The Book of Genesis doesn’t say much about Adam and Eve’s lives be- fore they ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. There are bits of information here and there and through these we assemble a picture of their life. However, the limited amount of information Genesis does provide is all we need in order to assess what happened in the Garden.

First of all, God created Adam and Eve in His image on the 6th day of creation week.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:26 -28, emphasis added).

Being created in God’s image meant that Adam and Eve were in harmony with God. Their hearts, thoughts, emotions and behaviour were in complete harmony with the Creator’s moral law of agape love. They had unconditional, impartial, self-sacrificing, other-centered love toward God and each other—they were “perfect” in the same way that Lucifer had been—tâmıym—“entire.” They were to multiply and fill the earth with human beings who had agape love in their hearts.

God also gave them “dominion” over the earth and all its living beings. “Dominion,” râdâh, means “to tread down, i.e. subjugate; reign, rule.” As rulers of the earth Adam and Eve were supposed to do two things—“to dress and to keep” the Garden. These words mean:


To dress: âbad; to work (in any sense); by implication, to serve, dress, husbandman, keep, labor.

To keep: shâmar; properly, to hedge about (as with thorns), i.e. guard; generally, to protect, attend to, preserve, regard, watch.

Why was there a need to “protect” the earth when there was no sin yet? There was a need because Satan was at large—they were to protect the earth from him. They were not to eat of his Tree.

Adam and Eve were to have “dominion,” to rule the earth with agape. We must not misunderstand what “dominion” meant before sin. It didn’t imply force or arbitrary control back then. Satan has taken this word and given it a connotation of force and violence. In fact, Satan has done that to all words—such as the word “justice” for instance, as we shall see.

God also gave mankind its food—“every herb that yields seed” and “every tree whose fruit yields seed.”

And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day (Genesis 1:29- 31).

These were the foods He appointed as the optimum nutrition for the human body and optimum spiritual connection to God. Our food was to be comprised of a vegetarian diet. Animals were to be loved and cared for. They were to be a great source of pleasure and joy for us.

“The Lord God” would come to visit Adam and Eve “in the cool of the day”—in the morning. The couple had complete freedom in the Garden but was cautioned not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

As soon as Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden Tree, their characters changed— they were no longer driven by agape love. Instead they were moved by a desire to save themselves and a desire to appease their new arbitrary ruler. They also became entirely self-oriented. Their focus switched from caring for the earth and each other to procuring their own well being—saving their own skin even at the cost of the other. It didn’t take long at all before accusations began to fly.

“The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate” (Genesis 3:12-13).


God found Himself between two quarrelling children—something all parents will understand. “I didn’t do it, he did.” ‘No, she did it!” Adam was quick to blame not only Eve but God as well, “the woman whom You gave to be with me…” And Eve for her part excused herself by blaming the serpent. Why were they pointing fingers? The answer is simple: they were afraid. They were trying to escape blame in order to evade punishment. Why?

The answer is the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This “Knowledge” had taken over their minds, teaching them to look at things from the point of view of a new duality—Good and Evil—and through this new mind-set they perceived God as partly Good and partly Evil. Because they now perceived God as both Good and Evil, as an accuser and as one who was coming to punish them, they were filled with doubt and fear and as a result they hid from Him. It was fear that caused them to separate themselves from God—unfounded fear. And the moment they shied away from God, they im- mediately began dying—“a dying you will die,” according to Jeff Benner’s Mechanical Translation of Genesis—because He is the only source of life. They entered a state of entropy—a state of walking toward decay and disorder. Adam and Eve experienced an immediate spiritual death which eventually brought physical death as well.

What happened to Adam and Eve is expressed in the passage we have been studying in Ezekiel 28. Speaking directly to Satan, the passage says:

You defiled your sanctuaries by the multitude of your iniquities (Ezekiel 28:18).

The word “defiled”—châlal—expresses this process of decay. Among its many meanings are such words as “to wound,” “to profane,” “to break,” “to pollute,” “prostitute,” “slay,” “sorrow,” “stain,” “wound,” “dissolve.”

