Our focus this week, as we continue our trek through Scripture, is on the fall of man in Genesis 3. And what we find here is interesting. We find that, in his effort to lead us into sin, Satan continues to use the same tactics as he did in the Garden.
We see at the beginning of this passage that the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord had made. But it also becomes clear to us that this was no ordinary serpent. It was the devil, who had either possessed a serpent or appeared to Eve in the form of a serpent.
He began his effort to corrupt these people, made in God’s image, by asking this question of Eve: “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” So he began by calling the Word of God into question. He tried to cause Eve to wonder if this is what God had truly said.
This is the same tactic he uses against us, which we encounter regularly in the world today. Did God really say that divorce is wrong? Did God really say that sex is for a man and a woman in the context of marriage? Did God really say that Jesus is the only way of salvation? We’re asked if God really gave the commands, or if he actually made the statements that we read in Scripture. His aim is to cause us to question God’s Word. And it’s easy for us to feed into this temptation and do just that.
In this case, we see that Eve understood God’s command. She understood what he’d said, as well as the consequence he’d issued if they violated his will. She answered him, starting in verse 2, saying: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
Satan then tried another tactic. He denied the Word of God. He claimed that the Word of God was false. Starting in verse 4, he said to her: “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
He essentially calls God a liar. He tells Eve that, regardless of what God had declared, she would not die if she disobeyed his Word. He goes on to suggest that God is withholding a great blessing, which could only be received by violating his will.
If she disobeyed God, she would be like God. If she violated his will, she would know both good and evil. She would possess a knowledge which was being kept from her by the Lord himself.
Again, Satan works in the same way today. He tells us that what God has declared is false. Regardless of what we read in Scripture, we’re told that homosexuality is not sin. We’re told that God wouldn’t condemn good people to hell simply because they fail to trust in Christ. And he tells us that we’re missing out on something great by trusting in God’s Word. We’re missing out on a truth. We’re missing out on love. We’re missing out on unity with the rest of humanity. And we’re told that a blessing will be gained if we violate God’s message.
We see in Genesis 3 that Eve gave into this temptation, as did Adam. And we’re also prone to do the same thing. The tactic of the enemy often proves to be successful in our life as well as in that of others.
As those who confess faith in the Lord, we must hold faithfully to the Word of God. We must not cave in to the lies of the enemy. We must recognize that his desire is only to kill and destroy. It’s his desire to pull us away from the God who created us and loves us.