Two Thrones At War (continued)
satan in Eden (continued)
"The serpent impersonates "the devil" and "satan". Before God's curse came upon the beast, it was not a writhing, repulsive reptile but was probably the most beautiful and graceful of all creatures, just as lucifer, before his sin and fall, was the most beautiful and glorious of all God's celestial creation. But because it became satan's tool, the curse of God was pronounced upon it "above every beast of the field" (Genesis 3:14).
satan comes to man in the form of a serpent. In this we have the predominant characteristic of the devil - deception. He is the most hateful, heinous, fiendish, and diabolical of all created beings, yet he assumes the form of the most beautiful. satan is in Eden as a completely disguised enemy. "That old serpent called the devil" - which means slanderer or accuser. This title is used throughout Scripture, where he is revealed as the slanderer of God and accuser of man. The devil slanders God to man and man to God.
"That old serpent called ... satan," which means opponent or adversary. Throughout the Word this title is used where he is acting as the opponent of God or the adversary of man.
This fourth person then in Eden is the devil, who is there as God's slanderer and as satan, who is God's opponent. "The serpent was more subtle." These words picture one who is the acme of subtlety, cunning, and craftiness. It is the character delineation of one who excels all others in deception. Does Scripture throw further light on this? What form of expression does his subtlety take?
He is a Deceiver (Revelation 12:9).
From Genesis to Revelation he is revealed as the archdeceiver, both of individuals and of the nations.
He is a Liar (John 8:44: he is a liar, and the father of it.
From Genesis to Revelation he is revealed as the archliar in whom there is no truth; whose every word is a lie and who is the source of all lies.
He is the Angel of Light (2 Corinthians 11:14: satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
In every one of these roles, that of a slanderer of God, an opponent of God, a deceiver, a liar, an angel of light, does "the serpent," the devil," "satan appear in the very acme of perfection in Eden. In fact the sublety of his working as traced through Scripture never exceeds that wrought in the first encounter with God and man on earth. We might say that we have his original pattern in Eden and all that follows is but a replica. Here we have a life-sized portrait of him, and a blueprint of his plan of action. In the archtraitor's initial move to establish his kingdom on earth among men by causing God's first man and woman to revolt against God and give allegiance to himself, satan used the most effective subtleties his mastermind could devise. In Eden they were so eminently successful that he has never laid them aside, because he could not improve upon them.
(continued with # 52)