1. LIFE IN EDEN
a. What was the condition of man before the Fall? Genesis 1:27.
“Before the entrance of sin not a cloud rested upon the minds of our first parents to obscure their perception of the character of God. They were perfectly conformed to the will of God. For a covering a beautiful light, the light of God, surrounded them. This clear and perfect light illuminated everything which they approached.”—Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 255.
b. How did nature reveal God to man? Genesis 1:31; Romans 1:20.
“In the Garden of Eden the existence of God was demonstrated, His attributes were revealed, in the objects of nature that surrounded [Adam and Eve]. Everything upon which their eyes rested spoke to them. The invisible things of God, ‘even His everlasting power and divinity,’ were clearly seen, being understood by the things that were made.”—Ibid.
2. SIN BRINGS CHANGES
a. What effect did sin have upon the natural world? Genesis 3:17–19. How did this affect man’s understanding of God’s character?
“Transgression brought a blight upon the earth and intervened between nature and nature’s God. Had Adam and Eve never disobeyed their Creator, had they remained in the path of perfect rectitude, they would have continued to learn of God through His works. But when they listened to the tempter and sinned against God, the light of the garments of heavenly innocence departed from them. Deprived of the heavenly light, they could no longer discern the character of God in the works of His hand.
“And through man’s disobedience a change was wrought in nature itself. Marred by the curse of sin, nature can bear but an imperfect testimony regarding the Creator. It cannot reveal His character in its perfection.”—Testimonies, vol. 8, pp. 255, 256.
b. What change took place in man’s nature? Jeremiah 17:9; 1 Corinthians 2:14.
“Their nature had become depraved by sin; they had lessened their strength to resist evil and had opened the way for Satan to gain more ready access to them. In their innocence they had yielded to temptation; and now, in a state of conscious guilt, they would have less power to maintain their integrity.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 61.
“There is in human nature, when separated from the Source of truth, a continual opposition to God’s will and ways. The physical, mental, and moral being are all under the control of rash impulses. The affections are depraved, and every faculty intrusted to man for wise improvement is demoralized. The man is dead in trespasses and sins. Inclination moves, passion holds the control, and his appetites are under the sway of a power of which he is not aware. He talks of liberty, of freedom of action, while he is in most abject slavery. He is not his own. He is not allowed to see the beauty of the truth; for the carnal mind is enmity against God, and not subject to His law. He views truth as falsehood, and falsehood as truth. The mind controlled by Satan is weak in moral power.”—The Review and Herald, February 17, 1891.
3. GOD STEPS IN
a. What provision of God ensured final deliverance to the guilty pair? Genesis 3:15.
“To man the first intimation of redemption was communicated in the sentence pronounced upon Satan in the garden. The Lord declared, [Genesis 3:15, quoted]. This sentence, uttered in the hearing of our first parents, was to them a promise. While it foretold war between man and Satan, it declared that the power of the great adversary would finally be broken. Adam and Eve stood as criminals before the righteous Judge, awaiting the sentence which transgression had incurred; but before they heard of the life of toil and sorrow which must be their portion, or of the decree that they must return to dust, they listened to words that could not fail to give them hope. Though they must suffer from the power of their mighty foe, they could look forward to final victory.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 65, 66.
“The Son of God was offering to atone with His own lifeblood for their transgression. To them was to be granted a period of probation, during which, through faith in the power of Christ to save, they might become once more the children of God.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 682.
“Never was the enmity developed to such a marked degree as when Christ became an inhabitant of this earth. Never before had there been a being upon the earth who hated sin with so perfect a hatred as did Christ. He had seen its deceiving, infatuating power upon the holy angels, and all His powers were enlisted against it.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 254.
b. What condition of the natural man after the Fall made the promise of enmity necessary? Psalm 10:4; Romans 3:11. Instead of enmity against Satan, who is the natural mind at war with? Romans 8:7.
“When man transgressed the divine law, his nature became evil, and he was in harmony, and not at variance, with Satan. There exists naturally no enmity between sinful man and the originator of sin. Both became evil through apostasy. . . . Had not God specially interposed, Satan and man would have entered into an alliance against Heaven; and instead of cherishing enmity against Satan, the whole human family would have been united in opposition to God.”—The Great Controversy, p. 505.
4. A DELIVERER TO COME
a. What amazing sacrifice did Jesus make to rescue fallen man? Philippians 2:5–8.
“As soon as there was sin, there was a Saviour. Christ knew that He would have to suffer, yet He became man’s substitute. As soon as Adam sinned, the Son of God presented Himself as surety for the human race, with just as much power to avert the doom pronounced upon the guilty as when He died upon the cross of Calvary.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 1, p. 1084.
“The instant man accepted the temptations of Satan, and did the very things God had said he should not do, Christ, the Son of God, stood between the living and the dead, saying, ‘Let the punishment fall on Me. I will stand in man’s place. He shall have another chance.’”—Ibid., p. 1085.
b. How did God seek to impress upon the minds of mankind the consequences of sin and the provision of a Saviour? Hebrews 9:13, 14; Romans 6:23.
“To Adam, the offering of the first sacrifice was a most painful ceremony. His hand must be raised to take life, which only God could give. It was the first time he had ever witnessed death, and he knew that had he been obedient to God, there would have been no death of man or beast. As he slew the innocent victim, he trembled at the thought that his sin must shed the blood of the spotless Lamb of God. This scene gave him a deeper and more vivid sense of the greatness of his transgression, which nothing but the death of God’s dear Son could expiate. And he marveled at the infinite goodness that would give such a ransom to save the guilty. A star of hope illumined the dark and terrible future and relieved it of its utter desolation.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 68.
“The system of sacrifices was to teach man humility, in view of his fallen condition, and lead him to repentance and to trust in God alone, through the promised Redeemer, for pardon for past transgression of His law.”—The Story of Redemption, pp. 145, 146.
c. Name some of those who prophesied of the Saviour to come. Jude 14, 15; Genesis 49:8–10; Numbers 24:17.
5. A DELAY IN FULFILLMENT?
a. What could have been the thought of many regarding the promised Deliverer? Ezekiel 12:22.
“The Saviour’s coming was foretold in Eden. When Adam and Eve first heard the promise, they looked for its speedy fulfillment. They joyfully welcomed their first-born son, hoping that he might be the Deliverer. But the fulfillment of the promise tarried. Those who first received it died without the sight. From the days of Enoch the promise was repeated through patriarchs and prophets, keeping alive the hope of His appearing, and yet He came not.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 31.
b. What was God’s response? Galatians 4:4. Was there really a delay in the fulfilment of God’s purpose?
“But like the stars in the vast circuit of their appointed path, God’s purposes know no haste and no delay. . . . On ‘the self-same day’ appointed in the divine promise, ‘it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.’ Exodus 12:41. So in heaven’s council the hour for the coming of Christ had been determined. When the great clock of time pointed to that hour, Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
“ ‘When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son.’ Providence had directed the movements of nations, and the tide of human impulse and influence, until the world was ripe for the coming of the Deliverer.”—Ibid., p. 32.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Before the Fall, how was man able to understand God’s character?
2. How did human nature change as a result of sin?
3. Why did God give man enmity? Where would we be without it?
4. Why did God give Adam the system of sacrifices?
5. Was the coming of the Deliverer delayed? Why or why not?