Updated: May 17
“Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” Genesis 3:1.
The Fall of Man
Where God puts a period, Satan puts a question mark.
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.” (Genesis 3:1-5).
The fall of man in the Garden of Eden is the most tragic event in the history of mankind. All that is wrong, both small and big, personal and global; all that is immoral and evil; all that is broken and incomplete; all that is loss, pain, and fear; all that is gossip, slander, jealousy, hate, vengeance, and regret; all that is pride, hypocrisy, selfishness; all that is manipulation, confusion, cheating, and lies; all that falls short of the glory of God comes from this one event. The fall of man in the garden defines the world in which we live today. It's the very reason for decay and death itself. It's the reason why we look to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ as the Light of the world and our ultimate Hope, Joy, and Treasure.
Satan's Game Plan
The setting is the Garden of Eden, the opponent is Satan (which means adversary), the easy target is Eve, and the game plan is deception. Satan’s goal is to construct a lie that Eve believes to lure her into her own spiritual death. He poses what seems like an innocent question at first but is really manipulation.“Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1). This is the very first question of the Bible. Before this, there were only answers.
As the main part of his strategy, Satan lies about the character of God and the Word of God. He lies about God's goodness and authority, twists God's Words, and aims to destroy God's truth from Eve, in which he succeeds.
Disguised as an Angel of Light
Scripture says that Satan was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44). Ever since the garden, Satan's strategy has been lies and deception. He disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) but he's really an angel of hell. He disguises himself as the proclaimer of truth, but he's really the father of lies. (John 8:44). Satan wants to get us to believe that he is the truthful one while God is the liar.
Throughout all the centuries, Satan's tactics have not changed. His deception may have been subtle to Eve, yet it’s not so subtle to us in this age. We experience an assault on the truth nearly every day through the Internet, news, and social media. This whole world is full of layers and layers of deception. As believers, we are called to be discerning. Scripture commands us not to believe every spirit but to test every spirit (1 John 4:1). The only way we can grow in discernment and be able to detect lies and deceitful spirits is by saturating our minds with Scripture on a daily basis. "A life fed on fiction is a life of fiction. A life fed on divine fact will become a life of divine fact." CH Spurgeon.
Planting Seeds of Doubt
Satan tempts us to believe we have a right to question God and a right to doubt that He's telling us the truth in His Word. He also tempts us to believe the lie that we can even become our own gods, knowing good and evil. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5). This is the point where everything begins to fall apart. The assumption that we have the right to question God and to render our own judgment on what God commands is where we begin to self-destruct.
Satan plants a seed of doubt in Eve’s mind by the subtlety of his question. “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1). Satan tries to get Eve to first distrust the character of God because if she can't trust His goodness, how is she going to obey His Word? His question is devised to set Eve on a path of questioning God that will soon spiral out of control. Questioning God leads her to doubt God, to distrust God, then to ultimately disobey God and obey Satan instead, which throws the whole human race into sin.
Through the subtlety of Satan's question, he implies that God is really not that good. If God was really good and really loving He would have never put such a restriction on her like that. How dare He? Satan implies that if God really cares about Eve, He would let her eat from every tree in the garden. By how Satan strategically words his question, he plants the idea in Eve's mind that God is actually quite restrictive, unfair, and even cruel. Alongside that, he gets her to believe that it's Satan who is really generous. It's Satan who promotes and allows freedom while God is the One who's all about control and bondage.
All Sin Follows the Same Pattern
From the garden up until now; the same goes for the world we live in today. It's a very slippery slope the second we think God is against us and not for us. Satan wants us to believe that God’s Word is subject to our own judgment. All temptation begins with the idea that we have the right to make our own evaluations of what God has already clearly said. All sin follows this same pattern. It’s a very simple yet clever plan, and it’s where all sin originates. We think we have a right to question God when confronted with a lie or temptation. Then we think we have the right to doubt Him, both His goodness and His authority. Then we believe we have the right to distrust Him altogether and trust in ourselves instead, making ourselves into little gods. This inevitably leads us away from God and His goodness and into disobedience to His Word, where only sorrow and regret await us, whether earthly or eternal.
The Greatest of All Lies
Satan’s greatest of all lies is to tempt us to think there is no final judgment. He tempts us to believe there is no hell or eternal suffering. He tempts us to think it's ok to continue living comfortably in our unrepentant sins. He tempts us to come up with our own definitions of faith in Jesus, God's grace, and true love. He tempts us to trust in our own minds and to create our own standards of these terms, rather than trusting what Scripture says and taking God at His Word. He tempts us to keep our Bibles closed and create a jesus of our own imagination. He tempts us with legalism and a gospel by works. He tempts us to abuse God's grace with following easy-believism Christianity. He tempts us to disbelieve in the existence of God altogether while tempting us to believe we came from monkeys and baboons over billions of years. With his many paths of lies, Satan’s final goal is to lead us away from Jesus, the Light of the world, and into the outer darkness of eternal suffering.
Scripture, the Sword of the Spirit
Scripture is the sword of the Spirit. We can only triumph over lies if we read our Bibles. We can only come to know Jesus as He is revealed to us in Scripture. We can only grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus as we keep our eyes on His Word. May we believe in God. May we trust His goodness. May we trust His clear, authoritative, and sufficient Word that all point us to the Light of the world, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
Dear Heavenly Father,
The whole human race fell into sin, but You so mercifully provided a way for me to live forever through Your Son, Jesus. Jesus lived the perfect life I could never live, suffered and died on the cross for my sins, and in three days rose again that by grace through faith in Him, I may live forever! Lord, give me the grace to live for the One who died for me. Help me trust in You with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).
All glory belongs to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen!
And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 2 Corinthians 11:14
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17