Temptation and Fall
SATAN assumes the form of a serpent and
enters Eden. The serpent was a beautiful creature with wings, and while flying through the
air his appearance was bright, resembling burnished gold. He did not go upon the ground
but went from place to place through the air and ate fruit like man. Satan entered into
the serpent and took his position in the tree of knowledge and commenced leisurely eating
of the fruit.
Eve, unconsciously at first,
separated from her husband in her employment. When she became aware of the fact she felt
that there might be danger, but again she thought herself secure, even if she did not
remain close by the side of her husband. She had wisdom and strength to know if evil came,
and to meet it. This the angels had cautioned her not to do. Eve found herself gazing with
mingled curiosity and admiration upon the fruit of the forbidden tree. She saw it was very
lovely, and was reasoning with herself why God had so decidedly prohibited their eating or
touching it. Now was Satan's opportunity. He addressed her as though he was able to divine
her thought: "Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?"
Thus, with soft and pleasant words, and with musical voice, he addressed the
She was startled to hear a serpent speak. He extolled her beauty and exceeding loveliness,
which was not displeasing to Eve. But she was amazed, for she knew that to the serpent God
had not given the power of speech.
Eve's curiosity was aroused.
Instead of fleeing from the spot, she listened to hear a serpent talk. It did not occur to
her mind that it might be that fallen foe, using the serpent as a medium. It was Satan
that spoke, not the serpent. Eve was beguiled, flattered, infatuated. Had she met a
commanding personage, possessing a form like the angels and resembling them, she would
have been upon her guard. But that strange voice should have driven her to her husband's
side to inquire of him why another should thus freely address her. But she entered into a
controversy with the serpent. She answered his 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." The
serpent answered, "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
Satan would convey the idea
that by eating of the forbidden tree they would receive a new and more noble kind of
knowledge than they had hitherto attained. This has been his special work, with great
success, ever since his fall--to lead men to pry into the secrets of the Almighty and not
to be satisfied with what God has revealed, and not careful to obey that which He has
commanded. He would lead them to disobey God's commands, and then make them believe that
they are entering a wonderful field of knowledge. This is purely supposition, and a
They fail to understand what God has revealed, and disregard His
explicit commandments and aspire after wisdom, independent of God, and seek to understand
that which He has been pleased to withhold from mortals. They are elated with their ideas
of progression and charmed with their own vain philosophy, but grope in midnight darkness
relative to true knowledge. They are ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge
of the truth.
It was not the will of God
that this sinless pair should have any knowledge of evil. He had freely given them the
good but withheld the evil. Eve thought the words of the serpent wise, and she received
the broad assertion, "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"--making God a liar. Satan boldly insinuated that God had deceived them to keep
them from being exalted in knowledge equal with Himself. God said: If ye eat ye shall
surely die. The serpent said, If ye eat, "ye shall not surely die."
The tempter assured Eve that
as soon as she ate of the fruit she would receive a new and superior knowledge that would
make her equal with God. He called her attention to himself. He ate freely of the tree and
found it not only perfectly harmless but delicious and exhilarating, and told her that it
was because of its wonderful properties to impart wisdom and power that God had prohibited
them from tasting or even touching it, for He knew its wonderful qualities. He stated that
his eating of the fruit of the tree forbidden to them was the reason he had attained the
power of speech. He intimated that God would not carry out His word. It was merely a
threat to intimidate
them and keep them from great good. He further told them that they
could not die. Had they not eaten of the tree of life which perpetuates immortality? He
said that God was deceiving them to keep them from a higher state of felicity and more
exalted happiness. The tempter plucked the fruit and passed it to Eve. She took it in her
hand. Now, said the tempter, you were prohibited from even touching it lest you die. He
told her that she would realize no more sense of evil and death in eating than in touching
or handling the fruit. Eve was emboldened because she felt not the immediate signs of
God's displeasure. She thought the words of the tempter all wise and correct. She ate, and
was delighted with the fruit. It seemed delicious to her taste, and she imagined that she
realized in herself the wonderful effects of the fruit.