We, the human race, became Lucifer’s “sanctuaries” and this is what he has done to us. He has wounded us, dissolved us, defiled, broken, polluted, slain, and stained us. This is that same word which contains the word “flute” as one of its meanings. Lucifer, the cosmic pied piper, has done all these things to the human race. What he has done is the opposite of the theory of evolution—he brought chaos from order. Order does not come from chaos—it is chaos that comes from order—this principle is found in the second law of thermodynamics, entropy. The chaos we are experiencing is a direct result of deviating from God’s “order,” and it was Satan who brought it forth.

Prior to eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam and Eve “were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25). But after eating they became “ashamed:”

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings (Genesis 3:7).

What is the meaning of their nakedness? Is there a spiritual significance to this? Are we to understand this literally or symbolically? We know that in the Bible, “garments” are extremely symbolic. The prophet Zechariah, for instance, writes:

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him. And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel. Then He answered and spoke to those who stood be- fore Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.” And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the Lord stood by. Then the Angel of the Lord admonished Joshua, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts:

‘If you will walk in My ways,
And if you will keep My command,
Then you shall also judge My house,
And likewise have charge of My courts;
I will give you places to walk
Among these who stand here’” (Zechariah 3:1-7, emphasis added).

“Garments” are called either “filthy garments” or “robe of righteousness:”

Notwithstanding the defects of the people of God, Christ does not turn away from the objects of His care. He has the power to change their raiment. He removes the filthy garments, He places upon the repenting, believing ones His own robe of righteousness, and writes pardon against their names on the records of heaven. He confesses them as His before the heavenly universe. Satan their adversary is shown to be an accuser and deceiver. God will do justice for His own elect {COL 169.3, emphasis added}.

The word “garment” is a metaphor that can represent either God’s imputed righteousness or Satan’s iniquity. Satan’s iniquity is represented as “filthy garments” and God’s imputed righteousness as “rich robes.” The King James Bible simply says, “I will clothe thee with a change of raiment.”

When God took away Joshua’s filthy robes He removed his iniquity from him, restoring him to the same condition Adam and Eve were in before they ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Then He directed him to continue in His ways, in the path of life, in the moral law of agape love — the Tree of Life. This is the equivalent to Jesus’ telling the adulterous woman, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” (John 8:11).

In another instance, when Shechem the Hivite violated Dinah, Jacob’s daughter by Leah, Jacob’s sons took awful revenge by killing him along with all the males of his tribe. Then God said to Jacob:

“Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother.” And Jacob said to his house- hold and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments” (Genesis 35: 1-2, emphasis added).

Jacob equated putting away “foreign gods” with “purification” and changing of “garments.” Foreign gods are impure—they are really fallen angels, whose characters consist of an impure mixture of Good and Evil. They teach arbitrary reward for Good works, and arbitrary punishment for Evil works.

God also instructed Moses to make holy garments for Aaron:

And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty (Exodus 28:2, emphasis added).

What makes a garment holy? The word “holy” means clean, pure, set apart, without contamination. “Holy garments” can only have symbolic meaning. They are a symbol of righteousness, purity, something undefiled by “mixture.”

Solomon says,

Let your garments always be white, and let your head lack no oil (Ecclesiastes 9:8, emphasis added).

White only—not a mixture of white and black, as the mixture found in the Knowledge of Good (white) and Evil (black). And Isaiah says,

Awake, awake! Put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city! For the uncircumcised and the unclean shall no longer come to you (Isaiah 52:1, emphasis added).

Another passage in Isaiah indicates that the garments of iniquity are really just “webs:”

Their webs will not become garments, nor will they cover them- selves with their works; their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands (Isaiah 59:6, emphasis added).

Notice how garments, which cover the body, are paralleled with cover- ing oneself by “works.” Their “webs” “will not become garments” be- cause they are “works” rooted in iniquity. The above passage seems to indicate that those who live in the realm of iniquity, attempt to cover themselves with “works”—but these are just webs.

Elsewhere, Isaiah talks about the “garments of salvation,” the “robe of righteousness:” 

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels (Isaiah 61:10, emphasis added).

