Do you know the Bible’s first recorded lie? In the Garden of Eden, the serpent asked Eve, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’ (Genesis 3:1)?” She answered with a yes.
He then followed the question with the lie, “You will not certainly die” (Genesis 3:4).
The serpent supported the lie by appealing to Eve’s interests: “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). While the text is brief, attention is given to three foundations of the serpent’s lie. These three traits continue to deceive today.
Your Eyes Will Be Opened
What did the serpent mean that “your eyes will be opened”? He promised Eve enlightenment, the felling of becoming more.
Her motive? Overcoming discontent. The solution? Choose an alternative to God’s plan. The human tendency to seek a shortcut to greatness continues today.
You Will Be Like God
Why would Eve want to be like God? She knew God well, recognizing him as all-powerful and wise. She wanted to be like him, but she pursue godliness in the wrong way.
Sound familiar? Flip through television channels late at night or search Google on any spiritual topic. Countless voices pursue us with the promise of becoming more “godly” or spiritual by using their product or service.
This work-based system is the lie Jesus came to solve. We don’t work harder to obtain God’s favor. We believe in the resurrected Jesus and receive it.
You Will Know Good and Evil
Why did it matter if Eve knew good and evil? She had already been given God’s command regarding how to be “good” in the garden. The serpent promised to also show her evil.
I see this as similar to how Star Wars portrays the call to the “dark side.” Evil is powerful, it can be attractive, but it is not worth the cost. In Eve’s case, choosing her own way led to judgment and separation from intimacy with God.
The same remains true today.
If we desire to walk closely with God, we cannot fall for the ancient lie that begins with questioning God. We must know what God’s Word teaches and live by it.
This is why writing Scripture is so important in my life. I can read the Bible and understand it. When I take the time to write it out, I feel like I really know it. I’ve meditated upon it. I’ve wrestled with its meaning for my life.
I will still fall at times and so will you. But when we pursue God’s way rather than the lies of this world, we can better defend against them. Jesus offered the perfect example in his response to Satan’s lies in the wilderness.
In response to all three temptations, Jesus quoted Scripture to defend truth and live it (Matthew 4:1-11). May the same be true in our lives today.
Dillon Burroughs is the author and coauthor of numerous books and blogs about his experiences of handwriting the Bible at the Holy Writ Project on Patheos.com. Find out more about Dillon at Facebook or Twitter.