““You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.””
Genesis 3:4-5 NIV
In Part I of this series, we talked about how the enemy’s questions come to shake one’s faith and de-stabilize the foundations of truth one has built by God’s grace. Here, in these verses, we see that having shoved the woman out of her place of absolute trust in God, the serpent now has room to sell outright lies about God.
LIE # 1: God is a liar: “You will not certainly die”
I struggled, for some time, to understand how exactly Adam and Eve died when they ate from the tree.
In an article entitled “COVIDic Times: BE AFRAID”, Dr. Yaw Perbi excellently explains this idea of Adam and Eve and the certain death which God warned would happen. He says:
“As a little boy, I always used to wonder whether God lied about them dying as soon as they ate the forbidden fruit because they were very much alive after that, even running away from God! Now I know that what happened to them immediately was death alright– they were instantly separated from God– spiritual death. Their physical death came later.”
Read the rest of the article here.
Make no mistake; Adam and Eve died when they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – just like God had said they would. They spiritually died when they ate the fruit– and this death was immediate. The proof of this is in the fact that they felt a need to hide from God, God whom they would previously hang out with in the Garden.
The spiritually dead person cannot abide the presence of God. Spiritual death is separation from God. Adam and Eve experienced that [immediately they ate of the tree]. For them, it manifested in the form of a distinct feeling of unworthiness to be in His presence, hence the hiding. This was followed by their being sent out of the garden, so that they also lost the privilege of physically being in the presence of God.
I feel like sometimes we don’t dread separation from God enough. The present appeal of other superficially more exciting things tends to distort the truth of what separation from God really is, deceptively diminishing the dread and danger of what separation from God– eternal separation from God– really means. I believe that at some point in all our journeys, each of us has come to our own version of an action that is tantamount to distancing ourselves from God but to which we have muttered our own version of the enemy’s “You will not surely die.”
We need to be majorly concerned with the matter of separation from God. We need to dread it enough that the choices we make reflect this because God respects and honours choice. A choice that draws you away [or keeps you] from Him hurts and displeases Him and you bet a choice that takes you away from Him eternally is very painful for Him BUT He will honour your choice. So choose right! Your very life depends on it!
LIE # 2: God doesn’t want your growth or progress– “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened…”
Most people who mock Christians claim that we’re anything from brain-washed to stupid. The serpent’s claim here is similar; he’s essentially saying that if you are and stay “blind”, it serves God well. But just think, why would a God who is light delight in blind children? What is the point of light if it can’t be seen, if it can’t be celebrated? God is light, in Him, there is no darkness AT ALL [1 John 1:5 NIV]. No one who walks sincerely with the God of light can claim to be in the dark [I John 1:6-7 NIV].
2 Corinthians 4:4 NIV says, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
Blindness is the purview of the enemy. It’s completely ironic and a distinct case of the pot calling [not the kettle, but] snow black. There is no truth in him. [John 8:44 NKJV]
God delights in the well-being and growth and advancement of His children. The Scriptures are distinct proof of this!
- Psalm 35:27 NIV – He “delights in the well-being of His servant.”
- Jeremiah 29:11 NIV – He has plans to prosper His children and to give them a hope and a future.
- John 10:10 NLT – “[His] purpose is to give [us] a rich and satisfying life.”
Again, God does not withhold what He knows is best for His own:
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favour and honour; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” [Psalm 84:11 NIV]
Indeed, Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened. Their eye-opening experience was not what they thought it would be. They had been duped! This is what happens to people who chase after the ever-elusive enlightenment that the world beguilingly proposes. There is no light to be experienced outside of the infinite brightness and glory that is God. The pursuit of this ends ultimately in nothing but disappointment and disaster.
There is so much that’s available to us for our knowing and growing pleasure– unhidden truths that God wants us to know and grow in. What He has chosen to reveal is what He would have us know. The secret things belong to God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law. [Deuteronomy 29:29 NIV]
LIE # 3: God is selfish: “…your eyes will be opened and you will be like God”
- Why should He alone be God?
- Why can’t you aspire to be God, like He is?
With every sin, there is a (temporary) loss of awe and a distinct lack of reverence for God.
These quotes from John Piper shed great light on this:
“Sin…comes from a heart that does not treasure God over all things.”
“Every sin is an exchange of the glory of God for the glory of an immediate pleasure.”
“We never merely leave God because we value Him little; we always exchange God for what we value more.”
Romans 1:22-23 NIV: “Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.”
God is everything. He is enough; don’t fall for the claim that something about His laws or your relationship with Him are suppressive and restrictive or are keeping you from experiencing “real life” or holding you back from your full potential.
As was shared in Part I of this series, the need to know God for yourself cannot be overemphasized. This is because anything (especially a lie) you believe about a person affects your relationship with that person. For instance, if you believe your father easily gets angry, you would also believe that you can’t just go to him at any time for anything. You’ll have to gauge his moods and wait for a time when you think he’s in a good mood and when you might receive a favourable response to your request. In a similar vein, if you know God is a loving, forgiving Father who’s always ready and willing to listen to you, even when you sin, you know you can go back and talk to Him.
Equality with God is not something to be chased after; it’s not even a little bit possible. It’s a futile endeavour that results in a shocking display of the staggering deficiency of man and the absolute supremacy of God. It’s like attempting to replace the sun with a battery-powered torchlight or a candle. An exercise in futility. Steer clear of any association [with an individual or a group or any creature- known or unknown- in our universe] that tells/promises you that there exists some knowledge or some path that can make you God. Na lie!
HE IS GOD!
God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To Him be honour and might forever. Amen. [1 Timothy 6:15b-16]
You are a child of God! Delight in your place!