Jesus Himself is portrayed as clothed in “glorious apparel” because He “speaks” in righteousness, God’s law of love:

Who is this who comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah, this One who is glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength? — “I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save” (Isaiah 63:1, emphasis added).

The prophet Joel finally gets to the crux of the matter, telling us to stop taking this symbol literally, and to perceive its vital spiritual significance:

So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness (Joel 2:13, emphasis added).

Joel seems to be saying, “People, don’t you get it? Garments are symbols of your heart. Stop doing silly things like tearing up your robes. Instead, let your hearts of flesh love mercy, love kindness, let go of violence—let God cleanse you!”

Ultimately then, garments are a symbol of what is in our hearts, where the root of our thoughts and actions are. The heart is the “seat of judgment.” Are our hearts pure or mixed, single or double-minded? We are born with a double-minded nature, but if we yield our hearts to God, He is able to transform us back into His image, into His singleness of character.

The God who wants to save us from the destruction of Satan’s double- minded law of Good and Evil hears a cry, such as David’s, speedily:

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me (Psalm 51:10, emphasis added).

The clean heart referred to here by David is a heart that has no mixture, no contamination, no corruption.

Were Adam and Eve literally naked? The verse says they were, but what is much more important is the metaphor. Laodicea, the last church of Revelation chapter three, is also naked, but doesn’t know it. Speaking directly to Laodicea, Jesus says, “You do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17, emphasis added).

Laodicea is naked after sin—Adam and Eve were naked before sin. This seems to indicate that nakedness in itself must not be a bad thing—after all, that’s how God had created Adam and Eve in the first place, and He had created them pure.

It was after they ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil that Adam’s and Eve’s eyes were open to see their nakedness and as they saw it, they were filled with shame and fear. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil brought an awareness of their nakedness that they didn’t have before eating from it. Laodiceans, on the other hand, are naked and don’t realize it — they are blind to it. Why? Because Laodiceans think there is nothing wrong with their condition. They truly believe that they are in the right path and have the truth.

In their shame, Adam and Eve sewed garments out of fig leaves. Why fig leaves? Could it be that these garments were fashioned out of the Tree they had eaten from, sewn from the “cloth” of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? If that is so, then this Tree was not an apple Tree, but a fig Tree (which immediately brings to mind Jesus’ cursing of the fig tree). And did the garments they sewed have the same meaning as Joshua’s “filthy garments?” Were they covering themselves with “works,” which are not really coverings, but webs?

The word “ashamed” in Hebrew is buwsh—“to pale, i.e. by implication to be ashamed; also be confounded, confused” (Strong’s Concordance).
In Psalm ninety-seven,
buwsh is translated as “confounded:”

The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory. Con- founded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods (Psalm 97:6-7, KJV, emphasis added).

In Psalm seventy-one it is translated as “confusion:”

In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion (Psalm 71:1, KJV).

The prophet Daniel contrasted God and His righteousness with our un- righteousness, calling our unrighteousness “confusion of faces.” He says:

O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces (Daniel 9:7, KJV, emphasis added).

O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee. To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgive- nesses, though we have rebelled against him (Daniel 9:8-9, KJV, emphasis added).

God is merciful and forgiving, and yet we have rebelled against Him. Why? Because we have sinned against Him—we have “missed the mark” about Him. Therefore, to us “belongeth confusion of faces.” We see Him through the prism of the Knowledge of Good and Evil—We see Him as a God of love and a God of wrathful punishment and we therefore reflect the same.

“To us belongeth confusion of faces” implies that our characters are two-faced. Our “faces” change between love and wrath, and that is so because we have a mixed character of Good and Evil. This is “confusion of faces”—a loving face that transforms into a spiteful face and vice versa.

As a consequence, we also have a confused view of God because we make Him to be in our image. We believe that God is mercy, for sure; but we also think that His mercy is mixed with punitive justice. But is it? How does the Bible define God’s justice? We have devoted an entire chapter to this subject because it is of extreme importance in the context of the great controversy.

