The Great Hope (Condensed)


Chapter 4—Everlasting Life

Satan, who had incited rebellion in heaven, desired to bring the inhabitants of the earth to unite in his warfare against God. Adam and Eve had been perfectly happy in obedience to the law of God—a constant testimony against the claim Satan had urged in heaven that God's law was oppressive. Satan determined to cause their fall, that he might possess the earth and here establish his kingdom in opposition to the Most High. GrH_c 14.1

Adam and Eve had been warned against this dangerous foe, but he worked in the dark, concealing his purpose. Employing as his medium the serpent, then a creature of fascinating appearance, he addressed Eve: “Hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Eve ventured to parley with him and fell victim to his wiles: “The woman said unto 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 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.” Genesis 3:1-5. GrH_c 14.2

Eve yielded, and through her influence Adam was led into sin. They accepted the words of the serpent; they distrusted their Creator and imagined that He was restricting their liberty. GrH_c 14.3

But what did Adam find to be the meaning of the words, “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”? Was he to be ushered into a more exalted existence? Adam did not find this to be the meaning of the divine sentence. God declared that as a penalty for his sin, man should return to the ground: “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Genesis 3:19. The words of Satan, “Your eyes shall be opened,” proved to be true in this sense only: their eyes were opened to discern their folly. They did know evil and tasted the bitter fruit of transgression. GrH_c 14.4

The tree of life had the power of perpetuating life. Adam would have continued to enjoy free access to this tree and have lived forever, but when he sinned he was cut off from the tree of life and became subject to death. Immortality had been forfeited by transgression. There could have been no hope for the fallen race had not God, by the sacrifice of His Son, brought immortality within their reach. While “death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned,” Christ “hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” Only through Christ can immortality be obtained. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life.” Romans 5:12; 2 Timothy 1:10; John 3:36. GrH_c 14.5