1. A HOME
a. What was the arrangement of the first home and family? Genesis 2:8; 1:28.
“The home of our first parents was to be a pattern for other homes as their children should go forth to occupy the earth. That home, beautified by the hand of God Himself, was not a gorgeous palace. Men, in their pride, delight in magnificent and costly edifices and glory in the works of their own hands; but God placed Adam in a garden. This was his dwelling. The blue heavens were its dome; the earth, with its delicate flowers and carpet of living green, was its floor; and the leafy branches of the goodly trees were its canopy. Its walls were hung with the most magnificent adornings—the handiwork of the great Master Artist. In the surroundings of the holy pair was a lesson for all time—that true happiness is found, not in the indulgence of pride and luxury, but in communion with God through His created works. If men would give less attention to the artificial, and would cultivate greater simplicity, they would come far nearer to answering the purpose of God in their creation.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 49, 50.
2. A GARDEN
a. What occupation did Eden provide for our first parents? Genesis 2:15. Why is this so important for us today?
“Families and institutions should learn to do more in the cultivation and improvement of land. If people only knew the value of the products of the ground, which the earth brings forth in their season, more diligent efforts would be made to cultivate the soil. All should be acquainted with the special value of fruits and vegetables fresh from the orchard and garden.”—Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 312.
“Better than any other inheritance of wealth you can give to your children will be the gift of a healthy body, a sound mind, and a noble character. Those who understand what constitutes life’s true success will be wise betimes. They will keep in view life’s best things in their choice of a home. . . .
“Go where, apart from the distractions and dissipations of city life, you can give your children your companionship, where you can teach them to learn of God through His works, and train them for lives of integrity and usefulness.”—The Ministry of Healing, pp. 366, 367.
“To parents who are living in the cities the Lord is sending the warning cry, Gather your children into your own houses; gather them away from those who are disregarding the commandments of God, who are teaching and practicing evil. Get out of the cities as fast as possible.”—Medical Ministry, p. 310.
b. What does God teach us about practical work? 1 Thessalonians 4:11, 12.
“God appointed labor as a blessing to man, to occupy his mind, to strengthen his body, and to develop his faculties. In mental and physical activity, Adam found one of the highest pleasures of his holy existence.”—The Faith I Live By, p. 232.
“Practical work encourages close observation and independent thought. Rightly performed, it tends to develop that practical wisdom which we call common sense. It develops ability to plan and execute, strengthens courage and perseverance, and calls for the exercise of tact and skill.”—Education, p. 220.
3. A PLACE OF LEARNING
a. What was among the lessons that Eden’s environment offered? Psalm 19:1, 2.
“The book of nature, which spread its living lessons before [our first parents], afforded an exhaustless source of instruction and delight. On every leaf of the forest and stone of the mountains, in every shining star, in earth and sea and sky, God’s name was written. With both the animate and the inanimate creation—with leaf and flower and tree, and with every living creature, from the leviathan of the waters to the mote in the sunbeam—the dwellers in Eden held converse, gathering from each the secrets of its life. God’s glory in the heavens, the innumerable worlds in their orderly revolutions, ‘the balancings of the clouds’ (Job 37:16), the mysteries of light and sound, of day and night—all were objects of study by the pupils of earth’s first school.”—Education, p. 21.
“Instead of dwelling where only the works of men can be seen, where the sights and sounds frequently suggest thoughts of evil, where turmoil and confusion bring weariness and disquietude, go where you can look upon the works of God. Find rest of spirit in the beauty and quietude and peace of nature. Let the eye rest on the green fields, the groves, and the hills. Look up to the blue sky, unobscured by the city’s dust and smoke, and breathe the invigorating air of heaven.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 367.
b. What lessons are presented in the growth of plants? Luke 12:27.
“Working the soil is one of the best kinds of employment, calling the muscles into action and resting the mind. Study in agricultural lines should be the A, B, and C of the education given in our schools. This is the very first work that should be entered upon.”—Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 179.
“Thus while the children and youth gain a knowledge of facts from teachers and textbooks, let them learn to draw lessons and discern truth for themselves. In their gardening, question them as to what they learn from the care of their plants. As they look on a beautiful landscape, ask them why God clothed the fields and woods with such lovely and varied hues. Why was not all colored a somber brown? . . . Teach them to notice the evidences everywhere manifest in nature of God’s thought for us, the wonderful adaptation of all things to our need and happiness.”—Education, p. 119.
4. A PLACE OF WORSHIP
a. What did Eden’s dwellers do daily? Genesis 3:8 (first part).
“In the song of the bird, the sighing of the trees, and the music of the sea, we still may hear His voice who talked with Adam in Eden in the cool of the day. And as we behold His power in nature we find comfort, for the word that created all things is that which speaks life to the soul.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 281, 282.
“In His interest for His children, our heavenly Father personally directed their education. Often they were visited by His messengers, the holy angels, and from them received counsel and instruction. Often as they walked in the garden in the cool of the day they heard the voice of God, and face to face held communion with the Eternal.”— Education, p. 21.
“Adam and Eve, in their untainted purity, delighted in the sights and sounds of Eden. God appointed them their work in the garden, ‘to dress it and to keep it.’ Genesis 2:15. Each day’s labor brought them health and gladness, and the happy pair greeted with joy the visits of their Creator, as in the cool of the day He walked and talked with them.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 261.
b. What lessons can be drawn from worship amidst God’s creation? Romans 1:20; Psalm 104:10–24.
“Nature is filled with spiritual lessons for mankind. The flowers die only to spring forth into new life; and in this we are taught the lesson of the resurrection. All who love God will bloom again in the Eden above.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 291.
“The children need to be given lessons that will nurture in them courage to resist evil. Point them from nature to nature’s God, and they will thus become acquainted with the Creator.”—Child Guidance, p. 49.
“The parents may take their children outdoors to view God in nature. They can be pointed to the blooming flowers and the opening buds, the lofty trees and beautiful spires of grass, and taught that God made all these in six days and rested on the seventh day and hallowed it. Thus the parents may bind up their lessons of instruction to their children, so that when these children look upon the things of nature, they will call to mind the great Creator of them all.”—Ibid., p. 533.
5. A CHANNEL OF BLESSING
a. How might families be a channel of blessing to the world as the river of Eden was to the garden? Genesis 1:28; 2:10; Matthew 22:39.
“Love, the basis of creation and of redemption, is the basis of true education. . . .The law of love calls for the devotion of body, mind, and soul to the service of God and our fellow men. And this service, while making us a blessing to others, brings the greatest blessing to ourselves. Unselfishness underlies all true development. Through unselfish service we receive the highest culture of every faculty. More and more fully do we become partakers of the divine nature. We are fitted for heaven, for we receive heaven into our hearts.”—Education, p. 16.
b. What is the mission given to the Christian home? 2 Corinthians 3:2.
“The mission of the home extends beyond its own members. The Christian home is to be an object lesson, illustrating the excellence of the true principles of life. Such an illustration will be a power for good in the world. Far more powerful than any sermon that can be preached is the influence of a true home upon human hearts and lives. As the youth go out from such a home, the lessons they have learned are imparted. Nobler principles of life are introduced into other households, and an uplifting influence works in the community.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 352.
“The world needs today what it needed nineteen hundred years ago—a revelation of Christ.”—Ibid., p. 143.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What characterized the garden of Eden as a home?
2. How were Eden’s residents occupied?
3. What was Eden’s system of education?
4. How did Eden form a place of worship?
5. What lessons have you drawn from the first home, school, and church?