Two Thrones at War (continued)
his method of Approach (continued)
But Eve did not quote God's Word accurately. (How few of us do!) She added to it, "neither shall ye touch it," thus making the command even more drastic than it was. And she took from it by saying, "lest ye die," thus weakening the force of the penalty. God had said, "For in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. satan knew the Word of God had spoken better than Eve did, and he takes full advantage of her inaccuracy and ignorance, as he always does with the one unfamiliar with the Scripture. In the very moment he was saying, "Hath God said?" he, as no one else in God's universe, knew not only that God had said, but exactly what God had said.
He must take advantage of this loophole in Eve's faith and strike a bold blow. Success depended upon so undermining the authority of God's Word that she would feel no sense of accountability, so that the fear of the penalty would be removed. For the one thing satan must secure in order to establish his rebel kingdom on earth was disobedience to God's command. He capitalizes on the doubt which he has instilled in Eve's heart and now comes out with a bold, blatant denial of God's Word, "Ye shall not surely die."
The deceiver has now taken on a second role - that of liar. The archapostate is now in the open with an out-and-out challenge for Eve to reject God's truth and to accept and act upon his lie. The devil's word was matched against God's. The two assertions were exact contradictions. "Thou shalt surely die." "Thou shalt not surely die." Which ever one was the truth made the other a lie. There was no middle ground. One or the other must be wholly repudiated.
But satan's victory is not yet won. The truth is objective, but the sweet intimate relationship one has with God, who is truth, is subjective. Denial of the truth breaks fellowship with God Himself. So a mere denial of the truth was not enough to win Eve over to his lie. Somehow, a wedge must be made between God and Eve in their personal relationship. So now he assumes two other of his manifold roles. He appears as an angel of light and becomes a slanderer and accuser of God, with the diabolical intent of misrepresenting and maligning God's character (Genesis 3:5).
He poses as a great benefactor who would that their condition might be greatly improved. This could so easily be done by simply eating of the forbidden fruit. Then the archdeceiver and liar voiced his second lie. The most damnable of all his lies, that of holding out to Eve the promise of being like God, the Most High. "Ye shall be as God." He tempted Eve to reach out for equality with God, the very sin which had cast him don from the highest height of heaven to the lowest depth of hell. To put the poison of hell into the wicked dart, he added devilish denunciation to doubt and to denial. "God doth know" all the immeasurable advantage and gain that would be yours by equality with Him, so He wishes to keep your eyes closed in ignorance. The moment you eat of the forbidden tree, you will know good and evil as God knows it. If He forbids such knowledge that holds so much advantage for you, can He be a beneficent God? Will you remain loyal to such a One?
In this diabolical misrepresentation of God we see the serpent in his chief role in Scripture as satan, the opponent of God. Here the veil is removed from his innermost being and we see his venomous, reptilian heart, filled to overflowing with hatred of God. With all his hatred of which hate is capable satan hates God. In Eden we have its first display in the annals of human history. This hatred of God is what brought him to Eden.
The issue is clear. The one thing absolutely fundamental and imperative in God's kingdom was obedience. The only principle upon which satan could establish a rebel kingdom was disobedience. Who would win in this battle, God or satan? Eve disobeyed. "She took of the fruit and did eat." More than that: "she gave also unto her husband with her and he did eat." Adam disobeyed. In a later chapter we will study more fully the consequences of satan's victory. Now we merely state that as a result of Adam and Eve's disobedience they became the first subjects in satan's rebel kingdom on earth.
(continued with # 52 - (Two Thrones at War)