Becomes a Tempter
She then plucked for herself
of the fruit and ate, and imagined she felt the quickening power of a new and elevated
existence as the result of the exhilarating influence of the forbidden fruit. She was in a
strange and unnatural excitement as she sought her husband with her hands filled with the
forbidden fruit. She related to him the wise discourse of the serpent and wished to
conduct him at once to the tree of knowledge. She told him she had eaten of the fruit, and
instead of her feeling any sense of death, she realized a pleasing, exhilarating
influence. As soon as Eve had disobeyed she became a powerful medium through which to
occasion the fall of her husband.
I saw a sadness come over the
countenance of Adam. He appeared afraid and astonished. A struggle appeared to be going on
in his mind. He told Eve
he was quite certain that this was the foe that they had been
warned against, and if so, that she must die. She assured him she felt no ill effects but
rather a very pleasant influence, and entreated him to eat.
Adam quite well understood
that his companion had transgressed the only prohibition laid upon them as a test of their
fidelity and love. Eve reasoned that the serpent said they should not surely die, and his
words must be true, for she felt no signs of God's displeasure, but a pleasant influence,
as she imagined the angels felt.
Adam regretted that Eve had
left his side, but now the deed was done. He must be separated from her whose society he
had loved so well. How could he have it thus? His love for Eve was strong. And in utter
discouragement he resolved to share her fate. He reasoned that Eve was a part of himself,
and if she must die, he would die with her, for he could not bear the thought of
separation from her. He lacked faith in his merciful and benevolent Creator. He did not
think that God, who had formed him out of the dust of the ground into a living, beautiful
form, and had created Eve to be his companion, could supply her place. After all, might
not the words of this wise serpent be correct? Eve was before him, just as lovely and
beautiful, and apparently as innocent, as before this act of disobedience. She expressed
greater, higher love for him than before her disobedience, as the effects of the fruit she
had eaten. He saw in her no signs of death. She had told him of the happy influence of the
fruit, of her ardent love for him, and he decided to brave the consequences. He seized the
fruit and quickly ate it, and like Eve, felt not immediately its ill effects.
Eve had thought herself
capable of deciding between
right and wrong. The flattering hope of entering a higher
state of knowledge had led her to think that the serpent was her especial friend,
possessing a great interest in her welfare. Had she sought her husband, and they had
related to their Maker the words of the serpent, they would have been delivered at once
from his artful temptation. The Lord would not have them investigate the fruit of the tree
of knowledge, for then they would be exposed to Satan masked. He knew that they would be
perfectly safe if they touched not the fruit.
Freedom of Choice
God instructed our first
parents in regard to the tree of knowledge, and they were fully informed relative to the
fall of Satan, and the danger of listening to his suggestions. He did not deprive them of
the power of eating the forbidden fruit. He left them as free moral agents to believe His
word, obey His commandments, and live, or believe the tempter, disobey, and perish. They
both ate, and the great wisdom they obtained was the knowledge of sin and a sense of
guilt. The covering of light about them soon disappeared, and under a sense of guilt and
loss of their divine covering, a shivering seized them, and they tried to cover their
Our first parents chose to
believe the words, as they thought, of a serpent; yet he had given them no tokens of his
love. He had done nothing for their happiness and benefit, while God had given them
everything that was good for food and pleasant to the sight. Everywhere the eye might rest
was abundance and beauty; yet Eve was deceived by the serpent, to think that there was
something withheld which would make them wise, even as God. Instead of believing
confiding in God, she basely distrusted His goodness and cherished the words of Satan.
