Who is to Blame for Evil? Part III

Lucifer and His fallen angels were lurking around the earth and watching God’s masterful handiwork. They saw God’s great love in the creation of man and woman and His desire to have intimate fellowship and communion with them. Lucifer’s heart burned in rage and hatred against God and saw an opportunity to strike at the heart of God and get back at Him. So whom do you think became the object or prize in the devil’s spiritual warfare against God? Whom do you think the devil wants to crush, oppress, and bring into bondage upon the earth? Whom do you think the devil wants to swallow up with his deceptions, schemes, counterfeits, and lies? God’s wonderful man and woman, whom He so miraculously formed, made, and created in His image, became the target of all the spiritual forces of darkness. Lucifer began to hatch a plot to disrupt paradise upon the earth and bring destruction upon Adam and Eve. This evil scheme was designed to break and eliminate Adam and Eve’s dominion on the earth and separate them from the heart of God. Its goal was the spiritual death of all humanity and to make them slaves to the rule and authority of the devil. It was a masterful plan rooted in the corrupted wisdom of Lucifer and was devised to destroy Adam and Eve and all generations after them. At the heart of this attack is an all-out assault on the goodness of God.

Genesis chapter 3 is a record we are going to study in depth, because it lays forth the basic tactics and strategies of the devil in the battle between good and evil. It also explains why the world is such a mess today, and why God should never be blamed for it.I believe that the devil wanted to move quickly, before Adam and Eve became stronger in their relationship with God and their walk with Him. I think the master plot of Genesis Chapter 3 took place very soon after Adam and Eve were created. Lucifer moved with great purpose and stealth to try to defeat God’s purposes and bring great ruin to His prized and treasured creation.

Genesis 3:1(a) (American Standard Version):

Now the serpent was more subtle than any
beast of the field which Yahweh God had made.

In the Companion Bible, E.W. Bullinger states:

In Genesis 3 we have neither allegory, myth
legend, nor fable, but literal historical facts
set forth, and emphasized by the use of certain
figures of speech…A figure of speech is never
used except for the purpose of calling attention
to, emphasizing, and intensifying, the reality of
the literal sense, and the truth of the historical
facts; so that, while the words employed may
not be so strictly true to the letter, they all are
the more true to the truth conveyed by them,
and to the historical events connected with them.

The serpent is the first name used of the devil in Scripture, and we would be wise to take heed to the truth that God is telling us as to the characteristics and traits of His arch-enemy. The serpent was not a literal snake or animal that Lucifer possessed and spoke through, but is a figure of speech called hypocatastasis, which God used to emphasize and intensify the truth of the devil’s nature. Hypocatastasis is the strongest figure of speech of resemblance, comparison, and representation in human language. It is more forceful than a metaphor or simile and expresses the resemblance to the superlative degree. E.W. Bullinger, in Figures of Speech Used in the Bible, says:

This figure is calculated to arouse the mind and
attract and excite the attention to the greatest
extent…so well-known was it to the ancients,
that it received this significant name….This beautiful
and far-reaching figure frequently occurs in Scripture.
The Lord Jesus Himself often used it, and that with
wonderful effect.

A great way to illustrate this figure of speech is to compare it to the figures of simile and metaphor. Let’s say you thought some person was a dog in his actions. If you say to him, “You are like a dog,” this would be a simile which tamely states the fact. If you say to him ”You are a dog,” this would be a metaphor which states the fact in a stronger way. However if you say to him, “Dog!” this would be this wonderful figure hypocatastasis, and it states the fact in the strongest and most vivid way possible.

The serpent was Lucifer, the fallen angelic spirit-being, who came directly into the Garden of Eden to tempt Eve with his lies. The resemblance between a serpent and the devil is so absolutely stunning and remarkable that God used the figure of speech hypocatastasis to convey this truth in the most vivid way possible. If we explore the meaning of the Hebrew word “serpent” and the characteristics of this serpent it will open our eyes to the methods, strategies, and operations of our enemy. Clearly we know by Revelation 12:9 and 20:2, that the devil is referred to as “the old serpent.” From Genesis to Revelation, the serpent is an amazing descriptive title of the devil and his works. The word “serpent” in the Hebrew has the meaning “to hiss, mutter, whisper, enchant, and fascinate.” At its root, it means “to be bright or shine as brass or copper” and emphasizes a glorious and brilliant appearance. A serpent is known for its deadly bite. The devil is a master of making a glorious appearance and whispering words of enchantment that fascinate the listener. The serpent is known for its ability to attack suddenly and without warning with a deadly and poisonous bite. The fascination and enchantment are just part of a mirage to distract so that he can attack quickly without resistance and inject his deadly poison into a person.

