The Dominion Lost

Chapter 3

No longer permitted to agitate rebellion in heaven, Satan's hatred toward God found a new field to reveal itself in plotting the ruin of the human race. He determined to bring about the fall of Adam and Eve, leading them to join him in disobedience. He determined to change their love to distrust and their songs of praise to criticism of their Maker. In this way he would not only plunge these innocent beings into the same misery which he was himself enduring, but would cast dishonor upon God and cause grief in heaven.

In order to accomplish his goal without being recognized, Satan chose to use the serpent as his tool. The serpent was, at that time, one of the wisest and most beautiful creatures on the earth, a disguise well suited for his purpose of deception. Thus, in the garden of peace, the destroyer lay in wait, watching for his prey.

Absorbed in her pleasant work, Eve unconsciously wandered from Adam's side. Upon realizing that she was alone, she felt an apprehension of danger but dismissed her fears as groundless, believing that she had sufficient wisdom and strength to recognize evil and to withstand it. She soon found herself gazing with mingled curiosity and admiration upon the forbidden tree. The fruit was very beautiful, and she asked herself why God had withheld it from them. Now was the tempter's opportunity. As if he were able to read the thoughts of her mind, he addressed her: “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Eve was surprised and startled as she heard what seemed to be an echo of her thoughts. Instead of fleeing in fear, however, she paused to answer the tempter's leading question. “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. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely 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 his representations, Satan suggested that there was much to be gained by disobedience to God's clearly expressed will. He intimated that God's threatening was not to be literally fulfilled but were merely designed to intimidate them. Plucking the forbidden fruit, the serpent then placed it in the hands of the half-reluctant Eve. Sensing no evil effects, she grew bolder. “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat.” It was pleasing to the taste; and as she ate, she imagined herself entering upon a higher state of existence. Then, with her fears removed, she plucked for herself and ate more. And now, having herself transgressed, she became the agent of Satan in working the ruin of her husband. With her hands filled with the forbidden fruit, she sought his presence and told him all that had taken place.

Adam understood that Eve had gone directly against the command of God and violated the only restriction placed upon them as a test of their loyalty and love. Within his own mind, a terrible struggle was taking place. Love, gratitude, loyalty to the Creator—all were now outweighed by his love for Eve. She was a part of himself, and he could not endure the thought of separation. He resolved to share her fate; if she must die, he would die with her. After all, he reasoned, might not the words of the wise serpent be true? He decided to risk the consequences. Seizing the fruit, he quickly ate.

Satan rejoiced at the success of his plan. He had succeeded in tempting the woman to distrust God's love, to doubt His wisdom, and to transgress His law. Then, employing her as his willing tool, he successfully led Adam to follow the same road of disobedience.

Though Eve really believed the words of the serpent, her belief did not save her from the penalty of sin. It was disbelieving the words of God that led to her fall. In the judgment, men will not be condemned because they conscientiously believed a lie, but because they did not believe the truth; because they failed to avail themselves of the opportunity to learn what the truth is. We must set our hearts to know what is truth, for notwithstanding all of Satan's deceitful reasoning, it is always disastrous to disobey God. All the lessons which God has caused to be placed on record in His Word are for our warning and instruction. They are given to save us from being deceived and misled. To disregard the lessons they teach will result in our ruin. Whatever contradicts God's Word, we may be certain originates with Satan.

The great Lawgiver was about to make known to Adam and Eve the consequences of their transgression. In their innocence and holiness, they had joyfully welcomed the approach of their Creator; but now they fled in terror, withdrawing to the deepest recesses of the garden. “And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And He said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?”

Adam could neither deny nor excuse his sin; but instead of showing sorrow, he now tried to cast the blame upon his wife, and thus upon God Himself: “The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” He who, from love for Eve, had deliberately chosen to give up the approval of God, his home in Paradise, and an eternal life of joy, could now, after his fall, seek to make his companion, and even the Creator Himself, responsible for his sin. So terrible is the power of sin.

Then the woman was asked, “What is this that thou hast done?” She replied, “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” Implied in her excuse was the question, Why did You create the serpent? Why did You allow him to enter Eden? Thus, like Adam, she charged God with the responsibility of their fall. The spirit of self-justification, which had its source with the father of lies, quickly became a part of the character of our first parents. As soon as they yielded to Satan's influence, it became a part of the natural mind and has been reflected in the thinking of all the sons and daughters of Adam since that time. Instead of humbly confessing their sins, they try to shield themselves by casting the blame upon others, upon circumstances, or even upon God—making even His blessings a cause for murmuring against Him.

The Lord then passed sentence upon the serpent: “And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.”

It was not the will of God that the sinless pair should know anything about evil. He had freely given them the good and had withheld the evil. They had, however, contrary to His command, 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 on, the race would be afflicted by Satan's temptations. Now, instead of the pleasant tasks heretofore assigned them, they would experience anxiety and toil. They would be subject to disappointment, grief, and pain, and finally to death.

The life of toil and care was not the curse it initially appeared to be but was given to mankind in love. It was a discipline made necessary by his sin in order to place a restraint upon appetites and passions and to develop in him habits of self-control. It was a part of God's great plan for man's recovery from the ruin and depravity of sin.

Had some great test been appointed Adam, then those who do evil would seek to excuse themselves by saying, “This is an insignificant matter, and God is not so particular about little things.” This would have led to continual transgression in things looked upon as small and which pass unrebuked among men. But the Lord acted in a marked way to make it evident that sin in any degree is offensive to Him. Thus, in His great mercy, He showed men the sacredness of His Law, that they would recognize the danger of setting it aside in even the slightest degree in their own experience.

To Eve, her act of disobedience in tasting the forbidden fruit and tempting her husband to also transgress, seemed to be a small thing; but their sin opened the floodgates of woe upon the world. Who can know, in the moment of temptation, the terrible outcome that will result from one wrong step? The sin of our first parents brought guilt and sorrow upon the world. Had it not been for the goodness and mercy of God, it would have plunged the race into hopeless despair. “The wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23. Let none fool themselves. Men can no more freely, and without fear of consequence, disobey the Law of God today than when sentence was pronounced upon the parents of mankind.

After their sin, Adam and Eve were no longer able to remain in their garden home. In humility and indescribable sadness, they left their beautiful home to make their living on the earth, where now rested the curse of sin. The atmosphere, once so mild and uniform in temperature, was now subject to marked changes; and the Lord mercifully provided them with clothing made of skins as a protection from the extremes of heat and cold.

The death of the frail, delicate flowers was a cause of sorrow to Adam and his companion; but when the goodly trees cast off their leaves, the scene brought vividly to mind the stern fact that death is the heritage of every living thing. As they saw the first signs of death and decay, they experienced a deeper sorrow than men now know in the loss of their loved ones.

In the final restoration, when there shall be “a new heaven and a new earth” Revelation 21:1, the garden home is to be restored more glorious than at the beginning, a sample of what the whole earth would have become had man but fulfilled the Creator's glorious plan. Then those who have kept God's commandments will gather beneath the tree of life and through unending ages, in that garden of delight, enjoy the work of God's creation, untouched by the curse of sin.

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