The Eden School
The system of education instituted at the beginning of the world was
to be a model for man throughout all aftertime. As an illustration of
its principles a model school was established in Eden, the home of our
first parents. The Garden of Eden was the schoolroom, nature was the
lesson book, the Creator Himself was the instructor, and the parents of
the human family were the students.
Created to be "the image and glory of God" (1 Corinthians
11:7), Adam and Eve had received endowments not unworthy of their high
destiny. Graceful and symmetrical in form, regular and beautiful in
feature, their countenances glowing with the tint of health and the
light of joy and hope, they bore in outward resemblance the likeness of
their Maker. Nor was this likeness manifest in the physical nature only.
Every faculty of mind and soul reflected the Creator's glory. Endowed
with high mental and spiritual gifts, Adam and Eve were made but
"little lower than the angels" (Hebrews 2:7), that they might
not only discern the wonders of the visible universe, but comprehend
moral responsibilities and obligations.
"The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He
put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God
to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the
tree of life also in the midst of the garden." Genesis 2:8,9. Here,
amidst the beautiful scenes of nature untouched by sin, our first
parents were to receive their education.
In His interest for His children, our heavenly Father personally
directed their education. Often they were visited by His messengers, the
holy angels, and from them received counsel and instruction. Often as
they walked in the garden in the cool of the day they heard the voice of
God, and face to face held communion with the Eternal. His thoughts
toward them were "thoughts of peace, and not of evil."
Jeremiah 29:11. His every purpose was their highest good.
To Adam and Eve was committed the care of the garden, "to dress
it and to keep it." Genesis 2:15. Though rich in all that the Owner
of the universe could supply, they were not to be idle. Useful
occupation was appointed them as a blessing, to strengthen the body, to
expand the mind, and to develop the character.
The book of nature, which spread its living lessons before them,
afforded an exhaustless source of instruction and delight. On every leaf
of the forest and stone of the mountains, in every shining star, in
earth and sea and sky, God's name was written. With both the animate and
the inanimate creation--with leaf and flower and tree, and with every
living creature, from the leviathan of the waters to the mote in the
sunbeam--the dwellers in Eden held converse, gathering from each the
secrets of its life. God's glory in the heavens, the innumerable worlds
in their orderly revolutions, "the balancings of the clouds"
(Job 37:16), the mysteries of light and sound, of day and night--all
were objects of study by the pupils of earth's first school.
The laws and operations of nature, and the great principles of truth
that govern the spiritual universe, were opened to their minds by the
infinite Author of all. In "the light of the knowledge of the glory
of God" (2 Corinthians 4:6), their mental and spiritual powers
developed, and they realised the highest pleasures of their holy
As it came from the Creator's hand, not only the Garden of Eden but
the whole earth was exceedingly beautiful. No taint of sin, or shadow of
death, marred the fair creation. God's glory "covered the heavens,
and the earth was full of His praise." "The morning stars sang
together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy." Habakkuk 3:3;
Job 38:7. Thus was the earth a fit emblem of Him who is "abundant
in goodness and truth" (Exodus 34:6); a fit study for those who
were made in His image. The Garden of Eden was a representation of what
God desired the whole earth to become, and it was His purpose that, as
the human family increased in numbers, they should establish other homes
and schools like the one He had given. Thus in course of time the whole
earth might be occupied with homes and schools where the words and the
works of God should be studied, and where the students should thus be
fitted more and more fully to reflect, throughout endless ages, the
light of the knowledge of His glory.
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