We all know that our characters fluctuate between Good and Evil. When someone is evil to us, we are evil to him or her. Or, if someone is good to us, we are good to them. Our goodness is based on the goodness of the people around us, not on an inner, steadfast, unchanging character like the one we see in Jesus Christ. The Knowledge of Good and Evil has made us that way—“to us belongeth confusion of faces.” But God is agape—He does not change. If God changed in direct proportion to our works, being good to us when we are good, and being mean to us when we are evil, then God would be conditional. This would mean He would no longer be a God of unconditional agape love.

The Hebrew word Daniel uses for “confusion” is bosheth, a derivative of buwsh (the word “ashamed” in Genesis 2: 25). Bosheth means “shame (the feeling and the condition, as well as its cause); by implication an idol: ashamed, confusion,” (Strong’s Dictionary).

This word, bosheth, is very interesting because it is connected to idols. Idols are Satan’s counterfeit of true religion. According to the Scriptures, those who worship idols made of wood or silver and gold are in truth worshipping a false god. Who were these gods? The Bible is very clear on this. Speaking of the children of Israel, Moses wrote:

They provoked Him to jealousy with foreign gods; with abominations they provoked Him to anger. They sacrificed to demons, not to God, to gods they did not know, to new gods, new arrivals that your fathers did not fear (Deuteronomy 32:16-17, emphasis added).

By making sacrifices to “foreign gods,” idols, the people were in effect worship- ping demons, not Jehovah, the Creator. “Demons” and “gods” are one and the same thing—fallen angels who accepted Lucifer’s moral law of Good and Evil. They are the ones who brought confusion onto the earth. In the Book of Revelation, demons are also connected to gods—images, idols made of stones and wood:

But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk (Revelation 9:20).

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil brought confusion into Adam and Eve’s minds because it contains an opposing duality. Good and Evil is a mixture of two opposites that have no business being paired together—they ought to have nothing in common, but in this Tree they are inseparable.

It is Satan’s work to mingle evil with good, and to remove the distinction between good and evil (The Review and Herald, December 4, 1900) – {7BC, 958.1, emphasis added}.

How is it that men who are at war with the government of God come into pos- session of the wisdom which they sometimes display? Satan himself was educated in the heavenly courts, and he has a knowledge of good as well as of evil. He mingles the precious with the vile, and this is what gives him power to deceive. But because Satan has robed himself in garments of heavenly bright- ness, shall we receive him as an angel of light? The tempter has his agents, educated according to his methods, inspired by his spirit, and adapted to his work. Shall we cooperate with them? Shall we receive the works of his agents as essential to the acquirement of an education {CT 378.2, emphasis added}?

Mingling the “precious with the vile” is what gives Satan “power to deceive.” What does Good have to do with Evil? Why are they conjoined into a Tree that is contrasted to the Tree of Life? Isn’t this a recipe for confusion? Confusion is the natural result of Satan’s law.

In Isaiah 14:4, Lucifer is addressed as the king of Babylon. Babylon is a symbol of his kingdom. Not surprisingly, Babylon means “confusion.” What causes Babylon’s confusion? It is Babylon’s gods—Good and Evil demons. Babylon’s confusion springs from the gods who ruled it by the moral law of Good and Evil—the law of arbitrary reward and arbitrary punishment. At one moment the gods are beneficent, rewarding the good… the next moment they bestow severe punishments for any misdemeanour. The people are compelled to offer great sacrifices, even their own children, in order to keep the gods’ wrath at bay.

Demons, the third of the angels who followed Lucifer, accepted this law as being better than God’s law. This means that they themselves now live by this law—they also reward and punish each other because they have a dualistic character of Good and Evil. They are also unpredictable, volatile, because to them as well, “belongs” “confusion of faces.”

Lucifer and his city Babylon shall fall and cease to exist because of the innate violence contained in their “iniquity.”

It shall come to pass in the day the Lord gives you rest from your sorrow, and from your fear and the hard bondage in which you were made to serve, that you will take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say: “How the oppressor has ceased, the golden city ceased” (Isaiah 14:4, emphasis added)!

The city of confusion is broken down; every house is shut up, so that none may go in. There is a cry for wine in the streets, all joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone. In the city desolation is left, and the gate is stricken with destruction (Isaiah 24:10-12, emphasis added).

And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all (Revelation 18:21, emphasis added).

