Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned . Rom. 5:12.
When our first parents were placed in the beautiful garden of Eden, they were tested in regard to their loyalty to God. They were free to choose the service of God, or by disobedience to ally themselves with the enemy of God and man. . . . If they disregard God's commands, and listened to the voice of Satan, as he spoke through the serpent, they would not only forfeit their claim to Eden, but to life itself.
The first great moral lesson given Adam was that of self-denial. The reins of self-government were placed in his hands. Judgment, reason, and conscience were to bear sway. . . .
Adam and Eve were permitted to partake of every tree in the Garden save one. There was only a single prohibition. The forbidden tree was as attractive and lovely as any of the trees in the Garden. It was called the tree of knowledge, because in partaking of that tree, of which God had said, "Thou shalt not eat of it," (Gen. 2:17) they would have a knowledge of sin, an experience in disobedience.
With what intense interest the whole universe watched the conflict that was to decide the position of Adam and Eve. How attentively the angels listened to the words of Satan, the originator of sin, as he ... sought to make of none effect the law of God through his deceptive reasoning! How anxiously they waited to see if the holy pair would be deluded by the tempter, and yield to his arts! They asked themselves, Will the holy pair transfer their faith and love from the Father and Son to Satan? Will they accept his falsehoods as truth?
Adam and Eve persuaded themselves that in so small a matter as eating of the forbidden fruit, there could not result such terrible consequences as God had declared. But this small matter was sin, the transgression of God's immutable and holy law, and it opened the floodgates of death and untold woe upon our world. . . . Let us not esteem sin as a trivial thing.