The Great Hope (Adapted)


Chapter 4—Everlasting Life

Satan, who had stirred up rebellion in heaven, wanted to bring those living on the earth to join him in his warfare against God. Adam and Eve had been perfectly happy in obeying God’s law—a constant testimony against the claim Satan had made in heaven that God’s law was oppressive. Satan was determined to cause their fall so that he could possess the earth and establish his kingdom here in opposition to the Most High. GrH_a 14.1

God had warned Adam and Eve about this dangerous enemy, but Satan worked in the dark, hiding his intentions. Using the snake as his medium, whose appearance then was fascinating, he said to Eve, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” Eve dared to talk with him and became a victim of his deceptive skill: “The woman said to the serpent, ‘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 has said, “You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.”’ Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil’” (Genesis 3:1-5). GrH_a 14.2

Eve yielded to temptation, and through her influence Adam sinned. They accepted the words of the serpent. They distrusted their Creator and imagined that He was restricting their liberty. GrH_a 14.3

But what did Adam find to be the meaning of the words, “In the day that you eat of it you shall surely die”? Was he going to be ushered into a higher existence? Adam did not find this to be the meaning of the divine sentence. God declared that as a penalty for his sin, he and his descendants would return to the ground: “Dust you are, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19). Satan’s words, “Your eyes will be opened,” proved to be true only in this sense: their eyes were opened to see how foolish they had been. They did know evil, and they tasted the bitter fruit of transgression. GrH_a 14.4

The fruit of the tree of life had the power to sustain life forever. Adam would have continued to enjoy free access to this tree and would never have died, but when he sinned he was cut off from the tree of life and became subject to death. He had lost immortality by his sin. There could have been no hope for the fallen race if God had not brought immortality within their reach by the sacrifice of His Son. While “death spread to all men, because all sinned,” Christ has “brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” We can only receive immortality through Christ. “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life.” (Romans 5:12; 2 Timothy 1:10; John 3:36.) GrH_a 14.5