This opens a new line of understanding for the events in the Garden, and explains why as soon as Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil they became filled with fear of God— they saw Him as a violent God. They became confused because they entered a new realm—the kingdom of Good and Evil.

Adam and Eve knew God was love… but now they perceived Him to be harsh, mean and punitive. They had gone against His command… surely God was angry with them… wasn’t He coming to punish them?

But God doesn’t change. So what changed? Adam and Eve—they changed. They began to see the world in shades of Good and Evil. They saw themselves that way, saw each other that way, and also God.

What really happened to Adam and Eve is that they became “unbelievers” in the biblical sense of the word. They no longer believed in the God of agape love, but in a violent god. Their faith was based on a dual god, who is not God at all. Paul called himself an unbeliever when he worshipped such a god:

And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief (1 Timothy 1:12-13 KJV).

Paul’s actions before meeting Jesus Christ reflect the god he believed in; he was a persecutor and injurious—causing harm to others. As such, he was blasphemous—he told lies about God.

From the moment Adam and Eve ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil humanity entered an era of “survival of the fittest.” Why? Because they no longer saw themselves as deserving God’s love and care. They no longer believed they were worthy to rely on God for their sustenance and subsistence. Jesus Christ overturned this wrong idea about God by saying such things as,

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?… Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith (Matthew 6:26, 28, 29 30)?

Having lost their knowledge of God’s true character, and fearing the worst from Him, Adam and Eve took things into their own hands. This, God explained to them as He revealed the curse they had brought upon themselves and the earth, through the Knowledge of Good and Evil:

To the woman He said:

“I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.”

Then to Adam He 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 you shall 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 you shall 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 3:16-19).

The marital relationship was cursed by the principles of Satan’s law—the strongest would rule with force over the weakest. The earth itself was cursed, and death would become the lot of mankind. We would eat our bread by sweat of our face, no longer having faith that God could provide for us. We would rely on our “toil”—a works system—not on God’s grace. Our loss of faith in God would lead us to behave in all sorts of egotistical, unjust and fraudulent ways. The strongest, most violent and forceful would leave the weak and helpless behind without a second thought.

Good behaviour would be rewarded and evil behaviour punished—all done arbitrarily, so as to fit the virtue or vice. And since human beings would come to believe wholeheartedly in the wisdom of this principle (not realizing that it was coming from Satan per se, but thinking that this is general wisdom and common sense) we ourselves would use this moral law in our dealings with each other—rewarding and punishing each other as we saw fit. Human beings, made gloriously in the image of the God of agape love, would now become like Satan—transformed into his image.

But the worst and most damaging result of this new paradigm was that humanity would now see God through this prism—we no longer would see Him as a God of agape love but as a God of Good and Evil, a God of reward and punishment. This was the fundamental lie the serpent told Eve:

“You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4,5, emphasis added).

God was not Good and Evil; His Tree was the Tree of Life, a Tree altogether set apart from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Tree of Life represented His law of agape love, which is His character, the very essence of His being. So then what do we make of God’s own words:

Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil” (Genesis 3:22).

Did God know Good and Evil? Yes, He knew it, but not in the same sense that Satan, his angels, and Adam and Eve knew Good and Evil. Satan and his followers knew Good and Evil in an experiential way—they were in harmony with it, living by it and experiencing its consequences. God knew Good and Evil’s fallacious claims and intricacies—He could even predict its eventual demise—and He knew what it would do to our minds. God knew what Good and Evil was all about, but He did not agree with it, He was not in harmony with it—He did not think or act in terms of Good and Evil. In fact He hated iniquity—which is the moral law of Good and Evil—according to Hebrews 1:9.

God also knew Good and Evil intimately in a very particular way: He knew the pain and suffering it produces. God was already suffering because of the rise of Good and Evil, and He knew very well what mankind was about to suffer under it. Any parent knows that the pain of witnessing his or her child’s pain is much greater than their own pain. And God would not only intimately feel the pain of every being born on this earth, but He Himself would one day experience it personally as He hung on a cross.

Being perceived as a God of Good and Evil created a real problem for God, because no matter what He said or did, it would be wrongly interpret- ed. We would perceive everything He did through the lens of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and this would keep us estranged from Him.

