In Genesis’ account of original sin we learn a great deal about how Satan seeks to distort our understanding of God. Recall that in the Garden of Eden God created “all sorts of trees … that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit” (Genesis 2:9, NLT). He then places Adam in the garden and encourages him to “freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden – except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 16-17, NLT). God warns him that if he eats from that tree he is sure to die. In other words, enjoy My creation to the fullest but demonstrate your love for Me by obeying one simple command. Show that you trust Me to do what’s best for you.
What a remarkable arrangement. Nothing in recorded history approaches the generosity and splendor God offered. Adam will spend eternity enjoying the most succulent fruit imaginable and experience that pleasure daily without having to work a single second for it. It is an ideal situation that people from every generation and every culture crave.
But after God creates Eve from one of Adam’s ribs, Satan arrives on the scene in the guise of a serpent and reveals his nature as a cunning deceiver. [Remember that Jesus once called Satan the father of lies – see John 8:44]. Notice how he operates. Immediately he challenges Eve’s understanding of what God said, which she did not hear firsthand but learned from Adam. “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” (Genesis 3:1 NLT).
He uses that same approach to distort Scripture with us: “Did Jesus really say ‘Come to Me and I will give you rest’?”; “Did He really say ‘Neither do I condemn you’?”; “Did He really say ‘Forsake all to be My disciple’?”
Whenever God plants truth in our heart or Scripture points us to Christ, you can be certain Satan will come alongside and whisper, “Did God really say that?” “Is that really what Scripture means?” In doing so he hopes to cast doubt on our faith so we question God’s words.
To combat Satan’s deceit we must diligently sow God’s Word in our hearts. Otherwise we risk making the same mistake as Adam and Eve when she misquotes God and declares they are not allowed to eat fruit from the tree of knowledge nor allowed to touch it. We make ourselves susceptible to Satan’s lies whenever we possess an ill-informed understanding of God’s character and His Word.
Satan then informs Eve that God has lied; they will not die if they eat the forbidden fruit. In doing so he makes a defamatory charge: they cannot believe God. He is unreliable and untrustworthy. Moreover, He does not have their best interests at heart and wants to withhold His best from them. The other trees are not nearly as satisfying as God claims. True fulfillment only comes from eating of the tree God has forbidden.
Satan makes similar arguments today and sadly many of us fall for them as easily as Adam and Eve did. God can’t be trusted nor does He want what’s best for us. His commands are burdensome, onerous, and prevent us from enjoying life to the full.
Take time this week to examine your life. Are there areas where you rejected God’s commands or His promises because you bought into Satan’s lies? I want to remind you that God is absolutely trustworthy. He cannot lie. And He always wants what’s best for us – even when that is not what we want for ourselves.