Before the fall of Satan, the Father consulted his Son in regard to the formation of man. They purposed to make this world, and create beasts and living things upon it, and to make man in the image of God, to reign as a ruling monarch over every living thing which God should create. When Satan learned the purpose of God, he was envious at Christ, and jealous because the Father had not consulted him in regard to the creation of man. Satan was of the highest order of angels; but Christ was above all. He was the commander of all Heaven. He imparted to the angelic family the high commands of his Father. The envy and jealousy of Satan increased. Until his rebellion all Heaven was in harmony, and perfect subjection to the government of God. Satan commenced to insinuate his dissatisfied feelings to other angels, and a number agreed to aid him in his rebellion. Satan was dissatisfied, with his position. Although very exalted, he aspires to be equal with God; and unless the Lord gratifies his ambition, determines to rebel, and refuse submission. He desires, yet dare not at once venture to make known his envious, hateful feelings. But he contents himself with gaining all he can to sympathize with him, as though deeply wronged. He relates to them his thoughts of warring against Jehovah.
True, faithful angels, listening, hear the awful threats of Satan, and immediately report to their great commander. Christ tells them that he and the Father are acquainted with the purposes of Satan, and that they are forbearing only to see how many will unite with him to rebel against the government of God. He tells them that every purpose of Satan is understood. It was the highest crime to rebel against the government of God. All Heaven seemed in commotion. The angels were marshaled in companies, each with a higher commanding angel at their head. All the angels were astir. Satan was warring against the government of God, because ambitious to exalt himself and unwilling to submit to the authority of God's Son, Heaven's great commander.
While some of the angels joined Satan in his rebellion, others reasoned with him to dissuade him from his purposes, contending for the honor and wisdom of God in giving authority to his Son. Satan urged, for what reason was Christ endowed with unlimited power and such high command above himself! He stood up proudly, and urged that he should be equal with God. He makes his boasts to his sympathizers that he will not submit to the authority of Christ.
At length all the angels are summoned to appear before the Father, to have each case decided. Satan unblushingly makes known to all the heavenly family, his discontent, that
Christ should be preferred before him, to be in such close conference with God, and he be uninformed as to the result of their frequent consultations. God informs Satan that this he can never know. That to his Son will he reveal his secret purposes, and that all the family of Heaven, Satan not excepted, were required to yield implicit obedience. Satan boldly speaks out his rebellion, and points to a large company who think God is unjust in not exalting him to be equal with God, and in not giving him command above Christ. He declares he cannot submit to be under Christ's command, that God's commands alone will he obey. Good angels weep to hear the words of Satan, and to see how he despises to follow the direction of Christ, their exalted and loving commander.
The Father decides the case of Satan, and declares that he must be turned out of Heaven for his daring rebellion, and that all those who united with him in his rebellion, should be turned out with him. Then there was war in Heaven. Christ and his angels fought against Satan and his angels, for they were determined to remain in Heaven with all their rebellion. But they prevailed not. Christ and loyal angels triumphed, and drove Satan and his rebel sympathizers from Heaven.
When Adam and Eve were placed in the beautiful garden, they had everything for their happiness which they could desire. But he chose in his all-wise arrangements to test
their loyalty before they could be rendered eternally secure. They were to have his favor, and he to converse with them, and they with him. Yet he did not place evil out of their reach. Satan was permitted to tempt them. If they endured the trial they were to be in perpetual favor with God and the heavenly angels.
Angels of God visited Adam and Eve, and told them of the fall of Satan, and warned them to be on their guard. They cautioned them not to separate from each other in their employment, for they might be brought in contact with this fallen foe. If one of them were alone, they would be in greater danger than if both were together. The angels enjoined upon them to closely follow the instructions God had given them, for in perfect obedience they were safe, and this fallen foe could then have no power to deceive them. God would not permit Satan to follow the holy pair with continual temptations. He could have access to them only at the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Eve wandered away from the side of her husband, and was gazing with mingled curiosity and admiration upon the fruit of the forbidden tree. Satan, in the form of a serpent, conversed with Eve. The serpent had not the power of speech, but Satan used him as a medium. It was Satan that spoke, not the serpent. Eve was deceived, and thought it was the serpent. This serpent was a very beautiful
creature with wings; and while flying through the air his appearance was very bright, resembling the color of burnished gold. He did not go upon the ground, but went from place to place through the air, and ate fruit like man.
