Not so long ago, we had what I might call The Year of Twisted Truths…otherwise known as a presidential election year. In 2008, when I googled the phrase “twisted truth”, I got a page full of articles about politics. Not all that surprising I guess, but it strikes me that during that election, my friends, family and yes, I myself, heard some twisted versions of the truth and often believed them. Not unlike the garden, many of the advertisements and accusations during any election have some bit of truth in them, but have been tweaked just enough to confuse and alarm, to cause us to question what we think we know.
Can you think of a time you were deceived by a lie that sounded true?
So in my last post, Twisted Truths, we started comparing what each party said in the Garden of Eden. I want to continue making the comparison between what God said, what the serpent said, and what Eve said. Once again, I have underlined some words to help you see the sometimes subtle differences.
God – Genesis 2:17 “but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil…”
serpent – Genesis 3:1 He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
Eve – Genesis 3:3 “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…”
First of all, I find it interesting that Eve doesn’t call the tree by its name, “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” She simply refers to it as the “tree in the middle.” Then even more interesting, she also adds another restriction, “…and you must not touch it.” Did God say they couldn’t touch it? No. Now as I mentioned last time, when God gave Adam instructions about the tree in Genesis 2:16-17, Eve hadn’t been created yet, so as far as we know, Eve didn’t get the instructions directly from God. Maybe Adam added the “no touching” rule just to make sure she stayed away. I guess it’s possible she made this rule for herself. It’s probably not a good idea to touch food we’re not allowed to eat, right? Why would I want to touch a cupcake when I’m on a diet?
I don’t know why she said what she said or what it means but what I do see is this…maybe Eve was beginning to speak the serpent’s language. Exaggeration…subtlety…it’s just a slight variation. I’m just saying…but let’s finish by making one last comparison.
God – Genesis 2:17 “but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
serpent – Genesis 3:4-5 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Eve – Genesis 3:3 “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.’”
Now, when the serpent told her that she would “not surely die”, that was an outright lie, and that lie alone probably would not have deceived Eve. So the serpent continues with the language he speaks best…the almost truth. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God knowing good and evil.” Suddenly, it gives Eve pause. You can almost see the wheels turning in her head. The tree is called “The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” after all. Consider the serpent’s words. In what ways was what the serpent said true? In what ways was it a lie?
Please understand that the serpent’s lies were no accident. They were carefully crafted. He was there when God was looking for a servant. And he sure wasn’t it. John Milton said of Satan that he “[preferred] to be the king of hell, rather than the servant of heaven.” Satan wanted to be God and he’s counting on Adam and Eve being tempted by the same possibility. For now, think about this. There was no such thing as salvation for Satan and he wanted to take down the ones who walked in the garden as well. Once he knew God had a plan of salvation for man he must have become FURIOUS. And now we are the center of his focus. In what ways are we believing the same old lies?