By J. B. Fagoyinbo
In The Possible Root of God’s Compassion towards Man, I said that God identifies a glimpse of righteousness in our ways. This will be clearly seen in His relationship with the Patriarchs; starting from Noah. But before we check the Patriarchs let us examine the great deceit “Ye Shall Be as Gods, Knowing Good and Evil” (Gen 3:5).
Adam was without sin, but God gave him a will that made him a potential sinner. Adam initially exercised his will toward God and had fellowship with Him. How long Adam was in the Garden of Eden before Eve’s (“an help meet for him”, Gen 2:18) creation is not recorded in the Bible.
Satan subtly began the temptation with a question; “hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (Gen 3:1). Satan did not mention either the tree of life or of the knowledge of good and evil? His question brought the forbidden fruit to Eve’s thought, but without any mention of it; taking her focus away from God’s generous provisions but only of God’s prohibition. Satan does not wish us to ponder the grace of God, but to grudgingly meditate upon His denials.
Eve’s response “We may…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”. (Gen 3:2-3), was to correct Satan’s question. The addition to what God had said seems to indicate their understanding that God did not want them to have anything to do with this tree; Eve was secondary to the instruction and possibly relating Adam’s presentation of the instruction to her.
Satan, the father of lies (Jn 8:44), then blatantly lied “Ye shall not surely die: 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 3:4-5).
Satan’s first interaction with Eve was that of a religious seeker, in an effort to create doubts about the goodness of God and to focus her attention on what was forbidden as opposed to all that was freely given. The second attack is bold and daring. Now in place of deception and doubt there is denial, followed by the slander of God’s character: “And the serpent said to the woman, ‘You surely shall not die!’” (Genesis 3:4). The tree of life was not even mentioned or considered; though both the tree of life and of the knowledge of good and evil were adjacent to each other; Eve’s focus had been directed to the forbidden fruit which offered some mysterious quality of life which appealed to the woman though “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” (Gen 2:9).
Let us look into other subtle ways of Satan:
- Satan subtly ministered the ancient oriental tradition of a barren woman having children through surrogate mothers “…it may be that I may obtain children by her…” (Gen 16:1-2). Abram could not resist this because Satan appealed to the family need;
- Wanting to destroy Joseph’s destiny, Satan appealed to the lust of the flesh through Potiphar’s wife who “… cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me… day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her…. he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out…. she laid up his garment by her, until his lord came home…. saying, The Hebrew servant, which thou hast brought unto us, came in unto me to mock me:… Joseph’s master took him, and put him into the prison…” (Gen 39:7-20). Joseph resisted the Devil;
- The Lord God. Satan does not limit himself to the use of women. See the subtle way in which he maneuvered God to enable him to deal with Job (Job 1:6 – 2:7); and
- Jesus Christ. “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost … was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, Being forty days tempted of the devil. .. And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season” (Luke 4:1-13).
Satan’s tools of deception remain the same today. He appeals to the weakness of our flesh, emotions and intellect.
Search your past life. Where have you allowed Satan to lead you into rebellion? Next, we will see that before God called Adam to question he had made a line of escape for them. He made a line of escape in Jesus Christ concerning that rebellion of yours too, but you have to decide today. Can your sin be greater than that of David who combined the sins of abandonment of his responsibility to lead the battle, covetousness, royal rape, adultery, deceit and murder in one single act (2 Sam 11:1-25)? But David received pardon “And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD” (2 Sam 12:13) though he received due punishment “… The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die” (2 Sam 12:13-14).