The Temptation of Adam and Eve, Part 2
Topic: Topical Passage: Genesis 3:4-7
Genesis 3:4-7 | The Temptation of Adam and Eve, Part 2
Good morning! Welcome to Sunday school. Please turn in your Bibles to Genesis 3:1-7.
Last week, we started our study on temptation. Our first case study is Eve. And last week, we talked about Satan’s battle plan in tempting her. What was his first objective? He wanted to get Eve to doubt God’s goodness. And so we talked about the importance of being content and of practicing purposeful thankfulness.
This week, we will talk about Satan’s most deadly weapon. What is Satan’s most deadly weapon? (the lie) Satan’s second objective was to get Eve to deny God’s word.
Let’s read Genesis 3:1-5 (Gen 3:1-3).
Objective #2: Get Eve to… Deny God’s Word.
1. Directly Contradict Him.
So the conversation is going along back and forth chitter chatter so to speak until you get to v. 4, and then Satan drops an absolute bombshell (v. 4).
Woah! Did he just say what I thought he just said? He said it alright! Satan just called God a liar. In fact, he appears to have quoted God in order to contradict Him! What phrase did God use back in 2:17 (2:17)? Now what does Satan say in 3:4? (“NOT ‘surely die’”!) This is none other than a bold-faced denial.
Satan’s ultimate weapon is the lie, and he can’t help but pull that weapon out. Now, he likes to mix in truth along with the lie; but in the end, he has to lie! Why? If he doesn’t lie, he cannot get you to sin!
That’s disturbing; but in an ironic way, it’s also somewhat encouraging. Why? Because there is a very effective solution to this problem! And what is that? You’ve got to know the word
Last week, we talked about how thankfulness is like an inoculation; it will protect you from sin. So will the truth! This is very encouraging! Because as we are discovering Satan’s tactics, we are also discovering proven defenses! And these defenses work! It’s not a matter of, “If you do these things, you might not sin.” If you are thankful/content and you reject the lies of Satan, you will not sin! That’s why Paul said in Galatians 5:16, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.”
So the solution to Satan’s lies is under your nose: study and know the truth of God’s Word! The question is, do you care enough to do that?
It’s worth noting that the first doctrine Satan explicitly denies is the doctrine of judgment. And that’s often still how it works today. Things can be boiling under the surface in a person’s mind and heart, but when it finally comes to a head, the first doctrines that usually goes is the doctrine of judgment. Why? Because we don’t like to think about our guilt and its consequences! Because that would mean that we’d have to change! But we don’t want to change! We love our sin! That’s why the tip of the iceberg is usually the doctrine of judgment.
So first, Satan directly contradicts God’s word. Second, he presents an alternate worldview.
2. Present an Alternate Worldview.
This is very important. Satan doesn’t just tell individual lies. His lies are a part of false systems of belief called “worldviews.”
Think about this: if what Satan is saying is true, and Adam and Eve will not die after eating the fruit, then why would God give that command? Satan must account for that fact. He does so with an alternate worldview.
I found this definition of “worldview” online. “A world view is a mental model of reality.” A worldview is a comprehensive system of beliefs. It is the lens through which you view the world. Someone give me an example of a worldview. (Christianity, Islam, secularism, postmodernism, etc.)
Everybody has a worldview. You say, “Pastor Kris, I don’t have a worldview. I didn’t even know what that word meant before you began this lesson!” Just because you don’t know what a pancreas is, doesn’t mean you don’t have one. Similarly, just because you can’t define “worldview,” doesn’t mean you don’t have one. Your worldview may be subconscious. But everyone operates out of a system of beliefs.
A good worldview accomplishes two things: it accounts for all of the facts, while still being internally consistent. Of course, we want to know not just which worldview is “good,” but which one is true.
So what worldview does Satan present? If the fruit will not kill Adam and Eve, then how does he account for God’s command (v. 5)? Satan says that rather than the command being for Adam and Eve’s protection, it was for God’s protection (against them, of all things!). “God is insecure. He wants to remain ‘top dog,’ but He knows that if you eat of that fruit, you will become like Him, knowing good and evil.”
We talked last week about how Satan cast doubt on God’s goodness. The worldview he presents in v. 5 implies two additional things about God’s character. 1) “Sometimes God lies; He cannot be trusted.” 2) “God is not untouchable. In fact, you can become gods!” What hideous lies!
