Worldview determines everything. In order to get Adam and Eve to fall in the Garden of Eden, Satan had to completely deceive them into adopting a new worldview that was antagonistic to what God had established. Some argue that Eve was the one deceived, while Adam’s sin was more deliberate. Regardless of motivation, Adam sinned because he had an incorrect view of God—he was likewise deceived into adopting a faulty worldview. As mentioned in this week’s inGest, Satan’s conversation with Eve shows at least three deceptions Satan used in the Garden of Eden.
Satan’s words to Eve that her eyes would be opened if she ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil were true in one sense. The next verse says: “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings” (Gen. 3:7). While their eyes were open to shame that follows sin, they were also closed. Adam and Eve now had their spiritual vision dimmed and mental capacity diminished, preventing them from being able to fully grasp the wisdom, power, and love of God.
Unfortunately, we also possess this visually incongruous eyesight that paradoxically recognizes a fault in our human condition but at the same time stubbornly blinds us in darkness. In our study, our eyes are opened, only for us to face the realization that there is no hope for the shameful human condition of racism, pride, lust, and greed. Something outside of the human condition is needed. Jesus said that in order for human beings to see clearly again, they need “to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18).
Be as Gods
At the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Satan perverted the calling to be like God, originally installed by God Himself at creation. First, Satan modified God-likeness into something that needed to be protected. Godliness was a gift that had been freely offered to Adam and Eve at their birth. It was not something that required their works; it was not something to be obtained—godliness was theirs to possess and enjoy. Unselfish surrender was the key to maintaining this gift. As long as they surrendered what they had (mind, soul, strength, and might) for what God could offer (a fuller reflection of His image), they could remain in possession of this gift. However, in the phrase “you will be like God,” Satan instilled in Eve the idea that real God-likeness was a state of being that was yet to be obtained. Eve was led to believe, ironically, that godliness was the exact opposite of what it truly is. Thus, Satan’s deception was turning godliness into selfishness and then making selfishness appealing to Eve.
Knowing Good and Evil
The third way in which Satan deceived was in the estimation of knowledge. Satan convinced Eve that the knowledge she possessed was incomplete. In mathematics, “and” is a term used for addition. Eve was told that she could add to the knowledge that she already had (the “and”) by partaking of the tree’s fruit. Satan continues to use this same argument today, giving the impression that to know more—including that which is in violation of heavenly things—is better than knowing only that which is good.
However, this costly deception robs those who believe it. God’s intent has always been for His children to know that which is good. Good and evil cannot be added together because they are not similarly valued—what is good is eternal, while that which is evil is temporal. In the Garden of Eden, Satan deceived Eve into adopting a worldview that settled for a temporary false conception of excellence at the expense of an eternal fountain of whatever is good and true.