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. (Titus 1:2.) He does not make mistakes. Therefore every word written by those men is 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 originally written 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.
Animal Brain Versus Human Mind
Although the Bible wasn't written until long after the garden of Eden, something happened there that caused all the unhappiness and suffering in the world. God made animals each after its own kind. He made cattle after the cattle kind, dogs after the dog kind. But He made humans after His own kind — after the God kind. He made man in the form and shape of God. God has hands and feet. But animals have hooves and paws and birds have claws. Animals have brains and animal brains have instinct. A dog has an instinct to bark when someone is coming. The dog doesn't have to think, "Shall I bark?" and then decide whether to bark. The dog just barks automatically by instinct. But a boy or girl or man or woman has to think and decide what to do and whether to do it. Humans have brains, too, but instead of natural instinct humans have to know and think and decide what to do. God made man out of matter from the dust of the ground, just as animals were made of matter out of the earth. Just like animals, man was made with only temporary physical existence. This existence comes only from breathing air, and a heart constantly pumping blood through the veins. And even this breath and blood circulation must be refueled by food and water from the ground. Man does not have real self-containing LIFE within himself any more than animals. Some babies die soon after birth. Some live eight or ten years. Some seventy to ninety years, but then all people die. God is different. God is composed of Spirit and has self-containing LIFE eternally, that never dies. God is immortal. Man has only a temporary existence like animals, but man was made in the image and likeness, or in form and shape like God. God made the first man, Adam, with a mind that could learn to work with matter or things that grow from the ground. But in order to have a relationship with God and get along with and work with other people, man was made to need to have the Holy Spirit of God added to his mind. Through it God would reveal to man's mind the knowledge to get along with other people as well as with God in peace and good companionship.
The Two Trees
So God tested the first man, Adam. He put the first man and woman in the beautiful park God had made, called Eden. In the midst of this beautiful park God had put two very special trees which had very special meaning. One was the tree of LIFE. Although God had not created man out of Spirit with self-containing immortal life, in this test God offered to give Adam and Eve the Holy Spirit and make them immortal just as God is immortal, if they would receive it by eating of the fruit of this tree of LIFE. And they had to reject the fruit of the other special tree, called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But in this test if they took to themselves the right to determine what is good and what is wrong and harmful, while rejecting the tree of LIFE, they would surely die. You see, they were going to die anyway, unless they received the LIFE-giving Spirit from God. The Holy Spirit is LIFE imparted from God — God's very own immortal LIFE. Now this tree of LIFE meant first receiving the Spirit of God which would impart into their minds the spiritual KNOWLEDGE from God of right and wrong in a close relationship with God and with other people. This was SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE — the way of LOVE to God and LOVE to man. God had made man so that he could learn by himself how to work with matter, but without this spiritual knowledge revealed through God's
Spirit direct from the mind of God, man could not learn by himself how to get along with other people in peace and cooperation and contentment and happiness. Neither could he have a close loving relationship with God. So you see the tree God offered Adam and Eve was not only a tree of LIFE, but also a tree of spiritual KNOWLEDGE from God. And the other tree was that of carnal self-produced knowledge which led to DEATH. These trees represented two kinds of knowledge. One, human self-thought-out knowledge resulting in death, and the other, God-given spiritual knowledge leading to eternal LIFE. Now WHY did God give them this test? The only kind of knowledge a human person can come to know by himself is knowledge that comes into his mind through his eyes, ears, or senses of smell, taste or feel. Unless God specially reveals it by His Spirit you cannot know anything except what you see, or hear, or smell, taste or feel. Try it on yourself. Now God loved Adam, just as He loves you and all people. God wanted him and all people to be happy, to enjoy living and to live forever. But Satan deceived Eve, and she led Adam to make the wrong choice. So he disobeyed God, rejected the tree of LIFE — which meant receiving spiritual knowledge from God's Spirit, and he decided to make up his own mind and decide by himself how to live. Now when Adam had sinned, GOD CLOSED UP THE TREE OF LIFE. That is, God shut off His Holy Spirit from Adam and all his children — the whole world — UNTIL Jesus Christ, the "second Adam," should come and pay the penalty of every person's sins so humans could be forgiven and then have the Holy Spirit offered to them. Otherwise, God would have been obliged to allow people to take the tree of LIFE, gain immortal life in discontent, unhappiness, sorrow, and suffering which would last forever! So God planned how all Adam's children, dying meanwhile, would one day be resurrected back to life AFTER Jesus Christ had paid the death penalty for their sins in their stead, and then, in that Judgment Day, all Adam's children will have the tree of LIFE opened to them. God is a very loving and merciful God.
