The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 2: The Creation
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God celebrated the first marriage. Thus the institution has
for its originator the Creator of the universe. "Marriage is honorable"
(Hebrews 13:4); it was one of the first gifts of God to man,
and it is one of the two institutions that, after the Fall, Adam
brought with him beyond the gates of Paradise. When the divine
principles are recognized and obeyed in this relation, marriage is
a blessing; it guards the purity and happiness of the race, it
provides for man's social needs, it elevates the physical, the intellectual,
and the moral nature.
"And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and
there He put the man whom He had formed." Everything that
God had made was the perfection of beauty, and nothing seemed
wanting that could contribute to the happiness of the holy pair; [p. 47] yet the Creator gave them still another token of His love, by
preparing a garden especially for their home. In this garden were
trees of every variety, many of them laden with fragrant and
delicious fruit. There were lovely vines, growing upright, yet
presenting a most graceful appearance, with their branches drooping
under their load of tempting fruit of the richest and most
varied hues. It was the work of Adam and Eve to train the
branches of the vine to form bowers, thus making for themselves
a dwelling from living trees covered with foliage and fruit. There
were fragrant flowers of every hue in rich profusion. In the midst
of the garden stood the tree of life, surpassing in glory all other
trees. Its fruit appeared like apples of gold and silver, and had
the power to perpetuate life.
The creation was now complete. "The heavens and the earth
were finished, and all the host of them." "And God saw everything
that He had made, and, behold, it was very good." Eden
bloomed on earth. Adam and Eve had free access to the tree of
life. No taint of sin or shadow of death marred the fair creation.
"The morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God
shouted for joy." Job 38:7.
The great Jehovah had laid the foundations of the earth; He
had dressed the whole world in the garb of beauty and had filled
it with things useful to man; He had created all the wonders of
the land and of the sea. In six days the great work of creation had
been accomplished. And God "rested on the seventh day from all
His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh
day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all
His work which God created and made." God looked with satisfaction
upon the work of His hands. All was perfect, worthy of
its divine Author, and He rested, not as one weary, but as well
pleased with the fruits of His wisdom and goodness and the
manifestations of His glory.
After resting upon the seventh day, God sanctified it, or set
it apart, as a day of rest for man. Following the example of the
Creator, man was to rest upon this sacred day, that as he should
look upon the heavens and the earth, he might reflect upon God's
great work of creation; and that as he should behold the evidences
of God's wisdom and goodness, his heart might be filled with love
and reverence for his Maker. [p. 48]
In Eden, God set up the memorial of His work of creation,
in placing His blessing upon the seventh day. The Sabbath was
committed to Adam, the father and representative of the whole
human family. Its observance was to be an act of grateful
acknowledgment, on the part of all who should dwell upon the
earth, that God was their Creator and their rightful Sovereign;
that they were the work of His hands and the subjects of His
authority. Thus the institution was wholly commemorative, and
given to all mankind. There was nothing in it shadowy or of
restricted application to any people.
God saw that a Sabbath was essential for man, even in Paradise.
He needed to lay aside his own interests and pursuits for
one day of the seven, that he might more fully contemplate the
works of God and meditate upon His power and goodness. He
needed a Sabbath to remind him more vividly of God and to
awaken gratitude because all that he enjoyed and possessed came
from the beneficent hand of the Creator.
God designs that the Sabbath shall direct the minds of men
to the contemplation of His created works. Nature speaks to
their senses, declaring that there is a living God, the Creator, the
Supreme Ruler of all. "The heavens declare the glory of God;
and the firmament showeth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth
speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge." Psalm
19:1, 2. The beauty that clothes the earth is token of God's love.
We may behold it in the everlasting hills, in the lofty trees, in the
opening buds and the delicate flowers. All speak to us of God.
The Sabbath, ever pointing to Him who made them all, bids
men open the great book of nature and trace therein the wisdom,
the power, and the love of the Creator.
Our first parents, though created innocent and holy, were not
placed beyond the possibility of wrongdoing. God made them
free moral agents, capable of appreciating the wisdom and benevolence
of His character and the justice of His requirements,
and with full liberty to yield or to withhold obedience. They
were to enjoy communion with God and with holy angels; but
before they could be rendered eternally secure, their loyalty must
be tested. At the very beginning of man's existence a check was
placed upon the desire for self-indulgence, the fatal passion that
lay at the foundation of Satan's fall. The tree of knowledge,
which stood near the tree of life in the midst of the garden, was [p. 49] to be a test of the obedience, faith, and love of our parents.
While permitted to eat freely of every other tree, they were
forbidden to taste of this, on pain of death. They were also to be
exposed to the temptations of Satan; but if they endured the
trial, they would finally be placed beyond his power, to enjoy
perpetual favor with God.
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