Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright - Whatever evil may be now found among men and women, it is not of God; for God made them all upright. This is a singular verse, and has been most variously translated:
רבים חשבנות בקשו והמה ישר האדם את האלהים עשה asah haelohim eth haadam yashar vehemhah bikkeshu chishbonoth rabbim .
"Elohim has made mankind upright, and they have sought many computations."
"He hath meddled with endless questions." - Vulgate.
"Many reasonings." - Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic.
"They seek dyverse sotylties." Coverdale.
And he himself mengide with questions without eend. - Old MS. Bible.
The Targum considers the text as speaking of Adam and Eve.
"This have I found out, that the Lord made the first man upright before him, and innocent: but the serpent and Eve seduced him to eat of the fruit of the tree, which gave the power to those who ate of it to discern between good and evil; and was the cause that death came upon him, and all the inhabitants of the earth; and they sought that they might find out many stratagems to bring this evil upon all the inhabitants of the world."
I doubt much whether the word חשבנות chishbonoth should be taken in a bad sense. It may signify the whole of human devices, imaginations, inventions, artifice, with all their products; arts, sciences, schemes, plans, and all that they have found out for the destruction or melioration of life. God has given man wondrous faculties; and of them he has made strange uses, and sovereign abuses: and they have been, in consequence, at one time his help, and at another his bane. This is the fair way of understanding this question.
God hath made - Rather, God made. A definite allusion to the original state of man: in which he was exempt from vanity.
God placed man under law, as an indispensable condition of his very existence. He was a subject of the divine government, and there can be no government without law. God might have created man without the power to transgress His law; He might have withheld the hand of Adam from touching the forbidden fruit; but in that case man would have been, not a free moral agent, but a mere automaton. Without freedom of choice, his obedience would not have been voluntary, but forced. There could have been no development of character. Such a course would have been contrary to God's plan in dealing with the inhabitants of other worlds. It would have been unworthy of man as an intelligent being, and would have sustained Satan's charge of God's arbitrary rule. PP 49.1
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. PP 49.2
The home of our first parents was to be a pattern for other homes as their children should go forth to occupy the earth. That home, beautified by the hand of God Himself, was not a gorgeous palace. Men, in their pride, delight in magnificent and costly edifices and glory in the works of their own hands; but God placed Adam in a garden. This was his dwelling. The blue heavens were its dome; the earth, with its delicate flowers and carpet of living green, was its floor; and the leafy branches of the goodly trees were its canopy. Its walls were hung with the most magnificent adornings—the handiwork of the great Master Artist. In the surroundings of the holy pair was a lesson for all time—that true happiness is found, not in the indulgence of pride and luxury, but in communion with God through His created works. If men would give less attention to the artificial, and would cultivate greater simplicity, they would come far nearer to answering the purpose of God in their creation. Pride and ambition are never satisfied, but those who are truly wise will find substantial and elevating pleasure in the sources of enjoyment that God has placed within the reach of all. PP 49.3Read in context »
“He hath made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11, R.V.); and true beauty will be secured, not in marring God's work, but in coming into harmony with the laws of Him who created all things, and who finds pleasure in their beauty and perfection. Ed 198.1
As the mechanism of the body is studied, attention should be directed to its wonderful adaptation of means to ends, the harmonious action and dependence of the various organs. As the interest of the student is thus awakened, and he is led to see the importance of physical culture, much can be done by the teacher to secure proper development and right habits. Ed 198.2
Among the first things to be aimed at should be a correct position, both in sitting and in standing. God made man upright, and He desires him to possess not only the physical but the mental and moral benefit, the grace and dignity and self-possession, the courage and self-reliance, which an erect bearing so greatly tends to promote. Let the teacher give instruction on this point by example and by precept. Show what a correct position is, and insist that it shall be maintained. Ed 198.3Read in context »
[Portion of a letter addressed to a college student, written from Napier, New Zealand, October 2, 1893. Appeared in Notebook Leaflets, Education, No. 6]
Educate men and women to bring up their children free from false, fashionable practices, to teach them to be useful. The daughters should be educated under the mothers to do useful labor, not merely indoor labor but out-of-door labor as well. Mothers could also train the sons, to a certain age, to do useful things indoors and out-of-doors. 2SM 321.1Read in context »
The Lord made man upright in the beginning. He was created with a perfectly balanced mind, the size and strength of all its organs being perfectly developed. Adam was a perfect type of man. Every quality of mind was well proportioned, each having a distinctive office, and yet all dependent one upon another for the full and proper use of any one of them. Adam and Eve were permitted to eat of all the trees in the garden, save one. The Lord said to the holy pair: In the day that ye eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, ye shall surely die. Eve was beguiled by the serpent to believe that God would not do as He said He would. “Ye shall not surely die,” said the serpent. Eve ate and imagined that she felt the sensations of a new and more exalted life. She bore the fruit to her husband, and that which had an overpowering influence upon him was her experience. The serpent had said that she should not die, and she felt no ill effects from the fruit, nothing which could be interpreted to mean death, but, just as the serpent had said, a pleasurable sensation which she imagined was as the angels felt. Her experience stood arrayed against the positive command of Jehovah, and Adam permitted himself to be seduced by the experience of his wife. Thus it is with the religious world generally. God's express commands are transgressed, and because “sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” 3T 72.1
In the face of the most positive commands of God, men and women will follow their own inclinations and then dare to pray over the matter, to prevail upon God to consent to allow them to go contrary to His expressed will. The Lord is not pleased with such prayers. Satan comes to the side of such persons, as he did to Eve in Eden, and impresses them, and they have an exercise of mind, and this they relate as a most wonderful experience which the Lord has given them. A true experience will be in perfect harmony with natural and divine law. False experience will array itself against science and the principles of Jehovah. The religious world is covered with a pall of moral darkness. Superstition and bigotry control the minds of men and women, and blind their judgment so that they do not discern their duty to their fellow men and their duty to yield unquestioned obedience to the will of God. 3T 72.2Read in context »