A Closer Look
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. Satan was enviously angry when human beings were put on Earth to have power over all physical creatures. He looked for some way of turning Adam and Eve against their Creator, so that he could become their master. His opportunity came one day when Eve walked off by herself in the park. Suddenly she came upon a snake, which was formed quite differently then than the snakes that now exist. There was nothing unusual about meeting a snake, because all the animals were friendly with and obedient to Adam and Eve. What surprised Eve was that the snake, now under the power of Satan, spoke to her! "Did God tell you that you would die if you eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?" asked the snake. "He did," Eve answered. "We don't want to die, so we haven't touched the tree." "But human beings have immortal souls, and therefore they can never die," lied the snake. (Gen. 3:4.) "If you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will receive great wisdom instead of death. You will probably even become as wise as God." The more Eve thought about what the snake said, the more eager she became to eat some of the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Finally she could resist no longer. She went to the tree and plucked the first bit of fruit she could reach. It was pleasant to taste, so she took some to Adam, who also ate of it even though Eve told him what it was. By taking the forbidden fruit Adam and Eve took to themselves the right to decide what is good, and what is evil. In so doing, they rejected the God-centered way of God's spiritual Law. They chose the way that transgresses it! They pioneered in deciding for themselves what is right and what is wrong — what is righteousness and what is sin! And humanity has been doing what seems right in its own eyes ever since. In so doing, they rejected the fact that God's living, inexorable spiritual Law is the way of good — the cause of all good — and its transgression the way of evil — the cause of all evil. Since they and humanity in general after them have taken to themselves the determination of what is good, they of necessity have followed the way contrary to God's Law. They have followed the way that has produced all the vast mountain of evils that has descended on this sick world!
They Made Themselves Competitors of the Living God
Even though Adam and Eve rejected the voice of God, He did bequeath to mankind His revelation of basic knowledge. We have it in writing! The Holy Bible is that revelation. It contains history, instruction, revelation of basic knowledge and prophecy. It does not contain all knowledge. It contains that basic knowledge we could not otherwise find out. After eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve for the first time experienced the unpleasant feeling of gnawing guilt. They knew they had disobeyed God. They also had a discomforting awareness of being naked, and they felt ashamed. They wanted to cover themselves, so they laced fig leaves together to fashion aprons to put around themselves. Because they had disobeyed God by doing just one of the things He had told them not to do, Adam and Eve committed the very first human sin. That simple wrong act changed the life of every human being who has been born since then. Just as the super-angel Lucifer ran into trouble when he went against God's rules, human beings also fall into trouble when they break the rules they should live by for their own good. The laws we obey come from those 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, worshiping 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. 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 everyone, including even their enemies. They must be loyal and honest to others. They must not want to take anything away from others. They should remember that it is better to give than to take. (Ex. 20:12-17.)
Why the World Is Unhappy
After Satan began having rebellious thoughts, he soon came to believe just the opposite of God's laws. His way of life has come to mean doing just the opposite of what was mentioned in the two preceding paragraphs. (John 8:44; I John 3:8.) God allowed Satan to rule over the Earth only until MAN should be created and prove that he was worthy to rule by obeying God. A continuance of Satan's rule would have brought on only increasing unhappiness and suffering. Because Adam was the first man, God gave him the chance to rule the Earth. (Gen. 1:28.) The condition was that he had to remain obedient to God and have nothing to do with Satan's ways. Satan knew that if Adam failed m obedience, God would take away his chance to rule. Satan's scheme, because he hated Adam, was to trick him into believing that the wrong ways were the right ways. If Adam could be made to fall for that, he would be in trouble. God had made the man to be the head of his wife and children. (Eph. 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. A man who fails to do this will also fail in becoming a ruler in the Kingdom of God that is coming to Earth very soon. Satan knew that God expected Adam to be the head over Eve. That is why he waited to catch her alone. After he had tempted her to pick the fruit she wasn't to touch, Eve tempted Adam. (Gen. 3:6.) Adam wasn't strong enough to keep from disobeying along with Eve. This proved that he couldn't be strong enough to obey God in all things, and therefore wasn't 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, Jesus Christ, finally did come and qualify to be that ruler. (Luke 4:5-8.) He has not yet returned to the Earth as its chief ruler. God let Satan stay on Earth, but he wasn't given the power to force anyone to sin. Satan has power only to try to lead or tempt people. As for human beings, God gave them minds capable of thinking for themselves and deciding whether to obey God or Satan. (James 4:7.) Ashamed that they had believed the things spoken through the snake, Adam and Eve tried to hide in the park. But God knew where they were hiding. (Gen. 3:8.) "Have you disobeyed me by eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge?" God startled them by asking very near them. "Eve gave me the fruit," Adam finally answered, trying to shift the guilt to his wife. (Gen. 3:12.) God was disappointed. He had allowed the man and woman to make their choice of whom to obey. They had chosen the way that would bring only unhappiness. It was too late now for anything except painful regret, and that wouldn't do them any good. All they could look forward to was punishment. (Deut. 30:15-19.) They were given leather clothing to wear and were banished from the beautiful park that had been lovingly made just for them. God knew that if they were to stay there, they might also eat of the Tree of Life. That would have meant that they would have lived forever in unhappiness and shame. (Gen. 3:21-23.)
