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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

"Did God Say ...?"

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" 2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 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.'" 4 But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. (Gen 3:1-6)
You recognize the story, I'm sure. It's the account of the Fall. You have all the main characters there -- the serpent, Eve, Adam. You have the dialog that deceived Eve (1 Tim 2:14). You have Adam's fatal choice to join her in it. All the pieces are there. What were the serpent's tactics? What methods were involved in making mankind a sinning race? Paul warns us to "Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil." (Eph 6:11) What schemes?

The first question is key. "Did God actually say ...?" The serpent wasn't asking for a quote. The serpent didn't want to see the text. He was asking Eve to explain what God said. And He did it by not asking if God said what God actually said. He did it by overstating what God said. The question could be restated this way. "Hey, Eve, did you understand God to say that you couldn't eat from any tree in the garden at all?"

Eve bought it. She thought it was a genuine question. She didn't see the lie. (Seriously, Eve, you're talking to a snake! Wasn't that a clue?) She didn't see the attempt at pushing her beyond what God said. How can we tell that? Because she went beyond what God said. She corrected the serpent -- that's true -- but went on to say that God warned them against touching the one tree in question. Never happened. Satan already had her leaning away from what God had said.

The next step was easy -- denial. "You will not surely die." The difficulty here is that it was a half-truth. Adam and Eve died hundreds of years later. But the death they experienced at the moment was spiritual ... much worse than physical (Matt 10:28). The denial was effective. Eve succumbed to the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16), included her husband in it, cut off their unhindered relationship with God, and all creation has suffered since (Rom 8:19-22).

Oddly enough, Satan hasn't had to retool. His methods worked well then. They work well now. It is the standard approach. "Did God say ...?" "No, that's not true." You'll hear it in your ear from Satan. You'll hear it in the world from skeptics and even "Christians". They'll sound warm and even wise. They'll lure you into sin. Simple as that. Watch for it. You'll surely see it.

1 comment:

Stan said...

Note the difference between what Satan did with Eve (and does today) and what we have to do with "liberal Christians" who claim to follow the Bible but don't. Satan misrepresented God when he asked, "Did God say ...?" And Eve's error was that she also misrepresented God when she answered. On the other hand, we have to constantly properly represent God when they misrepresent Him. "God is delighted with two men who marry." "Did God say that? Or did He say, 'Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh"?' (Matt 19:4-5)? Isn't it true that every reference to marital relationships in God's Word are in terms of man and woman, husband and wife? Isn't it true that there is not one single positive biblical support in God's Word for what you call 'gay marriage'?" You can see how that's different than Satan's approach. His was to cast doubt on God's Word in Eve's mind like the "liberal Christian" does. Our approach is to question the "liberal Christian's" claim that God says things He never said and return to what He did say. "God is perfectly happy with homosexual behavior." "Oh? Did God say that? Because every single thing I find on the subject in God's Word says the opposite." That kind of thing.

In the Eve-and-the-serpent context, Satan would have attempted to cause Eve to question God and Eve would have replied, "No, God didn't say what you say He said. This is what He said and He was right."

(Although, to be perfectly fair, the "liberal Christian" almost never offers a basis from the Word of God for their positions that are, you know, opposed to the Word. Their approach is generally just a bold claim -- "God likes this" without support from God's Word.)