After Adam's transgression he
at first imagined that he felt the rising to a new and higher existence. But soon the
thought of his transgression terrified him. The air, that had been of a mild and even
temperature, seemed to chill them. The guilty pair had a sense of sin. They felt a dread
of the future, a sense of want, a nakedness of soul. The sweet love and peace and happy
contented bliss seemed removed from them, and in its place a want of something came over
them that they had never experienced before. They then for the first time turned their
attention to the external. They had not been clothed but were draped in light as were the
heavenly angels. This light which had enshrouded them had departed. To relieve their sense
of lack and nakedness which they realized, their attention was directed to seek a covering
for their forms, for how could they meet the eye of God and angels unclothed?
Their crime is now before
them in its true light. Their transgression of God's express command assumes a clearer
character. Adam censured Eve's folly in leaving his side and being deceived by the
serpent. They both flattered themselves that God, who had given them everything to make
them happy, might yet excuse their disobedience because of His great love to them and that
their punishment would not be so dreadful after all.
Satan exulted in his success.
He had now tempted the woman to distrust God, to question His wisdom, and to seek to
penetrate His all-wise plans. And through her he had also caused the overthrow of Adam,
who, in consequence of his love for Eve, disobeyed the command of God and fell with her.
The news of man's fall spread
through heaven--every harp was hushed. The angels cast their crowns from their heads in
sorrow. All heaven was in agitation. The angels were grieved at the base ingratitude of
man in return for the rich bounties God had provided. A council was held to decide what
must be done with the guilty pair. The angels feared that they would put forth the hand
and eat of the tree of life, and thus perpetuate a life of sin.
The Lord visited Adam and
Eve, and made known to them the consequence of their disobedience. As they heard God's
majestic approach they sought to hide themselves from His inspection, whom they delighted,
while in their innocence and holiness, to meet. "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?" This question was asked by the Lord, not because He needed information, but for
the conviction of the guilty pair. How didst thou become ashamed and fearful? Adam
acknowledged his transgression, not because he was penitent for his great disobedience,
but to cast reflection upon God. "The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave
me of the tree, and I did eat." The woman was then addressed: "What is this that
thou hast done?" Eve answered, "The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat."
The Lord then addressed 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." As the serpent had been exalted above the beasts of the field, he
should be degraded beneath them all, and be detested by man, inasmuch as he was the medium
through which Satan acted. "And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast hearkened unto
the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou
shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all
the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou
shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou
return unto the ground."
God cursed the ground because
of their sin in eating of the tree of knowledge, and declared, "In sorrow shalt thou
eat of it all the days of thy life." He had apportioned them the good, but withheld
the evil. Now He declares that they shall eat of it, that is, they should be acquainted
with evil all the days of their life.
The race from that time
forward was to be afflicted by Satan's temptations. A life of perpetual toil and anxiety
was appointed unto Adam, instead of the happy, cheerful labor he had hitherto enjoyed.
They should be subject to disappointment, grief, and pain, and finally come to
dissolution. They were made of the dust of the earth, and unto dust should they return.
They were informed that they
would have to lose their Eden home. They had yielded to Satan's deception and believed the
word of Satan, that God would lie. By their transgression they had opened a way for Satan
to gain access to them more readily, and it was not safe for them to remain in the Garden
of Eden, lest in their state of sin they gain access to the tree of
life and perpetuate a
life of sin. They entreated to be permitted to remain, although they acknowledged that
they had forfeited all right to blissful Eden. They promised that they would in the future
yield to God implicit obedience. They were informed that in their fall from innocence to
guilt they gained no strength but great weakness. They had not preserved their integrity
while they were in a state of holy, happy innocence, and they would have far less strength
to remain true and loyal in a state of conscious guilt. They were filled with keenest
anguish and remorse. They now realized that the penalty of sin was death.
Angels were commissioned to
immediately guard the way of the tree of life. It was Satan's studied plan that Adam and
Eve should disobey God, receive His frown, and then partake of the tree of life, that they
might perpetuate a life of sin. But holy angels were sent to debar their way to the tree
of life. Around these angels flashed beams of light on every side, which had the
appearance of glittering swords.
Copyright © 1974
The Ellen G. White Estate, Inc.
All Rights Reserved