The Bible describes a number of characteristics of the serpent in other verses so we can get a clear picture of the enemy of the goodness of God. The first description of the serpent is in Genesis 3:1, so let us read the first part of that verse again:

Genesis 3:1(a) (American Standard Version):

Now the serpent was more subtle than any
beast of the field which Yahweh God had made.

The word “beast” is a bad translation of the Hebrew word chay which simply means “living thing or being.” The word “subtle” in the Hebrew means: crafty, sly, shrewd, cunning, and wise. The serpent was more subtle, cunning, crafty, shrewd, and wise than any living being that God had made. The devil possessed superior knowledge and wisdom and used it in a cunning and shrewd way to accomplish his evil purposes. The devil not only enchants and fascinates by appearance, but also by his skillful and shrewd use of his corrupt wisdom and artful words. He fascinates the eye and the ear with a two-fold subtle attack.

II Corinthians 11:3 (Amplified Bible):

But now I am fearful, lest that even as the
serpent beguiled Eve by his cunning, so
your minds may be corrupted and seduced
from wholehearted and sincere and pure
devotion to Christ.

The word “beguiled” in the Greek means: to cheat, to completely deceive and to beguile thoroughly. The word “cunning” in the Greek means: craftiness, unscrupulous conduct; villainy; a false wisdom; treachery, and the use of subtle tricks. The devil is the master of deception and deceit. The devil is a cheat and will try to cheat you out of every good thing that God wants to give you both now and throughout all eternity. The serpent completely deceived Eve by his false wisdom, craftiness, treachery, and subtle tricks. The goal of this deception was to seduce and corrupt Eve away from her wholehearted devotion and obedience to God.

Revelation 12:9 (New American Standard):

And the great dragon was thrown down, the
serpent of old who is called the devil and
Satan, who deceives the whole world; he
was thrown down to the earth, and his angels
were thrown down with him.

The word “deceive” in the Greek means: to cause to wander and err, to lead astray, to lead into error and away from the truth, and a seduction from the truth.” The Greek tense indicates that it is a continual action that does not stop and that it is his habitual character. The devil, as the serpent, causes people to wander aimlessly away from the truth as he seduces them into error. This has been his character since the Garden of Eden, and he continuously operates in this manner. He is the seducer whose prime objective is to lead people away from truth, away from goodness, and away from the love of God to a path of misery, disappointment, and destruction. He is a master at his craft, and it is amazing how he has weaved his web of deception and laid his snares of seduction throughout history.

Psalm 140:3 (English Revised Version):

They have sharpened their tongue like a
serpent; adder’s poison is under their lips.

The devil, as the serpent, is a crafty expert in the use of words to deceive, manipulate, fascinate, enchant, and mislead. Jesus Christ referred to him as “the father of lies” in the gospel of John. His tongue is sharp and ready to pierce his enemy with his deception. The word “sharpened” in the Hebrew means: to pierce through, to whet, to sharpen, to teach incisively, and to inoculate. It is interesting that this same word is used in Deuteronomy when Moses commanded Israel concerning the words of the Lord.

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 (Amplified):

Hear O Israel: the Lord our God is one
Lord (the only Lord).

And you shall love the Lord your God with
all your mind and heart and with your entire
being and all your might.

And these words which I am commanding you
this day shall be first in your own mind and
hearts; [then]

You shall whet and sharpen them so as to make
them penetrate, and teach and impress them
diligently upon the minds and hearts of your
children, and shall talk of them when you sit
in your house and when you walk by the way,
and when you lie down and when you rise up.

Whose words are first in your heart and mind? What words are penetrating your mind and making a lasting impression in your heart? What words are inoculating you on a daily basis? If you want to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, then it is imperative for you to impress the Word of God into the depths of your soul. Read the Bible, study it, meditate on it, think about it, and talk about it. Sharpen and crystallize the Word of God in your mind and understanding so it penetrates and pierces into your heart. The mind is the foundational battlefield between good and evil. Whose word will dominate and occupy our thoughts, desires, beliefs, and actions? The serpent with a sharpened tongue full of poison is ready with his words of fear, envy, covetousness, hatred, selfishness, and worry. The serpent’s words are sharp, and his deception can penetrate our heart and pierce us through with much ruin, distraction, evil, and destruction. This is why the Word of God is so important to our walk with God and a main object of the attack of the serpent. The first attack of the serpent in Genesis chapter 3 is an all-out assault on the Word of God. The serpent sharpened his tongue and slyly spoke words of deception that pierced Eve to the heart and lead to her ruin and the subsequent contamination of the entire human race.

Genesis 49:17 (English Standard Version):

Dan shall be a serpent in the way, a viper
by the path, that bites the horse’s heels,
so that his rider falls backward.

