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’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 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.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 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. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. – Genesis 3:1-7
Have you ever heard the first shoe fall – figuratively-speaking? Maybe your boss said, “We’re going to be making some changes in our organizational model.” And your boss became your ex-boss. Or your boyfriend said, “I hope we can see more of each other.” And your boyfriend became your fiancé. Sometimes foreboding, sometimes hope-inspiring. When a line offers a glimpse into a potential future, we must take notice.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. Those are ominous words. They portend a future that will be intersected by craft and shrewd designs. Of the serpent. The Devil. The Deceiver. The Father of the lie. The thief who steals, kills, and destroys. Elsewhere Satan is called a roaring lion. He’s dangerous. He’s stealthy. He schemes. Watch him at work. Be warned!
Satan does three things to beguile and deceive Eve and intimidate Adam into silence. He makes God out to be unreasonable: Did God really say…” He has just injected doubt into the mind of Eve about whether God’s commands and prohibitions are reasonable. Did he really say…?
He also accuses God(!) of lying. You will not surely die, he says. Wait a minute. God says you will die, but Satan says, you won’t die. Sometimes the boldface lie takes on a life of its own. Sometimes arrogant hubris undercuts people’s ability to hold to truth. That’s what bullies do. They use the brute force of words, threat, and bluster to cower people. Eve is deceived. Adam is intimidated.
And to top it off, and perhaps worst of all, the serpent tells Eve that God was holding out on them. Don’t you want to be like God, knowing good and evil? Don’t you want to make your own decisions? Who knows better what is good or evil for you than you? God is petty. He doesn’t want you to have any fun. He doesn’t want to give up his sole prerogative of saying what is good or evil. Satan impugns God’s goodness, character, and authority.
All this is the opposite of faith. Faith imputes goodness, grace, and truth to God. Faith acknowledges God’s singular place to determine what is good and what is evil. Faith spans the chasms of mis-understanding, non-understanding, and mystery, and embraces things that simply do not make sense. Faith does this because it sees God for who he is, and his promises as pure and priceless.
Adam and Eve forsake God’s love and jettison their love for him. They no longer trust in God alone. They have no proper fear of God. All for a lie. Adam and Eve die in the moment they take the bait because they abandon faith.
This is the fundamental issue we must all deal with: will we live by faith in God, or abandon him for the slick scheme and cower in fear of the serpent?