LONG AGO God put true facts into the minds of a few men whom He chose. These men wrote out those facts in words God put into their minds. It was like God writing by using human minds. God does not lie. He does not make mistakes. Therefore every word written by those men was true. Since then the Bible has been put into many other languages, and the meanings of a few of its words have changed a little in time. But the Bible as it was written in the beginning is entirely true and without mistakes. Many men who thought they had great wisdom have tried to point Out mistakes to prove that the Bible is not true, but all of them have failed. If they had been truly wise, they would have recognized that the Bible is the only true book that has ever been written. If we study the Bible with the idea of gaining wisdom for a better way of life, it can tell us a great deal about what happened long ago, what is happening now in the world and a lot about what is going to happen. Many people whose minds have been poisoned by wrong teaching in schools and colleges do not believe that God wrote the Bible. They do not even believe in the God who caused their own bodies to be born. They laugh when someone mentions something that is in the Bible. Some of them are ashamed to be seen even reading or holding a Bible — even though it is the most valuable of all books. Those who do read the Bible and live by the rules in it are by far the wiser and happier people. Although the Bible wasn't written until long after the days of the Garden of Eden, the Creator gave rules of good living to Adam and Eve. Obeying those rules meant that the two human beings would keep happy and healthy and close to God. Among the rules was a warning not to touch the fruit of a certain tree that grew in the park. "Eat the fruit of any of the other trees," God's voice spoke, "but if you eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, you shall die!" This voice that spoke was the voice of the Word, who later was born as Jesus Christ. For a little while Adam and Eve obeyed every law, and so lived happily in the park. They enjoyed their work as well as the other wonderful and exciting things, though they didn't work on the Sabbath. The Sabbath was the happiest day of all, for then they rested and talked with God, and were in His glorious presence.
The First Sin
Let us not forget that Satan and his fallen angels were still roaming the Earth in the form of evil spirits. God allowed Satan to still be the demon ruler of Earth, though Satan's power was much less than it had been before he sinned. Having become God's enemy, Satan was far from pleased when God created human beings and put them on Earth to have power over all other living creatures in the world. Therefore Satan wanted very much to find some way of turning Adam and Eve against their Creator, so that he would become their master. Satan waited for his chance. One day it came when Eve walked off by herself in the park. Suddenly she came upon a snake. There was nothing unusual about that, because all the animals were friendly, and they always obeyed Adam and Eve. What surprised Eve was that the snake, who was Satan in disguise, spoke to her! "Did God tell you that you would die if you should eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil?" asked the snake. "He did," answered Eve, as soon as she could recover from her surprise. "We don't want to die, so we haven't touched the tree." "But you have an immortal soul, and therefore you can never die," lied the snake. "If you eat the fruit of that tree you will receive great wisdom — not death. You may even become as wise as God." The more Eve thought about what the snake said, the more she wanted to eat some of the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Finally she could resist no longer. She went to the tree and plucked some of the fruit. It was pleasant to taste, so she took some to Adam and he ate of it, too. After that, Adam and Eve felt guilty. They knew they had disobeyed God. They also knew they were naked, and they felt ashamed. They wanted to cover themselves, so they sewed fig leaves together to make aprons to put around them. Because they had disobeyed God's wonderful law by eating the fruit they had
been told not to eat, Adam and Eve committed the very first sin. That simple wrong act changed the life of every human being who has been born since then. Do you remember how Lucifer, the mighty super-angel, turned against God? Because he refused to carry out God's rule over the Earth, he was no longer fit to be God's king over this planet. Trying to rule by his own wrong ideas only brought trouble. Human beings must live by certain rules, or they get into trouble, too. The rules and laws we must obey come from those who are over us in power. The act of causing people to obey rules is called government. God's laws and His government are LOVE. (Romans 13:10.) His rules are that people must first of all love God by obeying Him, worshipping Him, praying to Him, trusting Him and keeping His Sabbath holy. Next to those most important laws are the laws that people should love other people. To begin, children should respect and obey their parents. (Ephesians 6:1-3.) They must never hate or kill or try to harm others. Instead, they should love every one — even their enemies; They must be true to others, honest, and always tell the truth. They must not want to take anything away from others. They should remember that it is better to give to others than to take from them. (Exodus 20:12-17.)
