Two Thrones At War (continued)
satan in Eden (continued)
Let us study under the Spirit's illumination and guidance the serpent's approach.
The Deceiver at Work
"And he said unto the woman." Why not unto the man? "More subtle." The very first subtlety was in addressing his remarks to the woman. The archdeceiver takes the line of least resistance. Eve would be more quickly and easily deceived. The command had been given directly from God to Adam. She had it second-hand through her husband, and no doubt did not feel the same sense of responsibility and so was not as fully fortified against the devil's subtlety.
Because God had given the command to the man he was the one primarily responsible for obedience to it, and if the approach were made directly to Adam it would have involved an out-and-out, deliberate disobedience to a clearly stated command. This was too risky an approach. Adam must be reached through Eve. The serpent would deceive the woman and through her he would reach the man. The very confessions of Adam and Eve corroborate this reasoning (Genesis 3:13; 2 Corinthians 11:3; Genesis 3:12; Genesis 3:17; Romans 5:19).
His Method of Approach
Let us call to mind that the archdeceiver is the archapostate. His perfect wisdom had become perverted wisdom. He abode no longer in the truth. He had become the archliar. This determined the method of his approach. God had declared His will through His Word. The essential to disobedience is doubt. He must first of all undermine faith in the truth of God if he would succeed in bringing them to rebel against God. If they were to believe his lie they must doubt God's truth, so the disguised enemy makes the most subtle approach (Genesis 3:1).
"Hath God said?" Yes, God had said. He had given a crystal-clear command which was a declaration of His sovereign will. God's Word was authoritative. satan makes no declaration. He simply asks what seems like an innocent question. But the very form of the question was the most subtle attempt to instill doubt as to the authenticity of God's Word. Can you not fairly hear the serpent speak? "Eve, you only heard the command through your husband. Perhaps you are mistaken and God did not say positively that you should not eat of every tree of the garden. Is it safe in such an important matter to take the testimony of one man, even that of your husband?"
The serpent's chatter on down through the centuries has followed exactly the same line: he has not deviated one iota from his first method of approach. The apostates in the pulpit and in the professor's chair are serpents in the form of parrots, echoing the enemy's refrain, "Hath God said?"
The serpent must get rid of God's declared Word at all costs, and he would succeed in the first round of the battle if he could persuade Eve that God had not spoken. He would at least make first base if he could install doubt in the authenticity of God's Word, which would automatically rob it of its authority.
The serpent's first wile was only partially successful, for she gave an unequivocal repulse to his temptation to doubt the certainty of God's declaration in her reply, "God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it." The fiery dart of doubt in the authenticity of God's Word had missed its mark and her faith on this point remained unshaken.
But "the serpent" was very versatile and his quiver was full of wiles. If he could not weaken her faith in the authenticity of God's Word, he would seek to bring her to reject its rightful authority over her, by instilling doubt as to the goodness of God in ever giving a command that placed such restrictions upon her free will. He would ask the question another way and with another subtle emphasis. "Hath God said?" "Eve, you say you may eat of the fruits of the garden. But of one tree, God has forbidden you to eat of its fruit. Is any such arbitrary command reasonable? And can a God who gives it be good?" Eve again replies that God has given His reason why they should not eat of the one particular tree. There would be a terrible penalty for such disobedience. The penalty was certain death.
(continued with # 51)