The serpent is always lurking by the paths of life and stands in the way to God and His goodness. Often his attack is not a frontal assault, but the serpent may bite at another person, circumstance, or thing that causes us to fall backwards. The serpent always attempts to get us off the path of God and the way of truth. He tries to impede our progress and growth by his poisonous bite. He wants to stop us from moving forward in a an intimate fellowship and loving relationship with God. He bites to cause us to fall backwards into his snare of deceit and disappointing misery.

II Corinthians 11:14 (NKJV):

And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms
himself into an angel of light.

New Living Translation:

But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises
himself as an angel of light.

Message Bible:

And no wonder! Satan does it all the time,
dressing up as a beautiful angel of light.

The word “transforms” or “disguises” in the Greek has an interesting meaning in our study of the serpent. Wuest, in Word Studies of the Greek New Testament, says this Greek word metaschematzio means:

To change one’s outward expression by assuming
from the outside an expression that does not proceed
from nor is it representative of one’s true inner nature.
The word masquerade is an exact English translation…
In order to mislead the human race…he had to pose
as an angel of light. Satan masquerades as an angel of
light, whereas he is all the while an angel of darkness.

Satan did not show his true nature as the wicked serpent to Eve, but came into the Garden of Eden as a beautiful angel of light. Lucifer was known for his brilliance as the shining one and transformed himself into this glorious angelic figure. Eve must have been fascinated by his fashionable appearance and what seemed like his superior knowledge and wisdom. God made sure in no uncertain terms that we understand this was all a masquerade, as He calls this beautiful, compelling angel of light a “serpent.” He marks this word “serpent” with the strongest figure of speech possible so this important truth is not lost. This angel of light is really the angel of darkness and evil. His outward appearance has not changed the truth of his inner nature as a serpent. All the characteristics of the serpent were still the true nature of the angel of light. He looked good, but he was completely full of evil and deception. Satan began his attack on God and His goodness by assuming a form that looked so good and beautiful on the outside, but hid his true inner nature. It was all a fashion show to seduce Eve away from the truth of God’s Word.

Let’s return to Genesis 3, as now we have a fuller understanding of the wonderful figure of speech hypocatatstasis and the some of the characteristics of the the devil as the serpent, masquerading as an angel of light.

Genesis 3:1 (Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible):

Now the serpent was more crafty than any living
thing of the field which Yahweh God had made,-
so he said unto the woman, Can it really be, that
God hath said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of
the garden?

This verse contains the first spoken words of the devil to a human being and sets forth the foundation of his every scheme and attack throughout all the pages of history. The serpent shrewdly attempted to place a seed of doubt in Eve’s mind about the integrity and truth of God’s Word. “Can it really be, that God hath said?” “Let’s talk about what God said, because I can’t believe God would say or command such a thing.” He subtly placed a crafty question before Eve that implied that God surely does not have their best interests in mind. “A good and just God that really cared for you would allow you to eat from every tree in the garden. The nerve of God to try to limit or restrict you from enjoying all the fruits of the trees of the garden! God is simply trying to withhold something good from you. How can a good God do such a thing? How can His Word be so unfair? How can God be trusted? What is God hiding? I am very concerned that you are missing something that God does not want you to have. I can be trusted; I care about your well-being; I want the best for you, and God does not.”

The serpent attacked the character of God and His goodness by a rhetorical statement that makes God look harsh, impersonal, uncaring, and full of bondage. The serpent in his seduction was implying that you cannot trust the heart of God because He is leading you astray. He also questioned the authority of God’s Word and whether the Word of God could be trusted to bring about a good result in the best interests of Adam and Eve. “If this really is the Word of God, why would anyone want to obey such a ridiculous commandment? What good can come from obeying the Word of God? The words of God have no integrity. The words of God have no value. You need to listen to my words because they make a lot more sense”

The devil slyly left out a word from God’s commandment: “freely.” God gave Adam and Eve great liberty to freely eat of every single tree in the Garden of Eden but one. The commandment was full of liberty and freedom and only laid out one simple prohibition. The serpent twisted this truth into a complete exaggeration that God was the one who did not want to give his children freedom. Satan attempted to laud himself as the great crusader of liberty. He could enlighten Eve and set her free from the bondage of God’s commandment. Let me ask you something. If God is love and God is good, then do you think this commandment was loving and good? Of course it was. But the serpent began to sow in the mind of Eve the seeds of mistrust in the Word of God and in the goodness of God.

This is the two prong attack of the serpent in every age, as first he gets people to doubt the integrity and truth of God’s Word, and refuse to believe it. Secondly, he attacks the very nature and character of God by trying to get people to believe that God is not good, that God is not loving, that God is not personal, that God does not have time for them, that God does not have their best interest in mind, and that God cannot be trusted. He reasoned, “God does not want a loving relationship with you; He just wants to control you, suppress you, limit you, hinder you and impede your liberty. The serpent really knows what you need, and it is much more than God could ever hope to give you. Come with me, and I will show you.” The battle for the heart of Eve had begun.

