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The temptation of Satan

| By PKD Lee |

Satan uses subtlety and guile to deceive us. He makes a statement that exaggerates and entices us to respond. He tells Eve that God has banned ‘every tree’ from Adam and Eve. Eve immediately rises to the bait and opens a conversation with Satan. In her response she also exaggerates.

If we compare with chapter 2:17, we find that Eve has added ‘touch’ to God’s command which was not there. Compare Paul’s statement on the subtlety of Satan in II Corinthians 11:3, “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

The serpent also rebelled against God before the fall of Adam. We are not told when this happened. However, Satan and the serpent being subject to man, their fallen nature should not have mattered. Adam and Eve instead of being tempted by the serpent should have exercised their authority over the serpent to keep him under check. So should we.

Satan challenges God’s veracity directly and Eve loses faith in God’s word. Satan uses the bait that the other side of the fence is greener, the other side being the side against God. ‘If you go against God, your eyes will be opened’. Eve is promised that she is going to become ‘like God’. In other words, she can be independent of God. The call to go against God is clear here. The term, ‘eyes will be opened’ means that she will obtain wisdom like God. Therefore ‘knowing good and evil’ should be understood experientially i.e. by the act of taking the fruit and eating of it, she experienced what it meant to disobey God and the difference between good and evil. It also implies choice and exercise of our wills independently of God and so to become like God. Apart from the direct call to disbelieve and mistrust God, there are other added attractions to lure the flesh – ‘good to see’ and ‘good to eat’.

I John 2:15-16 looks back on this passage when it says:

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the father is not in him. For all that is in the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life - is not of the Father but is of the world.”

Eve’s sin is not a passive one of omission, but an active one. She ‘took’, which is a wilful act. Once she was in Satan’s power, the serpent was discarded and she becomes an instrument of Satan to become the temptress to Adam.

Paul refers to this as the basis of sin entering the world in Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man,and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—"

Adam and Eve’s sin was a wilful disobedience of God’s command.

Do we trust God in all situations?

Do we seek things God has prohibited us from?

Do we discuss and evaluate our temptations rather than turning our back on it?


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