Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Genesis 3:1-7 The Temptation and the Sin


KEY TEXT: Genesis 3:1-7 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'?" And the woman said to the serpent, "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.'" But the serpent said to the woman, "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." 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. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

KEY THOT: The devil's most effective strategy against humans has remained unchanged since the dawn of creation. His tactic in temptation begins by sowing doubts regarding the veracity of God's word. This is then followed by an outright lie. In Genesis 2:16-17, God gave Adam a simple and unambiguous command regarding the tree of knowledge of good and evil: "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." However, Satan sowed doubts in Eve's mind by twisting God's command: "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?" From God's permission to eat of "every tree" in the Garden except one, Satan twisted it into a Garden-wide prohibition against eating "any tree" in the garden. 

The woman's reply in verses 2 and 3 show that she was not 100% certain regarding what God actually said: "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.'" Firstly, there were two trees in the midst of the garden, not just one tree: "The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" (Genesis 2:9). So there were two trees, one permitted and the other prohibited, but Eve demonstrated her inaccurate knowledge of God's word by lumping both trees together as one forbidden tree "in the midst of the garden".

Secondly, Eve added to God's command by claiming that God has forbidden them to even touch it. The danger of adding to God's word ("neither shall you touch it") is as bad as subtracting from God's word ("tree that is in the midst of the garden"). So, when the serpent saw his opportunity, he took the next step in his two-prong temptation--an outright lie: "You shall not surely die" in direct contradiction to God's word in Genesis 2:17 which says, "of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."

When the serpent saw that Eve was buying into his lie, he delivers his final punch by undermining her trust in God himself: "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). In other words, God cannot be trusted because He doesn't want the best for humans, viz., to be "like God, knowing good and evil." From doubting God's word to doubting God's character: the temptation is now complete once the woman had bought into this new Satanic narrative and worldview.

The next verse describes how Eve began to rationalize evil as good: "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" (Genesis 3:6). To her, the forbidden fruit of knowledge of good and devil was good for three reasons: (1) it was good "for food"--to satisfy our need for survival; (2) it was good because it was "a delight to the eyes" to satisfy our need for security to look good; and (3) it was good "to make one wise"--to satisfy our need for significance. 

The devil's temptation is always couched as something positive that will enhance our survival, our security and our significance. These basic needs are legitimate, but God has intended to meet our basic needs in His own ways. But by listening to Satan's instead of God's voice,, Eve has fallen into sin of following the devil's path to meet her basic needs for survival, security and significance instead of relying on God's way through the fruit of the tree of life. 

Ever since that moment in the Garden, mankind has wanted to be "like God" by the path of knowledge rather than life. And the pursuit of knowledge has resulted in rebellion against God, resulting in death, rather than submission to God, resulting in life.

Abba-Father, help us listen to Your voice and follow Your path to meet our needs for survival, security and significance by seeking first Your kingdom and Your righteousness. In Jesus' name, Amen.  

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