Why the World Is Unhappy
After Satan began thinking wrong thoughts in h is mind, he soon came to believe just the opposite of God's laws. His way of life has come to mean that children should disobey their parents, and not respect them. More than that, it mea ns disobeying God and having no respect for His laws. It means taking away what one wants from others, and lying and cheating and stealing. (John 8:44; I John 3:8.) You can see that God could not let Satan go on ruling the Earth forever, because Satan's way of ruling would bring only unhappiness and suffering. God decided that Satan could have power over the beings of Earth only until God should create a MAN who would obey God, carry out His orders, and prove that he was worthy to rule the Earth. God made Adam the father of all people who have ever been born. Because Adam was the first man, God gave him the chance to rule the Earth — if he would obey God and rule the Earth with God's laws instead of Satan's. (Genesis 1:28.) Satan knew all this. He knew Adam would take his place as Earth ruler if Adam obeyed God. He hated Adam, and therefore schemed to tempt him to disobey God. His clever plan was to get Adam to believe that the wrong way was the right way. God had made the man to be the head of his wife and his family. (Ephesians 5:23, 25.) Just as God rules with love over angels and human beings, so must the man rule with love over his own house. If any man fails in this, so would he fail in becoming a ruler in the Kingdom of God that is coming to Earth very soon. God had told Adam that he must be the head over Eve. Satan knew this. That is why he waited to catch her alone. Finally, when he had tempted her to pick the fruit which she was not to touch, she then tempted Adam. (Genesis 3:6.) Adam was not strong enough to keep from disobeying along with Eve. This proved that he could not be strong enough to obey God in all things, and therefore was not worthy to be ruler of the Earth.
Satan Still the Unseen Ruler
The way it turned out, Satan got to continue as the unseen ruler of the world until one should come who would conquer him by obeying God and never sinning. That man finally did come, but you will find out about him shortly. (Luke 4:5-8.) God let Satan stay on Earth, but God did not let him have any power to force anyone to sin. Thus today Satan has power only to try to lead or tempt people. As for human beings, God gave each of us a mind to think for ourselves and to decide whether we will obey God or whether we will obey Satan. (James 4:7.) Ashamed that they had believed the things that Satan had spoken through the snake, Adam and Eve tried to hide in the park. But God knew where they were. (Genesis 3:8.) "Have you disobeyed Me and eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil?" asked God. "Eve gave me the fruit to eat," Adam said, trying to put the blame on his wife. (Genesis 3:12.) Of course God was very disappointed. But He had allowed the man and woman to make their own choice, to decide whether to obey Him or Satan. In the same way God allows you and me to make the same choice for ourselves. We can choose God's right way of LOVE, and be happy, or we can choose Satan's wrong and false way of pride and of taking things we shouldn't take, and be punished and unhappy. (Deuteronomy 30:15-19.) God always punishes those who do not obey him, and so Adam and Eve were punished. They were given some leather clothes to wear (Gen. 3:21), and were put out of the beautiful park. (Verse 23.) God knew that if they were to stay there, they might also eat of the Tree of Life, and that would have meant that they would have lived forever in unhappiness and shame. (Verse 22.) To keep them from returning to the park, God placed a moving, flaming sword at the only entrance. (Verse 24.) Also, God told Eve that because she had sinned and caused Adam to sin, she would suffer pain any time she gave birth to a child. So
it has continually been with mothers since babies have been born. (Genesis 3:16.) Thus the firs t human beings, because of believing Satan instead of their Creator, lost the right to live forever in perfect peace and happiness and good health. Just imagine how wonderful it would have been if they had obeyed God and then could have eaten the fruit of the Tree of Life! They would have lived forever in perfect peace and happiness!
Earth Is Cursed
Furthermore, because of their sin, God put a curse on the ground outside of the park, so that weeds and thistles grew Out of it. (Gen. 3:17.) This made it more difficult for Adam and Eve to grow eatable things out of the soil, and they had to grow something out of it or starve. What was worst of all to bear was knowing that they would surely die. They didn't know when it would be, but now they believed that God meant what He said. They were very sorry that they had listened to Satan — the one who has been lying to people ever since that day in the Garden of Eden. After a time a son was born to them. They named him Cain — the very first baby in the world. Later they had another son whose name was Abel. (Genesis 4:1-2.) God had also told Adam that if he, Adam, did not prove to be a fit manager of his family, then long after he was dead a MAN would be born who would obey all of God's rules. "You may not understand this now," God later told Adam and Eve, "but because you have disobeyed and because those living after you will disobey, this MAN who is coming will die to save all of you." He went on to explain that the MAN who would give His life would be their own Creator, who would be named Jesus Christ, and that therefore His life was worth more than any or all human lives. (Philippians 2:5-8.) God pointed Out that when He would come to Earth to die, He would in a way pay for all the punishment that should be put upon human beings for the wrong things they do. Then men who would be thoroughly sorry for the wrong things they had done could be forgiven, and could be free of sin and could talk to God the Father and receive help from Him in being obedient the rest of their lives. "It would be better for human beings to die than to suffer more and more because of their sins," said God to Adam. "But just as your Creator will one day become MAN, and die and be brought back to life by God the Father to live and rule forever, so will those human beings who are willing to obey Me! " continued the Eternal.
