The First Deception – If It Looks So Good…Part II

Genesis 3 contains the foundational truths of discerning deception. The Garden of Eden was a perfect religious setting; and into this perfect religious setting came deception. The relationship between God and the man and woman was so close that He “walked in the garden in the cool of the day” with them. This was spiritual intimacy of the highest order. And therein was part of Satan’s subtle deception – he tempted the woman in the realm of that spiritual intimacy to become closer to God, to be more like Him (v.5).

For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Let’s remember that deception came before the Fall, before sin corrupted her mind with the twisted knowledge of what good and evil were. Exactly because of the purity of her being, this deception had to come in a very good disguise – so it came disguised in a holy desire for her to be closer to the God she loved. Such a holy desire – but, in order for it to be fulfilled she had to disobey His one small warning: just take one bite of what looked good to her. Here was the first appearance of the “angel of light”(II Cor 11:14), bringing new light in a holy way. And she did eat…and Adam did likewise. And they lost everything. The temptation looked good; it sounded holy; and it would allow them to grow wise – how could this be so bad when it looked so good?

In their deception and sin, the man and woman did not even first realize there was any change in them:

“After Eve had eaten and apparently suffered no ill effect, this constituted an additional argument why Adam need not hesitate to adopt the same course” (Barnes Commentary).

After all, she hadn’t died as God said she would if she ate of the fruit, so it must be safe. But,

“they eat, they expect marvelous results, they wait and there grows on them a sense of shame” (ibid).

When we are first deceived, we may still seem to be holy – perhaps we may even think we are more holy – but in time a sense of shame will grow in us. When we’ve partaken that which God has forbidden in His Word; we discover we’ve fallen for that which only looked “good.” What we may not realize is that discernment was a major victim in the Garden of Eden. Our discernment of what was good was skewed forever once that apple was first eaten. Now we think we have at least as much wisdom as God. Now we think His Word is out-of-date and old-fashioned just like He is. And so, we try adjusting it to please ourselves.

In the Garden of Eden, wasn’t one of the things the Lord was saying was that He had already given the man and woman ALL they needed? They did not need more than all the trees and fruits He had already provided for them. Today, isn’t He trying to tell us the same thing? He has given us salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit – there is no “more” described in the Bible. Then why is the cry across the land for “more, Lord, more”? Bionically, what “more” is there? Do we not already have all we need?

Matthew Henry Commentary on Genesis 3

Satan took advantage by finding her [Eve] near the forbidden tree, and probably gazing upon the fruit of it, only to satisfy her curiosity. Those that would not eat the forbidden fruit must not come near the forbidden fruit.

Pr 4:14 Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.

Pr 4:15 Avoid it, do not go on it; turn from it and pass on.

Satan tried different tactics. He questioned whether it was a sin or not, v. 1. He denied there was any danger in it, v.4. He suggested much advantage by it, v.5.

v.1 He puts an innocent-sounding question to Eve: “I hear a piece of news, is it true? Has God really forbidden you to eat of this tree?” Those who would be safe have need to be suspicious.

Satan taunts Eve by suggesting that she is being really too cautious and holding to God’s Word too strictly, too precisely. “Surely you are mistaken, it cannot be that God would be so unreasonable as to deny you this tree.” Yet, it is our wisdom to keep a firm belief in and high respect for the precise commands of God. It is wisdom to take notice of the liberties and graces that God has given instead of listening to any sly insinuations that God would put us into paradise only to tantalize us with the sight of fair but forbidden fruit. It is well to say: “Yes, we may eat of the fruit of the trees; thanks to our Maker, we have plenty and variety enough allowed us.” We need no more than what He has provided.

Since the tempter doesn’t get that far with his first arguments, he turns to another: he promises them advantage by it, v.5.  He insinuates to them the great improvements they would make by eating of this fruit. And he suits the temptation to the pure state they were now in, proposing to them, not any carnal pleasures or gratifications, but intellectual delights and satisfactions. “Your eyes shall be opened.” He appeals to the sin he has the most affinity with himself – wanting to be like God; “you shall be as gods”: self-sufficient, no longer dependent. “You shall know good and evil”, that is, everything that is desirable to be known.

In all these insinuations he aims to beget in them, First, discontent with their present state, as if it were not so good as it might be, and should be. Secondly, the desire to be like gods.

(end of commentary)

Life application

Have you ever found yourself thinking “if I were God, I would have done that differently? OR “God let me hurry You along with this agenda. You’ve been trying to deliver on this promise You gave me years ago and I think You need some of my help with bringing it to fruition.” (I have been shamefully guilty of both those things).

Comments? Questions? We won’t have another assignment until the end of this 4 part series but feel free to click here and send me your comments and questions.


Featured Image:“Die Bibel in Bildern”.  Woodcut for “Die Bibel in Bildern”, 1860. by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Link to Wikimedia page