1. GOD’S PURPOSE FOR HUMANITY
a. In whose image were Adam and Eve created and for what purpose? Genesis 1:26, 27, 31; Isaiah 43:7.
“When Adam came from the Creator’s hand, he bore, in his physical, mental, and spiritual nature, a likeness to his Maker. ‘God created man in His own image’ (Genesis 1:27), and it was His purpose that the longer man lived the more fully he should reveal this image—the more fully reflect the glory of the Creator. All his faculties were capable of development; their capacity and vigor were continually to increase.”—Education, p. 15.
b. Though our first parents wore no artificial garments, what enshrouded them as a symbol of their purity? Psalm 104:1, 2. Compare Exodus 34:29.
“The sinless pair wore no artificial garments; they were clothed with a covering of light and glory, such as the angels wear.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 45.
“The white robe of innocence was worn by our first parents when they were placed by God in holy Eden. They lived in perfect conformity to the will of God. All the strength of their affections was given to their heavenly Father. A beautiful soft light, the light of God, enshrouded the holy pair. This robe of light was a symbol of their spiritual garments of heavenly innocence. Had they remained true to God it would ever have continued to enshroud them.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 310, 311.
2. A TEST OF LOVE
a. In what sense were our first parents free to fulfil their divine purpose? Deuteronomy 30:19.
“Our first parents, though created innocent and holy, were not placed beyond the possibility of wrongdoing. God made them free moral agents, capable of appreciating the wisdom and benevolence of His character and the justice of His requirements, and with full liberty to yield or to withhold obedience....
“God might have created man without the power to transgress His law; He might have withheld the hand of Adam from touching the forbidden fruit; but in that case man would have been, not a free moral agent, but a mere automaton. Without freedom of choice, his obedience would not have been voluntary, but forced. There could have been no development of character.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 48, 49.
b. What test of loyalty was given to our first parents? Genesis 2:16, 17.
“When Adam and Eve were placed in the beautiful garden they had everything for their happiness which they could desire. But God chose, in His all-wise arrangements, to test their loyalty before they could be rendered eternally secure. They were to have His favor, and He was to converse with them and they with Him. Yet He did not place evil out of their reach. Satan was permitted to tempt them. If they endured the trial they were to be in perpetual favor with God and the heavenly angels.”—The Story of Redemption, p. 24.
c. Describe how our first parents became disloyal to God? 2 Corinthians 11:3; Genesis 3:1–6.
“Satan represented to the holy pair that they would be gainers by breaking the law of God. Do we not today hear similar reasoning? Many talk of the narrowness of those who obey God’s commandments, while they themselves claim to have broader ideas and to enjoy greater liberty. What is this but an echo of the voice from Eden, ‘In the day ye eat thereof’—transgress the divine requirement—‘ye shall be as gods’?”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 55.
3. SIN AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
a. How is the act of sin defined in the Bible? 1 John 3:4.
“Our only definition of sin is that given in the word of God; it is ‘the transgression of the law;’ it is the outworking of a principle at war with the great law of love which is the foundation of the divine government.”—The Great Controversy, p. 493.
b. What tragic consequence came upon humanity because of their sin? Genesis 3:19, 23; Romans 5:12.
“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 had eaten of the forbidden tree, and now they would continue to eat of it—they would have the knowledge of evil—all the days of their life. From that time the race would be afflicted by Satan’s temptations. Instead of the happy labor heretofore appointed them, anxiety and toil were to be their lot. They would be subject to disappointment, grief, and pain, and finally to death.”—Patriarchs and Prophets 59.
c. What additional consequence did the fall have on the nature of every human being? Romans 3:12; 7:14, 18; 8:7.
“After their sin Adam and Eve...were told that 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.”—Ibid., 61.
“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.
“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.”—Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 340.
4. FIG-LEAF GARMENTS
a. After realizing their loss of innocence, and the light given to symbolize it, what did Adam and Eve do to try and cover their nakedness? Was their covering acceptable? Genesis 3:7, 8 (compare Revelation 3:17).
“When sin entered, [our first parents] severed their connection with God, and the light that had encircled them departed. Naked and ashamed, they tried to supply the place of the heavenly garments by sewing together fig leaves for a covering.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 311.
b. In what spiritual sense have sinners been making fig-leaf garments for themselves ever since the Fall? Romans 10:3.
“This is what the transgressors of God’s law have done ever since the day of Adam and Eve’s disobedience. They have sewed together fig leaves to cover the nakedness caused by transgression. They have worn the garments of their own devising, by works of their own they have tried to cover their sins, and make themselves acceptable with God.”—Ibid.
c. What deception leads us to think that we can make ourselves acceptable to before God? Jeremiah 17:9; Isaiah 64:6.
“Many are deceived concerning the condition of their hearts. They do not realize that the natural heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. They wrap themselves about with their own righteousness, and are satisfied in reaching their own human standard of character; but how fatally they fail when they do not reach the divine standard, and of themselves they cannot meet the requirements of God. . . .
“The human family have all transgressed the law of God, and as transgressors of the law, man is hopelessly ruined; for he is the enemy of God, without strength to do any good thing. ‘The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be’ (Romans 8:7).”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, pp. 320, 321.
5. THE WHOLE WORLD GUILTY BEFORE GOD
a. How has all humanity failed to fulfil God’s original purpose? Romans 3:23.
b. As the standard of righteousness, what purpose does the law of God serve? Romans 3:19, 20; Galatians 3:24.
“The law stands firm, and justice sternly points the sinner to its holy precepts. It is not the province of the law to save the sinner, but to condemn, not to pardon, but to convict. It cannot be changed to meet man in his fallen condition. Then how is God’s justice to be satisfied and His favor obtained? Not by works; ‘for by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight.’ In his own strength the sinner cannot meet the demands of God.”—The Signs of the Times, July 31, 1901
c. What question has been asked by sinners ever since the fall and what is the only answer? Job 9:2; 25:4–6; John 1:29.
“In every congregation there are souls who are unsatisfied. Every Sabbath they should hear something that will help them in the way of salvation and teach them how to become better Christians. The important thing for them to know is, How can a sinner be justified before God? Let the way of salvation be presented before them in simplicity. Lift up Jesus as the sinner’s only hope.”—The Review and Herald, October 7, 1909.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. For what purpose did God create human beings?
2. Why was it important to allow humanity freedom of choice to serve God?
3. What sinful condition are we all subject to apart from God?
4. How can I be guilty of making fig-leaf garments for myself?
5. In who only can I find hope for my sinful condition?