To prevent their returning to the Garden of Eden, a huge flaming sword in constant motion guarded the only entrance. (Gen. 3:24.) "Because you have sinned and tempted Adam to sin, you will suffer pain any time you give birth to a child," God told Eve. "So also shall it be with human mothers in the future." (Gen. 3:16.) Thus the first human beings, because of believing Satan instead of their Creator, lost the right to live on in peace, happiness and good health. How different it could have been if they had obeyed God and then have eaten the fruit of the Tree of Life. They would have lived happily forever! As another result of their sin, God put a curse on the ground outside the park. For the first time since the Earth was remade, weeds and thistles and thorns sprang out of the soil. (Gen. 3:17.) This was a hardship for Adam, who had to rely on difficult farming for their food. After a time a son was born to Adam and Eve. This first baby in the world was named Cain. Another son was soon born whose name was Abel. (Gen. 4:1-2.) Cain became a farmer, and raised fruit, vegetables and grain. Abel was a shepherd, and took care of sheep, which Adam and Eve found were also good to eat when cooked. (Gen. 4:2.) Cain and Abel learned to make sacrifices to God on stone altars. This was their way of contacting God and asking forgiveness for things they did that were wrong. Today we don't make sacrifices because Jesus Christ the Creator came almost two thousand years ago to die for all of us. Now, if people are truly sorry because of disobeying God, they can show it by repenting and being baptized. (Acts. 2:38.) Then God puts the power of His Holy Spirit into their minds so that they can understand and obey the Creator's laws. Thus they can be close to God and know that He hears them when they pray and that He speaks to them when they read the Bible. It was different with Cain and Abel. One day when they brought their sacrifices to the altar (Gen. 4:34) their attitudes turned out to be quite unalike. Abel picked from his flock the best lamb he could find. It was a little animal he had grown fond of, but he was willing to give it up. Although Cain raised mostly fruit and vegetables, he had a few animals. 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 it while it was a lamb. "Why should I give up this special lamb?" Cain thought. "Surely God should be satisfied with some of the best vegetables I have grown." Cain's heart wasn't right. He felt that God's way wasn't the best way for him, so he did what seemed right in his own mind. That is the very thing most people have been doing ever since. The Bible states that the way that seems right to a man is nearly always wrong, and can bring death. (Prov. 14:12.) God's way is always right, whether or not it seems right in human minds. That is a lesson not yet learned by most highly-educated people. If you can learn it now, you will be a very wise person.
The First Human Murderer!
God could not accept Cain's sacrifice, which wasn't the kind God said it should be. (Gen. 4:5.) When Cain learned that his sacrifice wasn't pleasing to God, he became very envious of his brother, who had done the right thing. The envy turned to anger and then to hatred. Later, when the two brothers were out in a field alone, Cain furiously turned on Abel and struck him with such force that he killed him. (Gen. 4:8.) The first baby born in the world thus became the first murderer! When Cain realized what he had done, he foolishly tried to hide. Of course God knew where he was, and confronted him. "Where is your brother?" asked the Eternal. (Gen. 4:9.) "I don't know," lied Cain, hoping that God wouldn't come across Abel's lifeless body. "How should I know my brother's whereabouts?" (Read Prov. 28:13.) Here was more unhappiness for Adam and Eve. Besides losing their second son, they learned that their first one was a murderer and a liar. As punishment for Cain, God put a curse on him. He had to leave his family and become a lone wanderer in the world. Furthermore, God made Cain a marked man because he had murdered Abel, but he made it plain that Cain should not be murdered by anyone. Instead, he was to live on with the miserable memory of killing his brother. (Gen. 4:11-15.) Adam and Eve had more children. They grew up and had children. Cain had married one of his sisters, and they had children. (Gen. 4:16-17.) Another son born to Adam and Eve was named Seth. He, too, took a sister for his wife, and they had children and many grandchildren. Many people came into the world as the years passed. The more humans increased, the more they fell away from their Creator. It wasn't a very happy throng. Men were naturally mean and greedy. Instead of working for things they needed and wanted, many of them cheated and robbed and killed for them. Adam lived a long time to see some of the results of his disobedience. He was nine hundred and thirty years old when he died. That's only thirty years short of a thousand. He was able to live so long because of being created with a perfect physical body. But he did die — just as God said he would if he ate of the Tree of Knowledge. (Gen. 2:17.)
By the time of Adam's death there were thousands of human beings on the Earth. Even with unlimited space to live in, they banded together in towns instead of spreading out as God intended. (Gen. 4:17.) Huddled together by adjoining dwellings led only to more strife and misery. Men were so much against God's ways that it wasn't possible for them to love one another. Living too closely together made matters much worse. The more they gathered in towns, the greater the need for one group to protect itself against another group. Other bands of men formed to attack towns and seize their wealth. Nothing was safe from the cruel and greedy. So it was that wars started on the Earth. Men became so evil that killing other men became one of their greatest sports. (Gen. 6:5.)