruit of the forbidden tree. All the speculative opinions which, through the devising of Satan, have been brought into educational work, are to be separated from the truth. This was the work of the Redeemer in coming into the world. The opinions and speculations of men had become abundant; they occupied the ground with a multitude of theories which made it difficult to distinguish truth from error. In view of the near coming of Him Who is the Truth, now of all other times, we are to know the truth, and the truth is to make us free. Obedience to the commandments of God does not bring the soul into bondage. The sayings of Christ have a value above that of silver or gold.
“All who receive Christ in truth will believe Him. They will see the necessity of having Christ abiding in the heart by faith. They will escape from the control of their hereditary and cultivated tendencies, their pride, vanity, self-esteem, worldliness, and every sin, and will reveal Christ in their lives. If God's word is eaten as the bread of life, they will become thoroughly aroused to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, knowing that it is God that worketh in them, both to will and to do His own good pleasure. Men must co-operate with God. By obedience to His laws, they must reveal the respect they have for His word. They will not then disobey the commandments of God, eating of the forbidden tree of knowledge. They will heed the requirements of God. In this they are eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God, Who is represented by the tree of life.
“Age after age the curiosity of man has led him to seek for the tree of knowledge; and often he thinks he is plucking fruit most essential, when, like Solomon, he finds it altogether vanity and nothingness, in comparison with that science of true holiness which will open to him the gates of the city of God. Human ambition has been seeking for that kind of knowledge that will bring self-exaltation and glory and supremacy. Thus Adam and Eve were worked upon by Satan, until God's restraint was snapped asunder, and their education under the teacher of lies began in order that they might have the knowledge that God had refused them, - to know the consequences of transgression. The sons of men have had a practical knowledge of evil; but Christ came to the world to show them that He had planted for them the tree of life, the leaves of which are for the healing of the nations.
“Satan is playing the game of life for every soul that is upon the earth. All who will study and obey the directions of God, will have the mind of Christ. Then all passions, all dissensions, will be put away. There will be a cultivation of the higher faculties of the mind. It is essential that we gain a knowledge of God, and of Jesus Christ Whom He has sent. False religion and erroneous educational ideas and sentiments are prevalent. Because there is so little study of the word, there is with many scarcely any desire to know what saith the Lord. Errors have come in and usurped the place of truth. The wild branch has been grafted in and has borne wild grapes. The result has been centuries of darkness and error. Men have introduced human theories, thinking as did our first parents when tempted by Satan to eat of the tree of knowledge, that they would thus become as gods. But these sentiments are not in harmony with the Word. They are false and ruinous theories. The one, the word of God, is the tree of life; the other is the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge, and all who pluck and eat of this possess a disorderly imagination. . . .
“We cannot, in this day of peril, accept teachers because they have been in school two, three, four, or five years. The question which should decide whether they are qualified for their work should be, Have they, with all their acquisition of knowledge, searched the Bible and dug beneath the surface for truth as for hidden treasures? or Have they seized the chaff in the place of the pure wheat, thoroughly winnowed? Are they partakers of the fruit of the tree of life? We cannot consent, at this period of time, to expose our youth to the consequences of learning a mixture of truth with error. The youth who come from school without feeling the importance of making the word of God the first study, the main study, above every science in educational lines, are not qualified in these days of peril to enter upon the work of the teacher. . . .
"The question of how to obtain a knowledge of God is to all a life and death question. Read Christ's prayer to His Father, intended not merely as an important lesson in education for the disciples, but to come down through all time for the benefit of those who should read the inspired writings. ‘Father,’ He prayed, ‘the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee; as Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him. And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou hast sent.’
“Christ promised his disciples that He would send them the Holy Spirit, Who would bring all these things to their remembrance. All those who render obedience to God's commands will be given free access to Eden restored and to the tree of life. He who is the fountain of all knowledge has stated the condition of our fitness to enter the heaven of bliss, in the words, ‘Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.’” E. G. WHITE. March 6, 1899 N/A, GCDB p. 158,159.