Eve's curiosity was aroused. Instead of fleeing from the spot, she listened to hear a serpent talk. 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 enters into a controversy with the serpent. And he said unto the woman, "Yea, hath God said ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" He begins his controversy in the form of a question. Eve answers, "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 answers, "Ye shall not surely die; for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods knowing good and evil."
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, which is purely supposition, and a miserable deception. 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 insinuates 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 says, If ye eat "ye shall not surely die." 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. She took the fruit and found her husband and related to him
the words spoken by the serpent, and told him that by eating the fruit she had felt, instead of death, a pleasing 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. 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 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 seized the fruit and quickly ate it, and like Eve felt not immediately its ill effects. Adam disobeyed and fell.
Eve thought herself capable of deciding between right and wrong. The flattering hope of entering a higher state of knowledge 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 related to their Maker the words of the serpent, they would have been delivered at once from his artful temptation.
God instructed our first parents in regard
to the tree of knowledge, and they were fully informed in regard to the fall of Satan, and the danger of listening to his suggestions. God 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. Immediately the covering of light about them disappeared, and under a sense of their guilt, and loss of their divine covering, a shivering seized them, and they tried to cover their exposed forms. 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.
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 every thing 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 and confiding in God, she basely mistrusted his goodness and cherished the words of Satan.
Their crime is now before them in its true
and awful 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 through 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.
It had been Satan's plan to lead Adam and Eve to disobey God, receive his frown, hoping that they then would eat of the tree of life, and live in sin. But God said he would drive the transgressors from the garden. Angels were immediately commissioned to guard the way of the tree of life, that they might
gain no access to it. As Adam and Eve hear the sound of God's majestic approach, they seek to hide themselves from his inspection, whom they delighted while in their innocence and holiness, to meet.
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 God declares that they shall eat of it, that is, 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 that he had hitherto enjoyed. He told Adam, "Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat of the herb of the field. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken, for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." God again sets the penalty of death before them, and declares they must suffer it. Holy angels were sent to drive out the disobedient pair from the garden, while other angels guarded the way to the tree of life. Each one of these mighty angels had in his right hand a glittering sword.
Adam was driven out from that beautiful garden to till the earth from whence he came. And God guarded the tree of life with flaming
swords which turned every way, lest man should eat of it and perpetuate a life of sin.
In humility and inexpressible sadness Adam and Eve left the lovely garden wherein they had been so happy until they disobeyed the command of God. The atmosphere was changed, and it was no longer unvarying as before the transgression. God clothed them with coats of skins to protect them from the sense of chilliness and then of heat to which they are exposed.
All Heaven mourned on account of the disobedience and fall of Adam and Eve, which brought the wrath of God upon the whole human race. They were cut off from communing with God, and were plunged in hopeless misery. The law of God could not be changed to meet man's necessity, for in God's arrangement it was never to lose its force, or give up the smallest part of its claims.
The Son of God pities fallen man. He knows that the law of his Father is as unchanging as himself. He can only see one way of escape for the transgressor. He offers himself to his Father as a sacrifice for man, to take their guilt and punishment upon himself, and redeem them from death by dying in their place, and thus pay the ransom. The Father consents to give his dearly beloved Son to save the fallen race; and through his merits and intercession promises to receive man again into his favor, and to restore holiness to as many as should be willing to accept
the atonement thus mercifully offered, and obey his law. For the sake of his dear Son the Father forbears a while the execution of death, and to Christ he commits the fallen race.