Great Controversy Notes

Chapter 29, The Origin of Evil, Pages 492-504 - 1911

by Walter Rea

Chapter 29 takes the place of the "Fall of Satan", Chapter 1, in "Spirit of Prophecy", Volume 1. It is a reproduction of "Patriarchs and Prophets" and the Chapter "Why is Sin Permitted?" With careful study, one can see the changes that have come about from the early forms to the later chapter in "Great Controversy". Because the comparisons in this chapter are so much like the thoughts in John Milton and his "Paradise Lost" the reader is directed to a study done as a thesis for graduate study at Pacific Union College by Ruth Elizabeth Burgeson, August 1957, entitled "A Comparative Study of the Fall of Man as Treated by John Milton and Ellen G. White".

"Of unusual significance is the correlation found in a number of instances where both authors depict with some detail an experience which is not found in the Bible. Among such events are the following:

  1. The scene in heaven before and during the rebellion with the loyal angels trying to win the disaffected ones back to allegiance to God.
  2. The warnings issued to Eve to stay by her husband's side; her subsequent straying.
  3. The elaborate setting for the actual temptation with Satan's arguments analysed point by point.
  4. The detailed picture of the immediate results of sin on Adam and Eve and on the animal and vegetable world about them.
  5. The explanation of the basic reason for Adam's fall: uxoriousness. (foolish fond of, doting upon)
  6. The angel's chronicling of future events to Adam.
  7. The feelings of both Adam and Eve as they left the garden.

These likenesses in the narrative on points where the Scriptures are silent intensify the question: Why are these two authors, living two hundred years apart, so much in agreement on major facts? Was the later author influenced by the earlier? Did she get her facts from him? Is there some common source outside the Bible which was available to both? Or is there some other possible reason for their similarities?

Arthur L. White, grandson of Ellen G. White, and one of the trustees of the Ellen G. White Publications, wrote: …It was not until she had written her first views of the controversy that she read with interest…Paradise Lost. Arthur L. White, "The Prophetic Gift of Action," The Ministry, XVII, No. 6 (June, 1944), 36.

It is enough to note in the June 1982 Ministry, the Church has said, "Ellen White made use of contemporary sources in her published and unpublished writings, and that sometimes she used material [not legible in notes]

Spirit of Prophecy, Volume 4, Pages 324-330

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