Let’s examine, for instance, that moment when Adam and Eve ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself” (Genesis 3:6-10, emphasis added).

We read this and conclude that God was threatening Adam and Eve. We assume that He would kill them if they disobeyed Him. This makes the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil simply a test of obedience where, if Adam and Eve failed the test God would punish them with death. This is the predominant interpretation of this text. But there is something much, much deeper happening here! Let’s analyze this.

First, we must establish that prior to eating from the forbidden tree Adam and Eve had never expressed a fear of God. God had never been frightening. Second, there is no indication that God’s initial command to not eat from the Tree of Good and Evil had elicited any fear in Adam:

Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:15-17).

Now, we know that some commands are meant to elicit fear, and indeed do imply punishment—“do this or else…” But there is no such indication of this anywhere in this text. There is nothing suggesting that Adam cowered from God’s command. If that is so, then there could be nothing in God’s voice to cause Adam to fear Him. Had there been any hint of violence from God, His words “you shall surely die,” would have made Adam recoil in terror and he would have stayed away from his Maker even then.

God’s statement that Adam would surely die was a statement of fact, not a threat; it was an absolute truth, because God does not lie. But through the lens of Good and Evil we have interpreted this to mean that God Himself would kill Adam and Eve as a punishment for disobeying Him. Had this been the case, Adam would have hid from God as soon as the command was given, but he did no such thing. Fear came in after, not before Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden Tree.
Death did not come from Christ, the Creator:

Christ never planted the seeds of death in the system. Satan planted
these seeds
when he tempted Adam to eat of the tree of knowledge which
meant disobedience to God (Manuscript 65, 1899) [published in F. D.
Nichol, Ellen G. White and Her Critics]. – {1BC 1082.5}. 

When Satan contradicted God by telling Eve that she would “not surely die” he gave himself away. He gave proof that death came from him and not from God. How so? Because if God had been the cause of death Satan would not have hidden that knowledge. But because he himself would be the source of death, he hid that information behind a lie so that the woman would go ahead and eat of his Tree.

When the law of Good and Evil took over Adam’s and Eve’s minds, it also erased their knowledge of God’s agape love and filled them with a false knowledge of the Creator. The Creator would now be blamed for everything Satan himself did.

What then truly brought fear into being? It was Satan’s “iniquity,” which is imbued with violence – this is what brought fear into being. Take a look at the next verse:

Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid be- cause I was naked; and I hid myself” (Genesis 3:10).

Was God playing mind games with Adam? Didn’t He know where Adam was? Why was God calling out to him?

God knew what had happened to Adam’s mind. He knew that Adam would interpret everything He did in the wrong way now. So why did God ask such a question? Wasn’t it to show Adam that God was not trying to chase him down? If God was really out to get Adam He wouldn’t have asked where he was—He would have stealthily swooped down and taken Adam by surprise, giving him no chance to escape. Isn’t that how we try to apprehend the guilty? The very fact that God was conversing with Adam was a way of showing him that He hadn’t changed. God had come in peace as He always did, and had no intentions of punishing him.

Adam’s response, “I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself (Genesis 3:10)” reveals Adam’s mind-set—not God’s. It was Adam’s “nakedness” that created fear in him, and God’s next question pointed to the real cause of his nakedness:

Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat (Genesis 3:11)?

This reveals much about God. Why did He ask, “Who told you that you were naked?” It is as if God is saying, “How do you know you are naked, Adam? You weren’t supposed to know that—I didn’t want you to know that. I didn’t tell you this—so who did?” Adam had lost the understanding of the righteousness of God — His love, His mercy, His unconditional grace—and as a result he realized he was naked.

God’s next sentence is even more enlightening: “Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” Isn’t God pointing Adam to the true culprit here? In other words, “Did you eat from that tree, because now I see that the Tree is making you afraid of Me. And you are feeling naked in front of Me, and you are even hiding from Me! You have chocolate all over your face, Adam, so I know you put your hand in the cookie jar!”

God’s response to Adam clearly points to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil as the cause of his fear. And we all know who was lurking around that Tree.

Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate” (Genesis 3:11-13).

The serpent—where was it, all this time? It was there all along, work- ing behind the scenes, working on their minds through the moral law of Good and Evil, causing them to see God as an angry judge.

The cunning serpent, the “wisest” of all creatures, that fallen angel who had “corrupted his wisdom by reason of his beauty” was the source of their fear. Here at the Garden he was implementing the law he believed was better than God’s. Here, for the first time, we can see exactly the results of the iniquity that was “found in him” and which filled him with “violence within.”

Prior to eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam and Eve knew God and were not afraid, ashamed, confounded or con- fused about His character. As soon as they ate from the forbidden Tree, however, they entered a state of confusion about Him. They lost their trust in Him. How can one trust a Jekyll and Hyde?

They ran away from Him who was their loving Maker and Friend. They entered a state of abject fear, thinking He was coming to punish them. Iniquity brought confusion into their minds, because they now began to see God as both Good and Evil. By distancing themselves from God, the only source of life in the universe, they spiralled steadily down towards death. Within nine hundred and thirty years, Adam, who had been created perfect, was in the grave.

Adam and Eve’s choice to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil had great significance and tremendous repercussions throughout the universe. They in effect abdicated dominion of the earth to Satan, making him its new ruler. By believing Satan and “eating” of his Tree they elected a new god, a new master, a new kingdom, a new law—and now a cruel arbitrary despot, pretending to be in the place of God, would rule over the earth.

At his creation Adam was placed in dominion over the earth. But by yielding to temptation he became Satan’s captive. The dominion passed to his conqueror. Thus Satan became “the god of this world.” 2 Corinthians 4:4. But Christ by His sacrifice would not only redeem man, but recover the dominion he had forfeited. All that was lost by the first Adam will be restored by the second. See Micah 4:8 { EP 34.1}.

Satan became the “god of this world” as well as the “ruler” of this world. But Christ would come to our rescue. He would redeem us, recover the dominion we forfeited, and restore all that was lost by the first Adam—the true knowledge of God.

When Satan overcame Adam and Eve, he thought he had gained possession of this world, “because,” said he, “they have chosen me as their ruler.” He claimed it was impossible that forgiveness be granted; the fallen race were his rightful subjects, and the world was his. But God gave His own Son to bear the penalty of transgression. Thus they might be restored to His favour and brought back to their Eden home. The great controversy begun in heaven was to be decided in the very world, on the same field, that Satan claimed as his {EP 35.3}.

Satan claimed our world as his own. He hijacked us, he kidnapped us. How did he do it? He took us captive by twisting our view of God’s character. We began seeing God as a harsh ruler, a stern judge. As a consequence we feared Him, and fear kept us estranged from Him. Christ would come to rescue us; He would come to free us—He would do whatever it took— to bring back to us the true knowledge of God. Only then would we be re- deemed, “restored,” “brought back” to our Eden state of communing with God face to face, without fear. Then Zacharia’s prophecy would be fulfilled:

“Blessed is the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited and redeemed His people, And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
In the house of His servant David,
As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, Who have been since the world began,
That we should be saved from our enemies
And from the hand of all who hate us,
To perform the mercy promised to our fathers And to remember His holy covenant,
The oath which He swore to our father Abraham:


To grant us that we,
Being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear,
In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life (Luke 1:68-75, emphasis added).

Satan finally attained on earth what he had desired to have in heaven—a kingdom of iniquity. Now the universe would see the results of the moral law of Good and Evil. The rule of arbitrary reward and punishment became the law—the moral law of the land, what is known as “natural law.” But this “natural law” is not of God. It is of Satan.

Adam and Eve gave the fallen cherub the opportunity he was seek- ing. They gave him the territory on which he could build his kingdom of iniquity. And you and I became the subjects of his kingdom. Speak- ing directly to Satan, the prophet Isaiah says:

…you have destroyed your land and slain your people (Isaiah 14:20).

Our planet earth became his land — and we, his people. But God is calling us to come out of the “city of confusion” into His kingdom of grace and mercy so that we will not perish with her:

After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, hav- ing great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory. And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.” And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues” (Revelation 18:1-4).