Does Satan still use false worldviews today? (Yes!) We listed some of those false worldviews earlier. These worldviews are constantly pressing in on us and trying to change our thinking. As Christians, we must be aware of the false worldviews that are out there and learn how to spot and refute them.
What are some of the channels through which Christians are affected by false worldviews? (the news, movies, books, etc.) One of the channels I think of immediately is movies and TV series. Last week, Elise and I watched the movie “Murder on the Orient Express.” Have any of you seen it? It’s based on an Agatha Christie book that we listened to together, and we enjoyed that, so we watched the movie. Now, we watched it using filters because of some language, but it was what most people would consider a “clean movie.” And I am glad that we watched it. However, afterwards, Elise and I began discussing the worldview behind the movie (which is a very good thing to do, by the way). And we determined that the entire movie was arguing for a pragmatic ethic and vigilante justice. “You don’t need to submit to the government; you can take justice into your hands; and you can decide right and wrong.”
Now, most people watching that movie would never even think about the worldview implications I just mentioned. However, that is why it’s so dangerous! Movies and shows are very disarming. They make us laugh. They draw us in. And many times, people leave the theaters thinking differently than when they went in, and they don’t even realize what just happened.
Brothers and sisters, we have got to be aware of the false worldviews that are out there and resist them!
Another channel through which false worldviews come to us is psychology.
As the influence of Christianity in our culture has declined, the influence of psychology and psychiatry has increased. You say, “Pastor Kris, isn’t psychology a good thing?” Psychology excels at observing and describing human behavior. However, you’ve got to realize (and I don’t know if you knew this or not), but psychology is based upon atheism! That’s how the practice of psychology came about! “Given that there is no God, how can we help people with their problems?” That is basically the question that is at the root of modern psychology.
Now, sometimes psychology stumbles upon biblical truth; and when that happens, we feel vindicated. Also, there are those who claim to be Christian psychologists, and that could mean a lot of different things, I suppose. But my point is that if you go to see a psychologist, you better be wary of the worldview behind what you are being told.
As Christians, we must be committed to understanding, proclaiming, and defending the Christian worldview, because Satan is attacking it.
It is very important to understand the concept of worldview as it relates to evangelism. When I share the gospel, I am not just trying to get someone to pray a prayer. My friend is wearing a pair of glasses that affects the way he views the world. So am I. My goal, through the power of the Spirit, is for him to take his glasses off and put mine on. Do you see how massive that goal is? That is probably going to take a lot of time! I am going to have to listen very carefully and respond thoughtfully. Most importantly, I must pray for God to open my friend’s eyes. That is what evangelism is often going to look like in this culture.
Unfortunately, Satan is doing the exact opposite of that in this story. His first step in accomplishing objective #2 is to directly contradict God. Next, he presents an alternate worldview. Then the final step toward accomplishing this objective is to make competing promises.
3. Make Competing Promises (v. 5).
In our study of 1 Thessalonians, we said that hope is a powerful motivating force. It spurs us to action. That is why promises are also so important, because hope is often based upon promises.
In order to get Adam and Eve to do what he wants, Satan has got to cast a vision for them. Kind of like the infomercials on late-night TV, he’s got to convince Adam and Eve how good their lives will be if they take that fatal step. So what does Satan promise? Basically three things: 1) “Your eyes will be opened”; 2) “You will be like God”; 3) “You will know good and evil.”
Now you tell me, were Satan’s promises true or false? Here’s how D.A. Carson put it in a lecture I heard him give on this topic: Satan’s promises were both partially true and totally false.
Did Adam and Eve die physically after eating the fruit? (Not right away!) Were their eyes opened? (Yes) Did they in some sense become like God? (Yes, in a way.) Did they gain a knowledge of good and evil? (Yes) So they should be happy, right? No way!
Let’s talk about the fulfillment of each of those three promises. First, “Your eyes will be opened.” Were their eyes opened? Yes. But all they could see was their nakedness. In other words, they got shame. Not only that, but although their eyes were opened in one sense, in another sense, they became blind. The apostle Paul says that the god of this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe. Satan had deceived them.
