“The true object of education is to restore the image of God in the soul. In the beginning God created man in His own likeness. He endowed him with noble qualities. His mind was well balanced, and all the powers of his being were harmonious. But the Fall and its effects have perverted these gifts. Sin has marred and well-nigh obliterated the image of God in man. It was to restore this that the plan of salvation was devised, and a life of probation was granted to man. To bring him back to the perfection in which he was first created is the great object of life–the object that underlies every other. It is the work of parents and teachers, in the education of the youth, to cooperate with the divine purpose; and in so doing they are ‘laborers together with God.’ 1 Corinthians 3:9.
“All the varied capabilities that men possess–of mind and soul and body–are given them by God, to be so employed as to reach the highest possible degree of excellence. But this cannot be a selfish and exclusive culture; for the character of God, whose likeness we are to receive, is benevolence and love. Every faculty, every attribute, with which the Creator has endowed us is to be employed for His glory and for the uplifting of our fellow men. And in this employment is found its purest, noblest, and happiest exercise.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 595.
“A character formed according to the divine likeness is the only treasure that we can take from this world to the next.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 332.
–The brothers and sisters of the General Conference
Sabbath, October 2, 2010
“Man was the crowning act of the creation of God, made in the image of God, and designed to be a counterpart of God. Man is very dear to God, because he was formed in His own image.” –My Life Today, p. 126.
Man at creation
1. What description is given of Adam at his creation?
Genesis 1:26, 27 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Psalm 8:5-7 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field.
“Man was to bear God’s image, both in outward resemblance and in character. Christ alone is ‘the express image’ (Hebrews 1:3) of the Father; but man was formed in the likeness of God. His nature was in harmony with the will of God. His mind was capable of comprehending divine things. His affections were pure; his appetites and passions were under the control of reason. He was holy and happy in bearing the image of God and in perfect obedience to His will.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 45.
“Man is God’s workmanship, His masterpiece, created for a high and holy purpose; and on every part of the human tabernacle God desires to write His law. Every nerve and muscle, every mental and physical endowment, is to be kept pure.” –Temperance, p. 142.
2. What noble dignity characterized man’s existence and life?
Ecclesiastes 7: 29, first part Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright;…
“God made man upright; He gave him noble traits of character, with no bias toward evil. He endowed him with high intellectual powers, and presented before him the strongest possible inducements to be true to his allegiance. Obedience, perfect and perpetual, was the condition of eternal happiness. On this condition he was to have access to the tree of life.” –Conflict and Courage, p. 13.
Put to the test
3. Why were Adam and Eve’s faithfulness and loyalty tested?
Genesis 2:16, 17 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
“God created man for His own glory, that after test and trial the human family might become one with the heavenly family. It was God’s purpose to repopulate heaven with the human family, if they would show themselves obedient to His every word. Adam was to be tested, to see whether he would be obedient, as the loyal angels, or disobedient.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 344.
“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.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 48.
4. Did Adam and Eve pass the test?
Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
“If he stood the test, his instruction to his children would have been only of loyalty. His mind and thoughts would have been as the mind and thoughts of God. He would have been taught by God as His husbandry and building. His character would have been moulded in accordance with the character of God.” –(Letter 91, 1900) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, p. 1082.
5. Created lower than the angels, could man attain to their exalted position?
“The holy pair were not only children under the fatherly care of God but students receiving instruction from the all-wise Creator. They were visited by angels, and were granted communion with their Maker, with no obscuring veil between. They were full of the vigor imparted by the tree of life, and their intellectual power was but little less than that of the angels. The mysteries of the visible universe–‘the wondrous works of Him which is perfect in knowledge’ (Job 37:16)–afforded them an exhaustless source of instruction and delight.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 50, 51.
“The Lord has given man capacity for continual improvement, and has granted him all possible aid in the work. Through the provisions of divine grace we may attain almost to the excellence of the angels.” –(The Review and Herald, June 20, 1882) Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, p. 9.
“Great as is the shame and degradation through sin, even greater will be the honor and exaltation through redeeming love. To human beings striving for conformity to the divine image there is imparted an outlay of heaven’s treasure, an excellency of power, that will place them higher than even the angels who have never fallen.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 163.
After the fall
6. Immediately after the fall, how was Satan’s lying and accusing character revealed in Adam and Eve’s behavior?
John 8:44, second part When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Genesis 3:12, 13 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
Revelation 12:10, second part … For the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
“Adam could neither deny nor excuse his sin; but instead of manifesting penitence, he endeavored to cast the blame upon his wife, and thus upon God Himself: ‘The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.’…
“When the woman was asked, ‘What is this that thou hast done?’ she answered, ‘The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.’ ‘Why didst Thou create the serpent? Why didst Thou suffer him to enter Eden?’–these were the questions implied in her excuse for her sin. Thus, like Adam, she charged God with the responsibility of their fall. The spirit of self-justification originated in the father of lies; it was indulged by our first parents as soon as they yielded to the influence of Satan, and has been exhibited by all the sons and daughters of Adam.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 57, 58.
7. How was Satan’s murderous character revealed in their first son, Cain?
John 8:44, first part Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.
Genesis 4:8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
“When Cain saw that his offering was rejected, he was angry with the Lord and with Abel; he was angry that God did not accept man’s substitute in place of the sacrifice divinely ordained, and angry with his brother for choosing to obey God instead of joining in rebellion against Him.…
“He angrily reproached his brother, and attempted to draw him into controversy concerning God’s dealings with them.… Reason and conscience told him that Abel was in the right; but he was enraged that one who had been wont to heed his counsel should now presume to disagree with him, and that he could gain no sympathy in his rebellion. In the fury of his passion he slew his brother.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 74.
“To dwell forever in this home of the blest, to bear in soul, body, and spirit, not the dark traces of sin and the curse, but the perfect likeness of our Creator, and through ceaseless ages to advance in wisdom, in knowledge, and in holiness, ever exploring new fields of thought, ever finding new wonders and new glories, ever increasing in capacity to know and to enjoy and to love, and knowing that there is still beyond us joy and love and wisdom infinite–such is the object to which the Christian’s hope is pointing.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 363.