Week 3 – The Fall

Blog Scripture Focus: Genesis 3:1-5

Podcast Scripture Focus: Genesis 3:1-24

As I write this post, my four children range between the ages of 12 and 3. My youngest regularly provides different challenges for my wife and me to parent through compared to what we experienced with his three older siblings when they were his age or younger. He will tell us a story without blinking an eye, and I swear he has made an alliance with the humorous sticky finger bandits from Home Alone 2. Another difference between our youngest son and his three siblings is that while the oldest ones would play with toys, color, or watch cartoons, he just likes to mess! Whether trying to paint his fingernails with his sisters’ fingernail polish, cutting paper scraps with scissors, or trying to “fix” something with my tools, he is consistently into something resulting in a bath for him or a project for his parents. Another difference between him and his siblings is that the little man loves asking questions, especially at bedtime! Sometimes, and I mean sometimes, his “why” or “what if” questions lead us to conversations about the faith. Still, most of the time, his questions are humorous, ridiculous, or sometimes downright disturbing, like when he asked me what would happen if he cut my head off; y’all pray for us, lol! However, through his questions and the ensuing conversation, his understanding of God, himself, and the world he lives in grows. As we turn our attention to Genesis 3:1, we see our focus of study for week three also begins with a question. The conversation and events that follow this initial question will help us grow in our understanding of our God, ourselves, the world in which we live, and the promise of the best being yet to come!

Satan Questions God’s Word

Genesis 3:1

The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”

It shouldn’t surprise us that Satan’s first recorded words are lies misrepresenting God and His abundant provision for His creation (Genesis 1:29-30 & 2:15-17). This initial interaction with Satan, inhabiting the serpent, shouldn’t be a surprise because Jesus calls Satan the father of lies in John 8:44. Sometime between God’s declaration of His creation being very good and this world-altering temptation, Satan rebels against the Triune God and is hurled down to the earth.

Once cast down, he wastes no time trying to overthrow the ones God has put in charge of His creation, Adam and Eve. He figures if he can’t usurp God’s authority and be God in heaven, he will try and usurp the God-given authority from His created vice-regents on earth. In verse one, we see him launch his plan by questioning Eve (and Adam, as we will see) about God’s word. God has told Adam that he could eat from any tree in the garden except for the tree of knowledge of good and evil and that if he did, he would surely die (Genesis 1:16-17). Yet, we see Satan question God’s instruction, twisting it, trying to paint Him as a sovereign tyrant.

Eve Misquotes God’s Word

Genesis 3:2-3

“Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”

Eve responds to the serpent’s question. Unfortunately, she misrepresents God, too, like Satan. But even though she misrepresents God and His words, she doesn’t share the same malicious intent like that as Satan speaking through the snake. Eve was correct in saying that God had given them the freedom to eat from all the trees in the garden except for the tree in the middle of the garden, the tree of knowledge of good and evil. However, she was wrong in saying that God had commanded them to not even touch it, and if they did, they would die. Eve had taken God’s decree given to Adam full of liberty, “you may freely eat of any tree except” to a life-limiting restriction, “we can’t even touch it.”

We fenced in our backyard several years ago and have since placed a trampoline, disc swing, large playground, and a concreted driveway with a basketball goal so that our kids can safely enjoy the backyard. Our youngest, though now understanding the fence is for his safety and joy, will still open the gate if left unlocked or try and climb the fence to venture into the front yard where the dangers of speeding cars, stray dogs, and possible strangers abound despite repeated warnings not to and experienced consequences of doing so. The garden of Eden was a backyard of paradise; God had given Adam and Eve EVERYTHING to enjoy fully and to commune with Him unhindered; all they had to do was stay in the metaphorical backyard and not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God’s command not to eat from this tree, like our command to our children not to go out of the backyard, was one of love and parental protection so they could enjoy freedom within the safely defined boundaries their loving God had prepared for them.

Suppose we add to (like Eve) or take away from God’s Word. We can wrongly change our perception of Him by adding or subtracting from His Word. Our blurred perception of Him due to our blundered handling of His Word will cause us to see Him wrongly. We will see Him as an impersonal cosmic dictator or a blundering sitcom comedy father with no authority and deserving no respect. Satan portrays God as a distant celestial dictator by using God (Elohim) instead of LORD God, which denotes God’s covenant love and relationship with His people. These two perceptions will lead us to sin against God as both views distort the truth about God, that He is the all-powerful and sovereign Creator who loves and is relational with His people, thus deserving of our loving obedience.

