1. IN THE BEGINNING
a. How simply does the Scripture explain the nature of Adam and Eve at creation? In what did they find pleasure? Genesis 1:26, 27.
“Man was to bear God’s image, both in outward resemblance and in character. Christ alone is ‘the express image’ (Hebrews 1:3) of the Father; but man was formed in the likeness of God. His nature was in harmony with the will of God. His mind was capable of comprehending divine things. His affections were pure; his appetites and passions were under the control of reason. He was holy and happy in bearing the image of God and in perfect obedience to His will.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 45.
b. What state of affairs existed in the whole universe at the beginning? Genesis 1:31; Job 38:7.
“So long as all created beings acknowledged the allegiance of love, there was perfect harmony throughout the universe of God. It was the joy of the heavenly host to fulfill the purpose of their Creator. They delighted in reflecting His glory and showing forth His praise. And while love to God was supreme, love for one another was confiding and unselfish. There was no note of discord to mar the celestial harmonies.”—Ibid., p. 35.
2. CONSEQUENCES OF THE FALL
a. What was the consequence of sin upon humanity and nature? What has the transgression of God’s law brought to this world? Genesis 3:17–19; Romans 5:12.
“God made man perfectly holy and happy; and the fair earth, as it came from the Creator’s hand, bore no blight of decay or shadow of the curse. It is transgression of God’s law—the law of love—that has brought woe and death.”—Steps to Christ, p. 9.
“By venturing to disregard the will of God upon one point, our first parents opened the floodgates of woe upon the world. And every individual who follows their example will reap a similar result. The love of God underlies every precept of His law, and he who departs from the commandment is working his own unhappiness and ruin.” —Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 52.
b. Under whose power did both humanity and the earth fall? How did Christ refer to that power? Romans 6:16; Luke 4:5, 6; John 14:30.
“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. But by yielding to temptation, he was brought under the power of Satan. ‘Of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage’ (2 Peter 2:19). When man became Satan’s captive, the dominion which he held, passed to his conqueror. Thus Satan became the ‘god of this world’ (2 Corinthians 4:4). He had usurped that dominion over the earth which had been originally given to Adam.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 67.
“Mighty issues for the world were at stake in the conflict between the Prince of light and the leader of the kingdom of darkness. After tempting man to sin, Satan claimed the earth as his, and styled himself the prince of this world. Having conformed to his own nature the father and mother of our race, he thought to establish here his empire. He declared that men had chosen him as their sovereign. Through his control of men, he held dominion over the world. Christ had come to disprove Satan’s claim. As the Son of man, Christ would stand loyal to God. Thus it would be shown that Satan had not gained complete control of the human race, and that his claim to the world was false. All who desired deliverance from his power would be set free. The dominion that Adam had lost through sin would be recovered.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 114, 115.
3. THE RESULT OF SIN
a. What change came in the nature of men and women after the Fall? From what deplorable condition was humanity to escape? John 8:44 (first part); Ephesians 2:1–3.
“In the beginning God created man in His own likeness. He endowed him with noble qualities. His mind was well balanced, and all the powers of his being were harmonious. But the Fall and its effects have perverted these gifts. Sin has marred and well-nigh obliterated the image of God in man.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 595.
“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.”—The Great Controversy, p. 505.
b. Without the regenerating mercy of God, what natural human tendency continues to exist even today? Psalm 51:5; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:12; 2 Corinthians 4:4.
“Man through sin has been severed from the life of God. His soul is palsied through the machinations of Satan, the author of sin. Of himself he is incapable of sensing sin, incapable of appreciating and appropriating the divine nature. Were it brought within his reach there is nothing in it that his natural heart would desire it. The bewitching power of Satan is upon him. All the ingenious subterfuges the devil can suggest are presented to his mind to prevent every good impulse. Every faculty and power given him of God has been used as a weapon against the divine Benefactor. So, although He loves him, God cannot safely impart to him the gifts and blessings He desires to bestow.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 340.
“All who are not decided followers of Christ are servants of Satan. In the unregenerate heart there is love of sin and a disposition to cherish and excuse it.”—The Great Controversy, p. 508.
“The result of the eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is manifest in every man’s experience. There is in his nature a bent to evil, a force which, unaided, he cannot resist.”—Education, p. 29.
4. AN EVIDENCE OF GOD’S LOVE
a. What characteristic of the Godhead responded to the need of fallen humanity? What motivated Christ to offer Himself as the sacrifice? 1 John 4:9, 10.
“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.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 63.
“Such is the character of Christ as revealed in His life [of self-denial and thoughtful care for others]. This is the character of God. It is from the Father’s heart that the streams of divine compassion, manifest in Christ, flow out to the children of men. Jesus, the tender, pitying Saviour, was God ‘manifest in the flesh’ (1 Timothy 3:16). . . .
“But this great sacrifice [of the Son of God] was not made in order to create in the Father’s heart a love for man, not to make Him willing to save. No, no! ‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son’ (John 3:16). The Father loves us, not because of the great propitiation, but He provided the propitiation because He loves us. Christ was the medium through which He could pour out His infinite love upon a fallen world.”—Steps to Christ, pp. 12, 13.
b. When was the plan of salvation established for the guilty race? What principle of God’s government is made manifest by this plan? Revelation 13:8; Romans 16:25; Psalm 89:14.
“The plan for our redemption was not an afterthought, a plan formulated after the fall of Adam. It was a revelation of ‘the mystery which hath been kept in silence through times eternal’ (Romans 16:25, RV). It was an unfolding of the principles that from eternal ages have been the foundation of God’s throne. From the beginning, God and Christ knew of the apostasy of Satan and of the fall of man through the deceptive power of the apostate. God did not ordain that sin should exist, but He foresaw its existence and made provision to meet the terrible emergency.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 22.
“The sacrifice to which infinite love impelled the Father and the Son, that sinners might be redeemed, demonstrates to all the universe—what nothing less than this plan of atonement could have sufficed to do—that justice and mercy are the foundation of the law and government of God.”—The Great Controversy, p. 503.
5. THE PURPOSE OF THE PLAN OF REDEMPTION
a. What is the purpose of God through the plan of redemption? 1 John 3:1; Romans 8:15–17.
“[1 John 3:1 quoted.] What a value this places upon man! Through transgression the sons of man become subjects of Satan. Through faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ the sons of Adam may become the sons of God. By assuming human nature, Christ elevates humanity. Fallen men are placed where, through connection with Christ, they may indeed become worthy of the name ‘sons of God.’”—Steps to Christ, p. 15.
b. In order for sin not to arise again, what doubt must the plan of salvation entirely remove from the mind of all intelligent beings in the whole universe? Nahum 1:9; Luke 24:25, 26; Ephesians 1:10.
“It was God’s purpose to place things on an eternal basis of security, and in the councils of heaven it was decided that time must be given for Satan to develop the principles which were the foundation of his system of government. He had claimed that these were superior to God’s principles. Time was given for the working of Satan’s principles, that they might be seen by the heavenly universe.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 759.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What characterized the whole creation of God in the beginning?
2. Besides the changed conditions, what really happened when Adam and Eve disobeyed God?
3. What intervention of God was made necessary to mitigate the results of sin?
4. What does the plan of salvation fully reveal about the true nature of the Godhead?
5. What must the plan of salvation establish firmly in every mind to remove the possibility of doubt or to imagine some other alternative?