The Oldest Liar!
According to a Psychology Today item entitled “The Many Forms of Deception” deception may be achieved by lying about, omitting, denying, or exaggerating truth.* The devil is a master of them all. Of him, Jesus said, “…there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44). He is the oldest liar, and the longest existing researcher of human nature. No wonder he is so skilled a deceiver!
Before even creating woman, God said to Adam “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Surely Adam would have passed this directive on to Eve. She would have known it, though perhaps not have received it first hand so to speak as Adam had from the voice of God. So the devil selects Eve as his target for the first human deception. In it we see all of the above listed tactics:
He says to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” He misquotes God and Eve is quick to correct him. She says, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” It seems Eve has answered wisely at this point, but the devil has nonetheless scored a point too: he has engaged Eve in dialogue!
He is quick to retort, “You will not certainly die,” (an outright lie). But he next suggests an ulterior motive on God’s part and at same time casts aspersions on God’s true character: “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Eve takes the bait. Thinks the devil’s reasoning may be plausible, and now she looks at the fruit differently… it appears “good for food and pleasing to the eye,” but not only that. Now she sees it also as something almost magical… a plant “desirable for gaining wisdom,” and she eats it (see Gen. 3:1-6).
The devil now dances in glee! He knows what He has accomplished. Eve already now is feeling tarnished… shame begins to creep up her spine. She seeks to justify what she has done and convinces Adam to share in her sin. Sin loves a co-conspirator. So is set in motion the course of all humankind.
To the Galatians Paul warns, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (Gal. 6:7). And to next generation young preacher Timothy he cautions, “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Tim. 3:12-13).
Believer, beware! For that, as they say, is the gospel truth!
*RETRIEVED Nov. 15, 2020 from https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/basics/deception
To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.