What about the second promise– “You will be like God?” In one small sense they became more like Him; but at the same time, the image of God in them was horribly marred! They died spiritually! They actually took a huge step backwards as it relates to being like God! Satan had deceived them.
What about that final promise– “You will know good and evil.” Oh, what a sinister play on words! Adam and Eve expected to learn about evil the way that a doctor learns about some deadly disease. Instead, Satan taught them about evil by infecting them with a deadly disease. And they never figured out the difference until it was too late. Adam and Eve had exercised their ability to define right and wrong on their own terms, but had found that they could not control the consequences of that decision. Once again, they had been deceived.
Isn’t that the way Satan works? He gives us exactly what he promised us, but then we find that it was nothing like what we were expecting. On TV, the burger looked big and juicy, but then it comes to you all smooshed down in a little wrapper. Not only that, it tastes gross! But you already spent your money on it! And there are no returns!
This is why celebrities commit suicide. They got everything they always wanted, and it tastes like cardboard. Brothers and sisters, do not be fooled by Satan’s lies! Drugs are not worth it! Alcohol is not worth it! Pornography and/or masturbation is not worth it! That adulterous relationship is not worth the cost of your wife and your kids! Money is not worth it! Don’t trade opportunities to love God and people for stuff you can put in the bank! Can you gain those things? Yes! But you will have to sign away your soul in the process.
When Satan starts promising you the world, whether through a commercial, or some other advertisement, or a song, or a friend, fight back! Stop your ears! Close your eyes! Look away! Change the channel! Say to yourself, “No! That’s a lie! It is not as it appears! And I refuse to be lured to my death!”
Fight back with God’s contradictory promises. Satan promised self-actualization: “You will become like God.” But what did God promise? Death. What if Adam and Eve had believed God’s promise instead of the devil’s?
Read the book of Proverbs. Read the Bible, for that matter! Sin is not worth it. As the saying goes, sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay. Do not be deceived!
Satan’s final step was to get Eve to disobey God’s command. But notice, Satan never actually said, “Eat this fruit.” Why? He didn’t need to! Once he had laid the groundwork by 1) making Eve discontent with her situation, 2) causing her to doubt God’s goodness, and 3) getting her to believe all his lies, this was a foregone conclusion.
There is an application here for us. We often try to fight sin on the action level. We tell ourselves, “Ahh! I’ve just got to stop doing and saying these stupid things!” But we’ve missed the point. You see, we should be fighting sin on the heart and the mind level, because that’s where the battle is won or lost!
The same thing applies to our kids. We focus completely on the exteriors and then wonder why they walk away from God as soon as they turn eighteen! It’s because we can control their actions to an extent while they are young. But if Satan has gotten their hearts, it is only a matter of time before they act out on those beliefs!
So what can we do? How can we defend ourselves against the lies of the devil? You have got to know the truth!
I was talking with a friend recently about challenges in churches, and we concluded that most of these problems would resolve themselves if people would just read their Bibles and pray every day! It really is as simple as that! So why do we have such a hard time doing it?
God’s truth is the weapon you need to counteract Satan’s lies. What did Paul say in Ephesians 6? – “Take… the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” That is the key, my friends.
How do you “take” the word of God? Do you do it with your hand–you bring your Bible to church? No, you do it with your mind. You program the Bible into your brain until it is reprogrammed, so that when a virus comes along (like the lies of Satan), you are prepared to reject it!
You say, “Pastor Kris, I already know the truth. I don’t need to be in the word every day in order to recognize Satan’s lies!” That is an arrogant and potentially deadly attitude. I don’t care how strong or how smart you think you are–if you are not in the word, Satan is going to get you! It’s just that simple.
And you cannot rely on your past time in the word, either! What do we say when it comes to all other areas of life– “If you don’t lose it, you…” what? (“lose it”!) So to think that you don’t need to study anymore because you have studied so much in the past is to set yourself up for disaster! We ALL need God’s word to protect us, and that includes me. If I were to just stop–stop reading my Bible, stop listening to Scripture and sermons, stop attending church regularly–I would be scared to death of falling prey to one of Satan’s lies–in fact, I’m sure that I would!
Brothers and sisters, let’s be sober, let’s be vigilant, and let’s put on the armor of God! You are not better than Eve, but you have a powerful weapon. Pick it up. Take the sword of the Spirit.