True Education


Distrust of God

When Eve saw “that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.” As she ate, she seemed to feel a vivifying power, and imagined herself entering a higher state of existence. Having herself transgressed, she became a tempter to her husband, “and he ate.” Genesis 3:6. TEd 17.3

“Your eyes will be opened,” the enemy had said, “you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:5. Their eyes were indeed opened, but how sad the opening! The knowledge of evil and the curse of sin were all that the transgressors gained. There was nothing poisonous in the fruit itself, and the sin was not merely in yielding to appetite. It was distrust of God’s goodness, disbelief of His word, and rejection of His authority, that made our first parents transgressors and brought into the world a knowledge of evil. It was this that opened the door to every species of falsehood and error. TEd 17.4

Our first parents lost all because they chose to listen to the deceiver rather than to Him who alone has understanding. By the mingling of evil with good, their minds became confused, their mental and spiritual powers benumbed. No longer could they appreciate the good that God had so freely bestowed. TEd 18.1

Adam and Eve had chosen the knowledge of evil. No longer were they to live in Eden, for in its perfection it could not teach them the lessons it was now essential for them to learn. In unutterable sadness they said goodbye to their beautiful surroundings and went forth to live on the earth, where rested the curse of sin. TEd 18.2

To Adam God had said: “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil shall you eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:17-19. TEd 18.3

Although the earth was blighted with the curse, nature was still to be our first parents’ lesson book. It could not now represent goodness only, for evil was everywhere present. Where once was written only the character of God—the knowledge of good—was now written also the character of Satan—the knowledge of evil. From nature, which now revealed the knowledge of good and evil, human beings were continually to see the results of sin. TEd 18.4

In drooping flower and falling leaf Adam and Eve witnessed the first signs of decay. The stern fact that every living thing must die was brought vividly to their minds. Even the air, on which their life depended, bore the seeds of death. TEd 18.5

Continually they were reminded of their lost dominion. Among the lower creatures Adam had stood as king, and so long as he remained loyal to God all nature acknowledged his rule. But when he transgressed, this dominion was forfeited. The spirit of rebellion, to which he himself had given entrance, extended throughout the animal creation. Thus not only the life of humans but the nature of the beasts, the trees of the forest, the grass of the field, even the air—all told the sad lesson of the knowledge of evil. TEd 18.6

But the human race was not abandoned to the results of the evil that had been chosen. In the sentence pronounced upon Satan was given an intimation of redemption. “I will put enmity between you and the woman,” God said, “and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” Genesis 3:15. This sentence, spoken in the hearing of our first parents, was to them a promise. Before they heard of the hard work and sorrow that would be theirs, or of the dust to which they must return, they listened to words that gave them hope. All that had been lost by yielding to Satan could be regained through Christ. TEd 18.7

Nature repeats this message to us. Though marred by sin, it speaks not only of creation but of redemption. The earth is still rich and beautiful in the tokens of life-giving power. In every manifestation of creative power it holds out the assurance that we may be created anew in “righteousness and true holiness.” Ephesians 4:24. Thus the very objects and operations of nature that bring vividly to mind our great loss become to us messengers of hope. TEd 19.1

As far as evil extends, the voice of our Father is heard, warning His children to forsake the evil and inviting them to receive the good. TEd 19.2