The Pair Are Tempted into Sin: Part 3 of 6 (series: Lessons on Genesis)
by John Lowe
He tells her, “You will not die. Why, that is just absolutely impossible!” He questions the love of God and the goodness of God: “If God is good, why did He put this restriction on you?” The serpent implies that God is not honest when he says, “You will die.” And he questions the holiness of God by saying, “You’re going to be gods yourselves, for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil (v. 5).”
What Eve did was to add to the Word of God. The liberal and the atheist take from the Word of God, and God has warned against that. The cults (and some fundamentalists, by the way) add to the Word of God, and God warns against that. There are those who say that today we are saved by keeping the law. They argue, “Yes, you are saved by faith, but it is faith plus something else”—and they are apt to come up with anything. The Word of God says: “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” (John 6:29). Friend, you are saved by faith in Jesus, plus nothing. Isn’t that wonderful!
For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof,
Satan challenges the motives of God. He promises them they will gain certain advantages by eating the forbidden fruit. Here he follows his first blow with another (the old “one-two”), and the second was aimed at her pride, and it proved to be a fatal blow to the tree we are branches of.
The serpent insinuates that they will be greatly improved by eating this fruit, and that God did not do them any good by forbidding them this fruit: "For God doth know how much it will advance you; and therefore, it is only out of envy and animosity that He has forbidden it.’’ He suggests that the only reason He would not let them eat from that tree is because then they would know their own strength, and would not continue in an inferior state, but be able to cope with Him; and he implied God grudged them the honour and happiness which their eating of that tree would bring them. This was a great affront to God, and the highest indignity that could be done to Him, a reproach to His power, as if He feared His creatures, and even more of a reproach to his goodness, as if he hated the work of his own hands and would not let those whom he has made to be happy. Note, he makes the temptation suit their current state of innocence by promising them intellectual delights and satisfactions. These were the lures with which he baited his hook. He declares, “In the day you eat thereof you will find a sudden and immediate change for the better.’’ His plan was to create in them:
1. DISCONTENT WITH THEIR PRESENT STATE, by getting them to believe that things were not as good as they could be, and should be.
2. AMBITION FOR ADVANCEMENT; how ridiculous of them to think they were fit to be gods. Satan had ruined himself by desiring to be like the Most High (see Isa. 14:14), and therefore he seeks to infect our first parents with the same desire, so that he might ruin them too.
It was a very dangerous temptation for our first parents, since it tended to alienate their affections for God, and consequently to diminish their allegiance to Him. This is still how the devil draws people to him and away from God; by suggesting to them that God does not really care about them, and by creating false hopes in the benefits and advantages of sin. Therefore, we must always oppose him, always think well of God, and hate sin because it is the worst of evils: let us resist the devil, and he will flee from us.
then your eyes shall be opened,
"YOUR EYES SHALL BE OPENED” probably refers to the thought process and receiving an increase in your power of contemplation, in the scope of your intellectual views; and you will be able to understand things better than you can now.’’ He insinuates that in their present condition they were dim-witted, and short-sighted, in comparison with what they would be then. His words meant more than met the ear. In one sense her eyes were opened; because she had a ruinous experience with "good and evil"—of the happiness of a holy condition, and the misery of a sinful, condition. But he artfully concealed this consequence from Eve, who, excited by a generous desire for knowledge, thought only of rising to the level and privileges of God.
The objective of the devil appears to have been this: to persuade our first parents that they would, by eating of this fruit, become as wise and powerful as God, (because knowledge is power), and be able to live forever, independent of Him. In the end, every temptation is to go your own way instead of God’s way, to do
your own thing instead of what God says.
and ye shall be as gods,
The serpent implies that Eve is limited by her subservient position which requires her trusting God, and that after eating the fruit her understanding will be greatly enlightened and improved; AND YE SHALL BE AS GODS, like God, which is how the word should be translated; because what idea could our first parents have of gods before idolatry came about, because sin had not yet entered into the world?
The Hebrew word Elohim is the same one used in Genesis 1.1 for the Supreme Being, so it has the same meaning here, “YOU SHALL BE AS GODS, as Elohim, mighty gods; not only omniscient, but omnipotent too;’’ or, "You shall be like God himself, equal to him, rivals with him; you shall be sovereigns and no longer subjects, self-sufficient and no longer dependent.’’ What an absurd suggestion! It is like saying creatures created yesterday can be like their Creator, who has always existed.
Satan’s aim is to oppose God. He wants to make it appear to Adam and Eve that, in reality, God is not good, but jealous. The serpent indicates that the path to knowledge is to bypass God’s word.
knowing good and evil.
"You shall know GOOD AND EVIL, that is, everything that one would ever want to know about the subjects.’’ To support this part of the temptation, he abuses the name given to this tree: it was intended to teach the practical knowledge of good and evil, that is, of duty and disobedience; and God would use it to provide the experimental knowledge of good and evil, that is, of happiness and misery. In these senses, the name of the tree was a warning to them not to eat of it; but Satan perverts the sense of it, and uses it to cause the destruction of their happy existence, by convincing them that this tree would give them a speculative theoretical knowledge of the natures, kinds, and origins, of good and evil.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food,
The fall of mankind is a tragic story, and we have it here in this verse, in a nutshell. When Eve set off on the pathway to sin there are four clearly defined steps that she took. First, she SAW THAT THE TREE WAS GOOD FOR FOOD. Sin begins with the glimpse of sin, and Job was aware of the danger involved with observing sin—“I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?” (Job 31:1; KJV). In essence, he exclaims, “My conscience and my eyes are the contracting parties; God is the Judge; and I am therefore bound not to look upon anything with a covetous eye, by which my conscience may be defiled, or my God dishonored. Catching a glimpse of sin is not sin, but that is where the pathway that leads to sin begins. Consequently, the very sight and thought of sin ought to be avoided as much as possible. Eve saw—she should have turned her eyes away from THE TREE; but she enters into temptation by looking with pleasure on the forbidden fruit. A great deal of sin comes in through the eye-gate. Satan throws those fiery darts which pierce and poison the heart at these gates. The eye infects the heart with guilt as well as grief. Let us therefore, join holy Job, and make a covenant with our eyes, not to look on that which we are in danger of lusting after. Jesus said, “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Mt. 5:28; KJV). The lustful look is the expression of a heart attitude that says in essence, “I would if I could.” The act would follow if the opportunity were to occur. Let the fear of God always be a covering for the eyes.
Apparently, THE TREE with the forbidden fruit is attractive to the eye, appealing to the appetite, and tempting to the aspirations of the mind. Both the man and the woman sinned because of listening to another created being rather than to God—“These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death” (James 1:15; NLT). Sin takes over the spirit gradually. Evil desire leads to pleasing thoughts, which lead the mind astray; then sin is born, disclosed, and strengthened; and then the person is destroyed. Sin is progressive, as David noted: "Blessed is the main who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers" Eve’s encounter with Satan did not end well, because after a while he got the upper hand, and she was unable to resist his wiles.