Devotion on Notable Firsts of the Bible (The First Lie), 22 April 2015 Anno Domini
1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. (Gen 3:1-5)
The Paradise of God at Eden was matchless in beauty, comfort, and pleasure. It was the very picture of Heaven. In fact, it has been removed and the Tree of Life will again appear to us beside the river of Life in Heaven. “8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. 10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. 11 The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; 12 And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone. 13 And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. 14 And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates. 15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” (Gen 2:8-15)
Without knowing what God had prepared for man in the Garden at Eden, we, too, may be deceived by the ill-natured serpent of the Garden. You will read in the above passage that God made “every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food.” There was no death in Eden; therefore, man’s diet was vegetarian. But God made two special trees – the first was the Tree of Life, and the second was the Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil – and these two He placed in the midst of the Garden. Why did God place these two trees of conflicting character in the midst of the Garden? I believe it is because God desires genuine love to be reciprocated by His creatures. Love must be volitional. If it is not, it is not genuine love since to love, or not to love is a choice. The Two Trees also present this contrasting choice – the Lord Jesus Christ, or Satan. If there is no choice but that of righteousness, then there is no choice at all. So God makes a measure of the heart in the choices that man must make. Man possesses a mind capable of reason, logic, and decision. God desires that we use those faculties in revealing our true character.
THE FIRST LIAR:
There is a dark and odious creature that now appears, following the blissful institution of the estate of Marriage in Genesis, chapter 2. He comes in the form of a serpent, and this leaves little doubt of his subtle approach, fascinating gaze, colorful beauty, and twisting paths. He is the Devil, or Satan. “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (Rev 12:9) The nature of the serpent is quite well known. The serpent is able to entrance, bedazzle and mesmerize its victim with its bewitching gaze until the victim falls prey to its wiles. Satan, once a great angel of light (Lucifer), was never happy about the Creation of God. There was not strongly an enforced rule over the minds of the man and woman that God had created, and Satan was disposed to authoritarian rule. If he could not exercise it, he would rather mar and destroy. His pride was his downfall. “Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee. How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” (Isaiah 14:11-15) Pride is a parent to a multiplicity of sins.
Satan is the first liar, and who would be more apt for the title? “He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44) Please observe his approach in deceiving the woman.
QUESTIONING GOD’S WORD – He begins his deception with a question (Satan always does), “Yea, hath God said.” He begins by asking, did God really say what the Scriptures aver that He says? The Satan has his influence today in the voices of Higher Critics who question every reference to Christ as Divine. They find Christ offensive to their consciences and try, through spurious translations of the modern Bible, to direct our attention away from the Lord Jesus Christ and toward some sterile and unknowable god. Modern Bible translations are the avant-garde of that movement (NIV, NASB, ESV, RSV, etc).
MISREPRESENTING GOD’S WORD – Satan next misstates the Word of God by his question: “Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” The question is intentionally misleading. Why? Because God did NOT say, “Ye shall not eat of every tree in the Garden.” He said: “Of every tree of the garden thou gayest freely eat (including the Tree of Life): But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou salt not eat of it: for in the day that thou neatest thereof thou salt surely die.” (Gen 2:16-17) God said there was only ONE tree of which we could not eat – the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil! Eve answers with a partially true response. The Tree of Life was ALSO in the midst of the Garden, and God did not forbid the eating of its fruit. “And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. Of only ONE tree in the midst were they not to eat.
FLATLY REFUTING GOD’S WORD – Satan now flatly refutes the Word of God just as modern Bible translations have egregiously done: “Ye shall not surely die.” Satan, the prime liar, has the evil and unmitigated temerity to call God a liar – like the swamp waters calling the pristine fountain, IMPURE!
ASCRIBES FALSE MOTIVES TO GOD – “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Pride motivates Satan, yet he ascribes a false pride to God Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth and, yes, and the Creator of Lucifer himself ere he fell from Divine Grace and Favor!
THE SIN OF EVE:
Eve took the baited fruit! Young ladies of today still take the poisoned bait placed on Satan’s hook by licentious young men bent on carnal gratification. “It is Ok, love is all that matters. Why not?” are the deliberate deceptions that are often uttered to violate the virtue, purity, and character of a young lady? But the deception of Satan goes far afield in deceiving mankind in religion, science, politics, and social mores. He still plants questions in the sinful hearts of men concerning what God has said. He still misstates God’s Word with his newly invented Bible versions based on inferior manuscript evidence. He still directly refutes the Word and Will of Almighty God, and millions, and billions, fall victim to his enchanting gaze and deceptions.
Eve was deceived, not Adam! Womanhood, being more inclined to trust and believe than stubborn man is also more easily deceived. “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.” (1 Tim 2:14-15) There might be some tepid defense for Eve who resides in the means by which she came by God’s warning against the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. She learned this, seemingly, from Adam and not directly from God as Adam had done. “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen 2:16-17) This was before God created woman later in Genesis 2:22. So Adam received the warning directly, and Eve from a lesser authority – Adam. Remember the people of Sychar believed in Jesus on the word of the Woman who came to Jacobs Well, but they believed finally once they had met Christ face-to-face. “Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.” (John 4:42) But Eve sinned, beyond question, with her eyes open for she quoted enough of God’s Word to seal her guilt in knowing better.
What led to Eve’s deception? 1) She went before the Tree which God had forbidden her to partake of subjecting herself to unnecessary temptation; 2) She stopped before the Tree admiring it; 3) she listened to the voice of the serpent in contradicting the Word of God; she looked at the tempting fruit and partook of it. Remember what we learn from Psalm 1:1: sin is a DIRECTION! “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” (Psalms 1:1) Eve fell victim to the serpent because she submitted to all three of these temptations leading to transgression. Her only defense: “The serpent beguiled (meaning to morally seduce or to delude) me, and I did eat.” (Gen 3:13) Eve placed herself before the tree. She lingered there. She listened to the voice of the deceiver. She sinned!
It is my prayer that all who read these words will listen only to that Voice that both made, and loves you. The other only desires your ruin and destruction. He lies and speaks NO truth!