Buying the Lie   Leave a comment

This is part of a series.

Now the serpent was more shrewd than any of the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Is it really true that God said, ‘You must not eat from any tree of the orchard?The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit from the trees of the orchard; but concerning the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the orchard God said, ‘You must not eat from it, and you must not touch it, or else you will die.’” The serpent said to the woman, “Surely you will not die, for God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will open and you will be like divine beings who know good and evil.” 

When the woman saw that the tree produced fruit that was good for food, was attractive to the eye, and was desirable for making one wise, she took some of its fruit and ate it. She also gave some of it to her husband who was with her, and he ate it.Then the eyes of both of them opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Adam and Eve were living in a blissful garden with all their needs fulfilled. They only had one rule – a test of their will — don’t eat of a particular and identified tree in the garden.

In the saddest event in all human history, Adam and Eve chose to disobey God. You can pretty much blame all of the world’s problems on that one event. Environmental degradation? Yep! Vengance and war? Oh, my, yes! Crime? Uh-huh. Death, immorality, decay, debauchery, discomfort, regret, conflict, bitterness, fear, selfishness, jealousy, envy, abuse, hate ….

It is impossible to name all the negative consequences that resulted from the single meal … and it was really more of a snack, right? That one event truly defines life in our universe because it is the reason for all imperfection and death.

 

Satan got tossed out of heaven for a very similar sin. You didn’t know angels can sin? Angels can disobey God, which is sin, so yes, angels can sin and Satan was perhaps the first sinner. The serpent that slithered up to Eve that day was, linguistically, a real reptile. The term “nachash” is used throughout the Bible and means serpent or dragon. It was some sort of upright reptile with feet that approached Eve that day and it could talk. There are theologians who believe that all the animals in the garden could speak. I don’t see that in the text, but could be because Eve doesn’t seem surprised that the serpent spoke to her, even those this serpent was inhabited by Satan, which made it more cunning, wise, and intelligent than any animal she’d conversed with before.

Satan knew what he was about. He wanted to steer Eve and then Adam toward disobedience to God, which is sin. He wanted to corrupt God’s perfect creation. We can guess why. He’d been kicked out of heaven for trying to gain worship for himself. If he could not reign in heaven, he would choose to reign in hell … or on earth with mankind.

Heaven is the presence of God. Hell is the absence of God. We live in a grey area between the two — not exactly in God’s presence as Adam experienced it, but still receiving some of the benefits of His presence. When God withdraws His presence from us, we will know Hell.

I think that Satan knew just enough about God’s plans to know that if he corrupted Eve, he’d have a whole race of people who would worship him … if he could get Eve to sin. Remember, though, there was only one rule for Eve to break and it wasn’t a secret. She wasn’t going to accidentally eat it. I doubt that it looked like other fruits. So, in order to influence Eve in the direction he wanted her to go, Satan lied TWICE.

 

First, he disguised himself and then he presented himself to Eve as someone who was telling her the truth … as opposed to that big meanie – God. He suggested that God’s character could not be trusted. He started off with an innocent-seeming question. He’s just a casual observer who is curious about something. “Did God really say that you should not eat from any tree of the garden?”

 

 

 

The question was designed to start Eve on a path of questioning God, which led to doubting God, then to distrusting God and finally to disobeying God. All sin follows the same essential pattern. The question introduces doubt, the doubt leads to distrust, and disobedience follows soon after.

 

Satan started by quoting Scripture. “Has God said you shall not eat from any tree of the garden?” That’s exactly what God did say back in Chapter 2 Verse 16, “The Lord God commanded the man saying, “You may freely eat fruit from every tree of the orchard, but  you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it, you will surely die.

Satan brought up something known, but he turned a positive into a negative. God commanded “Eat of any tree except that one.” Satan posed his statement as “Is there a fruit God won’t let you eat?” He casted the probition in a negative tone, inverting the emphasis from God’s generosity in the garden to this restriction.

Satan’s question focused Eve’s attention on the prohibition, setting her up to question, judge and evaluate God and His Word. The implication is that “God’s being awfully restrictive, isn’t He? Doesn’t that strike you as strange and … well, unfair?”

Eve’s answer was sort of weak. “Well, He said we could eat of all the trees, but not that one. If we even touch it, we will die.”

That, by the way, is the first lie told in the Bible. God never said they couldn’t touch the fruit, only that they couldn’t eat it. Even added to God’s command. Satan followed up with his own lie and it was a much stronger lie.

“You will not die,” he assured. “God know that when you eat this fruit, your eyes will open and you will be like gods who know good and evil.”

Now there are people who feel sorry for Eve. After all, she was inexperienced with liars. She was tricked. Take a moment and think about this. She knew God in an intimate face-to-face way. This was a previously-unknown talking animal. It shouldn’t have been a dilemma for her. She had enough knowledge to stop Satan at anytime simply by using what she knew about God … God is good, He cares, and He’d given the couple everything they could ever need or want for pleasure and fulfillment.

She knew enough to say: Stop right there. I will not question the goodness of God or His kindness toward me. She should have stopped Satan in his tracks, by calling him on what she KNEW to be a lie.

Ultimately, eating the fruit was not the fall into sin. The Fall occurred before the snack. Eve had already disobeyed God before she plucked the fruit. She had chosen to believe a stranger over her very gracious and generous Father who had withheld nothing good from her. Although we make much of the sin of disobedience, the fact is that the sin occurred when Eve believed God was not good and had restricted her from something good. She bought the lie that plunged the whole human race into depravity.

 

 

 

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