In the third chapter of Genesis we find recorded the first conversation between a human being and anyone other than the God Who created both entities. In this instance, the other entity was Satan, here referred to as “the serpent.” Because faith is the foundation upon which salvation is built, it is not surprising that the serpent’s first words to Eve concerned faith: “Has God said that you can not eat of every tree in the garden?” Satan, knowing that everything concerning life would rest upon man’s faith in God’s Word, directed his initial attack at the Words He had spoken to Eve and Adam–the sole members of the Church of Eden. Note that the devil quoted God’s Words perfectly. Recall that when Jesus returned from His 40 day fast the first thing Satan did was to attack Him by quoting a passage from God’s Word. “Quote, then tweak” has been a staple in Satan’s bag of deception techniques ever since he convinced one third of God’s angels to follow him in rebellion against their Maker. His deception formula consists of speaking God’s Truth, then changing it ever so slightly. Man, hearing God’s Truth, then believes Satan’s lie about that Truth. And being unwilling to “… try the spirits” of those who teach them (1 Jn. 4:1), followers of his false prophets are “… ever learning (from them) but never coming to the knowledge of the (Lord’s) truth” (2 Tim. 3:7).
In response to Satan’s question Eve replied that God had indeed spoken those very Words. Her statement reveals that she believed what He had said. She then added that God had not only forbidden her and Adam to eat of the tree, they were not to so much as touch it. To do so would result in their deaths. Note that there was no hint of doubt in her words. Both she and Adam believed what God had said to them. Notice that the entire conversation so far involved GOD’S WORDS. Adam and Eve’s eternity would be determined by their belief in and obedience to those Words. The members of the first human family and the Lord’s first church “knew” that His Words were true. At that point their faith, being based on God’s Words, was total.
It was at this time that Satan revealed his strategy for turning God-seeking mankind away from the faith God requires in order to receive eternal life. The serpent would accomplish this by turning man to himself by injecting his counterfeit faith into man’s heart. He would speak righteous-sounding counterfeit words as if they were coming from the heart of God. Having done so, he would convince his victims to base their faith on those words. But before the serpent could convince them to believe him, he had to convince them to doubt God–He had to convince them that God had lied to them. Without using the word “lie,” which would have alerted his victims to his strategy, the master of deception (Rev. 12:9) subtly added ONE word that cast doubt on all of the Lord’s Words. That seemingly innocuous addition to God’s statement was the word “not”–three letters that would alter human history. Recall that Eve had stated that if she and Adam so much as touched the forbidden tree THEY WOULD DIE. By using one small word, Satan convinced them that they could defy their Maker and “… NOT surely die.” Incredibly, they rejected God’s Words and embraced Satan’s word. Why? Upon hearing what they wanted to hear, the strength of their “knowing” began to fade. Upon hearing words that appealed to their self- centeredness, they quickly came to “know” that the serpent was right. God’s Words, which earlier had been undeniable Truths, were no longer Truths. God’s Truths, which placed them under His control, had been replaced by “truths” that gave them self-control. Let us envision this scenario: Adam and Eve, living in the paradise that had been created by the One Who had created them as well as the universe in which they lived, has accepted the word of a STRANGER, who had created nothing. Isn’t it amazing how quickly and totally circumstance can turn “truth” into a lie and visa versa? See the Introduction to this website for a few examples. Read all of it to find many more. Visit my YouTube site at proveallthingsofgod to hear those examples discussed in detail. L.J.