“By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. ... For He spoke and it was done; He commanded and it stood fast” (Psalm 33:6, 9). “Christ is primarily the Word of God, the expression of God’s thought; and the Scriptures are the Word of God simply because they reveal Christ” (Ellet J. Waggoner).
John tells us that, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).
Ellen White keeps it simple by directing us this way: “We are to take the Word of God as it reads, the words of Christ as He has spoken them” (Lift Him Up, p. 265).
God has given His Word to man to be received through the Holy Spirit. This Word of God is but an extension of the thought of God, which is but the expression of God’s mind. Thus man, receiving this Word, would be a constant partaker of the mind of God—fulfilling the Scripture to, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5).
“The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. ... Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die’” (Gen. 2:8, 9, 15-17).
To man in the garden there came another word—opposite the Word of God. This second word was the expression of a second thought, and this thought was the product of another mind. To receive this word would be to receive the thought expressed in the word; and to receive the thought was to be partaker of this second mind. This second word is always opposed to the simple Word of God.
“Now the serpent ... said to the woman” (Gen. 3:1-5). Here was the second word representing the second mind—here was this “theologian in a tree” trying to explain what God really meant by what He said.
Deception lies in attempting to explain what God means by what He has said. There is never any need for this. God’s Word means what it says, and it says what it means. As a teacher of the Word of God, use any amount of time needed to help people to see what the Word of God says, but never a moment trying to explain what it means.
The two ways were now before her; the two words, the two thoughts, and the two minds. She accepted the second word and the result was a reversal of her own nature. Satan and man now had the same mind.
“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate” (Gen. 3:6). The fact that another mind had been received was apparent, for Eve was now seeing things that weren’t so.
She saw that this tree was not good for food; for apart from it grew “every tree that was ... good for food.” She saw that this tree was not pleasant to the eyes; for apart from this tree, “made the Lord God to grow every tree that was pleasant to the sight” (see Gen. 2:9). And this tree she saw was not “a tree to be desired to make one wise”—this has been demonstrated every minute from then until now!
If Eve had done the “simple thing” of staying with the first Word exactly as it was she could not have sinned. If she had said to Satan: “I don’t know whether the Word that I have cited means what you suggest it means, and I don’t care, but what I do know is what the Word says, and I shall take it for just what it says; and there I stand. I will not eat of the fruit of this tree because the Word says that I shall not.”
In this “simple thing” lies the power of the divine Word to keep the soul from sinning. To every person this “simple thing” is as true today as it was, and as it would have proved itself to be to Eve. The divine Word, simply held by Eve, would forever have kept her from sin. The Lord Jesus, in human flesh, was kept from sinning by simply holding to the divine Word. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee” (Psalm 119:11). “The word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it” (Deut. 30:14).
Eve’s sin was in not believing and holding to God’s simple Word. Her unbelief was made complete by her disobedience in eating from the tree.
Even so today, our Laodicean paralysis stems from the same issue faced by Eve at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil—will we do the “simple thing” and hold firmly to the Word of our Creator and thus be kept from sinning, or will we fall for the interpretations, explanations, and “enlightenments” from the “theologians in the trees”?
“But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3).
“Believe that Jesus means just what he says; take him at his word, and hang your helpless soul upon him” (Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, June 23, 1896).