Satan’s Lies Against the God of the Word

Genesis 3:4-5

“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”

The father of lies, Satan, calls God a liar. God had said if anyone ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil that, they would surely die (Genesis 2-16-17). Satan told Eve that God was full of hot air, lying through His teeth. Satan was falsely portraying God to His creation. This deception tactic didn’t stop in the garden of Eden; the devil is still trying to trick people into believing his lies about God today. Some lies circulating today are that God doesn’t exist, we all worship the same God, Jesus is just one way to heaven, and that the Bible isn’t the Word of God but is simply a collection of a few certain men’s religious experiences. Satan lies about God’s person.

Secondly, Satan attacks God’s character. Satan tells Adam and Eve that God is holding out on them. Satan wants them to believe God doesn’t desire what is best for them. He causes them to doubt His character by causing them to question God’s plans for them. The serpent told them that God knew if they ate it, they would be like Him, and God selfishly didn’t want that. This lie drove Adam and Eve to have such tunnel vision that they blacked out the created universe around them, designed for them, and abundantly provided for them by God’s design. Everything was for them, everything but this one tree which then became the lustful focus of the couple, particularly Eve, it seems. We need to be aware of the enemy’s attempts to cause us to question God’s character for us as His children. If we end up doubting God’s qualities, we will go down a path of desperation, stress, and worry.

I think that if Adam and Eve had paused long enough and stopped fixating on this one forbidden tree to see everything God had given them to enjoy, they would have been able to see through the serpent’s craftiness. I also believe that if we would take a moment to look at creation and contemplate how God cares for His creation and has designed the universe to take care of our needs, we will not sin the next time we are tempted to doubt God’s love, goodness, and provision for us as His people (Matthew 6:25-33). Here Satan lies about God’s good plans concerning His own.

Finally, Satan lies and says that they can become Gods themselves! The devil calls the original couple to forget about Genesis 1 and 2, what they’ve experienced in the idyllic paradise and what they have learned as they have communed with their Creator. This empty promise, this false hope, and Satan’s other lies will lead them into emptiness and a sense of hopelessness. Today, many still believe this same lie, some in the name of religion and some with no religious affiliation. In the spiritual realm, Mormonism teaches that Jesus was a man who became a god and that anyone can eventually become a god. In the secular sphere, humanism teaches that people are of supreme importance, not the divine. In humanism, people are the measure of right and wrong; solving problems from within ourselves and in the world is possible through our strength and knowledge and working for the benefit of human beings because of shared humanity and not because of the character or commands of a particular god. Lastly, we see Satan lie about our place in God’s created order.

The opening question of Genesis 3 makes us aware of our adversary. This enemy of ours will stop at nothing to kill, steal, and destroy people made in the image of God (John 10:10). Peter tells us that this is his mission as he compares Satan to a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). One of the ways that he tries to bring utter destruction to people’s lives and the lives of believers, too, is to get us to believe his lies about God’s person, His plans, and our proper place in God’s brilliant and “very good” design. While we see our original parents fall for Satan’s lies in paradise, our Savior overcame Satan’s lies in a parched wilderness with the truth of God’s Word (Matthew 4:1-11). Jesus’ victory in using God’s Word to combat and defeat Satan’s twisting of God’s Word provides a battle plan for us today.

Even though Eve didn’t have the luxury of God’s Word fully revealed and written (though she had a reliable source, her husband Adam, concerning this initial command of God), we do today. We would be wise to heed the advice of Psalm 119:11 since we have God’s complete revelation of Himself easily accessible, which says,

I have hidden your word in my heart,
    that I might not sin against you.

As we memorize verses that teach us about God’s person, his plan, and our place in His good plans, we will see through Satan’s lies and render them powerless against us. God’s Word in our hearts rendering Satan’s lies ineffective, will bring us joy and God glory.

This Week’s Memory Verse:

Genesis 3:15

And I will cause hostility between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and her offspring.
He will strike your head,
    and you will strike his heel.”

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