How Sacrifices Began
Adam and Eve were also told that their Creator would be killed like a meek little lamb is killed — by the loss of the blood that gives it life. (Acts 8:32.) "To help you remember what is to come," said God, "and to remind you of your sins and that you should ask to be forgiven of them, you should at times kill a lamb and burn its flesh on an altar. Teach your sons to do this, too." Because of their parents' sin, Cain and Abel had to work hard when they grew older. Cain became a farmer, and raised fruits, vegetables and grain. Abel was a shepherd, and raised sheep. (Genesis 4:2.) They had no real closeness to God such as their father and mother had enjoyed before disobeying Him. But they learned to make sacrifices to God on stone altars, and this was their way of contacting God and asking forgiveness of things they did that were wrong. Of course today we don't make sacrifices. Jesus Christ, their Creator, came almost two thousand years ago to die for all of us, just as God promised. Today, if people are sorry because of disobeying God, they can show it by repenting and being baptized. Then God puts the power of His Holy Spirit into their minds so that they ca n understand and obey God's rules and laws. And today they can be close to God, and know that He hears them when they speak to Him by what we call prayer, and that He speaks to them when they read the Bible. But it was different with Cain and Abel. One day Cain and Abel brought their sacrifices to an altar. (Genesis 4:3-4.) Abel believed what his parents had taught him about why he should make sacrifices. He picked out from his flock the best lamb he could find. It was a little animal he had grown to love, but he was willing to give it up. Although Cain raised mostly fruits and vegetables, he had a few animals, too. Among them was a lamb he prized very highly, because he knew it would grow into an especially fine sheep — if he didn't kill and eat it. "Why should I give up my lamb?" Cain thought. "I don't see why it wouldn't be just as good for me to sacrifice some of the vegetables and fruit 1 have grown. That ought to be good enough for God." Cain's heart wasn't right. He didn't want to obey God. He was sure that God's way was not the best way for him. He did what seemed right in his own mind. Do you know that is the very thing that most people have been doing ever since? The Bible tells us that the way that seems right to a man is nearly always wrong, and that it will only bring him death. (Proverbs 14:12.) We should learn that God's way is always right, whether or not it looks right to our minds. That is a lesson not learned yet by many highly — educated people. If you can learn it now, it is worth more than most college educations.
The First Murderer!
Of course God could not accept Cain's sacrifice, which wasn't offered the way God said it should be. (Gen. 4:5.) When Cain realized that his sacrifice wasn't accepted, he became very envious of his brother. The envy turned to anger, then to hatred. Later, when the two brothers were out in a field away from other people, Cain turned on Abel and struck him with such violence that he killed him. (Gen. 4:8.) Thus the first baby born in the world became the first murderer! When Cain saw what he had done, he tried to hide. But God's voice came to him. "Where is Abel, your brother?" asked the Eternal. (Gen. 4:9.) Can you guess what Cain said) Did he confess that he killed Abel? Just as people today try to deny doing wrong things by putting the blame on others, so Cain tried to cover up his crime. "I don't know where Abel is," lied Cain. "Do you expect me to know all about what my brother does and where he goes? " To talk to God the way Cain did was very disrespectful. When anyone does a very wrong thing, he should confess it and pray to God right away for forgiveness. If he tries to cover up what he has done, he tells a lie and adds another sin to the first one. Satan must have felt very successful, because his lie to Eve was bringing on more and more unhappiness. Think how unhappy it made Adam and Eve when they lost their second son, and learned that their first son was a liar and a murderer! As punishment for what Cain had done, God put a curse on him. He told him that from then on he would be a wanderer on the Earth, and that he would have to leave his relatives. Furthermore, God put a mark on Cain to show that he was a murderer, but that Cain should not be murdered by anyone else. Instead, he was to live on with the miserable thought that he had murdered his own brother. (Gen. 4:11-15.) Adam and Eve had more children, and those children grew up and had children. Cain, who had married one of his sisters, also had children. (Gen. 4:16-17.) Another son born to Adam and Eve was named Seth. He, too, married a sister, and they had many children and grandchildren. Thus, as the years passed, many people came into the world. But most of them were not in touch with their Creator, and therefore it was not a very happy throng
of people. Me n became mean and greedy. Instead of working for things they needed or wanted, people cheated and robbed and killed.
Adam lived in these days a lot longer than any of us live. He was nine hundred and thirty years old when he died! That's only seventy years short of a thousand years. But he did die — just as God said he would if he were to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. (Gen. 2:17.)
By the time Adam died, there were many people living on Earth. But with all the space there was on the planet, they banded together in towns and cities instead of spreading out as God intended. (Gen. 4:17.) Huddled together by the hundreds and thousands led only to more strife and misery, men were so much against God's laws that it wasn't possible for them to dwell together and still love one another. The more people gathered in cities, the more men banded together in small armies to protect themselves. Others banded together to attack towns and cities and to seize the wealth from these places. Nothing was safe from greedy men. So it was that wars started on Earth. Man became so evil that killing hundreds of human beings at a time was a sport in which many loved to take part. (Gen. 6:5.)