Psalm 119:10,11 (NAS):

With all my heart I have sought you; Do not
let me wander from your commandments.
Your word I have treasured in my heart, that
I might not sin against you.

The word “sought” in the Hebrew means: to come and go or frequent a place so much that you tread a path to it; to seek with care; to resort to; to inquire, and to consult diligently with great frequency. God want us to seek Him so much that we wear a path to the door of His heart. He wants us to come to Him with great frequency concerning every problem or circumstance that confronts us. His loving arms are always wide open to embrace us, and He is ready to share His wisdom and heart with us. However, Eve chose not to seek the Lord in this subtle temptation. Her mind and heart began to wander away from the truth of God’s holy commandment. She began to consider what the serpent was telling her.

The word “wander” in the Hebrew means: to lead astray, to err, to wander, to swerve or stagger, to be unable to walk straight, and a seduction away from the truth. Eve had a choice to seek the Lord with all her heart, so she would not wander, swerve, err, or stray from His commandment. She could have consulted God about the false accusations and deceit of the serpent, but chose to handle it on her own. Eve got wrapped up in the fascination of this angel of light and was mesmerized by his suggestions and logic. She did not treasure the Word of God in her heart so she could walk in obedience with her Heavenly Father and resist the serpent. She began to stagger and swerve away from God’s good way and destiny that He had lovingly planned for her. She began to get intoxicated with the great lie of the serpent and wanted to explore his reasoning in greater detail.

Genesis 3:2,3 (Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible):

And the woman said unto the serpent, Of the
fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat.
But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst
of the garden God hath said, Ye shall not eat of
it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

Eve made four basic mistakes concerning the Word of God and the serpent’s lies
which led to her downfall. First of all, she began to reason and discuss the words of the
serpent with him. In Matthew 4, Jesus Christ dealt with the seductive words of the serpent by saying, “It is written” as he stood on the truth of God’s Word. Eve began to reason with the serpent not out of a position of the authority of God’s Word, but out of doubt and fascination of this brilliant angelic being. She began to engage the devil in dialogue on his own terms. The serpent got her to focus on what he was saying instead of what God had said.

The devil is too wise and deceitful to try to win an argument against, or convince him of God’s goodness and the justness of his commandments. The devil burns in hatred and rage against all that is good. He hates the true God and everything about Him. It is never a wise idea to try to debate him or convince him of the error of his ways. To stand up against him, you must have the Word of God treasured in your heart. You must know it, understand it and believe it. Eve began to get confused as to the truth, as what she said to the devil was not the commandment of God given to Adam in the garden. Her response also illustrates that she was beginning to fall into the serpent’s line of reasoning.

Eve second mistake was that she omitted words from God’s original commandment. She omitted the words “freely,” “every,” and “for in the day thou eatest thereof” from the Word of God. She even went a step further than the serpent and omitted multiple words from God’s commandment. God does not use words haphazardly. Every single word of God is important, and when you start omitting words, you no longer have the true word of God spoken from His heart. What you have is Eve’s own reasoning and interpretation of the commandment. The thrust of her reasoning was an attack on the abundant goodness and liberty that God had graciously given them. She was whittling down the truth of liberty and goodness and began focusing on the reasons why she should obey God’s commandment. She was also lessening the consequences of disobedience. A watered down, diluted version of the Word of God has no power against the devil.

Even did not stop there as she continued to corrupt and diminish the Word of God by committing her third mistake: she added words to the commandment of God. God does not need any help in formulating His commandments. God does not need anyone to add words to His Word to try to make it better. God is wise enough to say it right the first time, and to use all the proper words needed to convey His message. Eve added the words “neither shall ye touch it” to God’s holy commandment. God never said anything about “touching it” to Adam in Genesis 2, but Eve added this extra restriction and regulation to the Word of God.

What you have in Eve’s addition to the Word is a person’s first attempt at religion. Isn’t that just like human nature, for a person to make rules, regulations, and decrees in an attempt to obey or worship God? God’s heart gets lost in all the paperwork. God’s Word is just not enough, but we have to help God along by coming up with our own set of creeds and religious requirements to be acceptable in the eyes of God. God’s standard of goodness is not followed or believed, as people love to form their own standards of goodness that leave God out of the picture. They are always doomed to fail in the long run. Jesus Christ rebuked the scribes and Pharisees for this attitude of heart.

Matthew 15:6 (Amplified Bible):

So for the sake of your tradition (rules
handed down by your forefathers), you
have set aside the Word of God [depriving
it of force and authority and making it of
no effect].

Matthew 15:8 (Wuest Expanded Translation):

This people places a correct evaluation upon
me with their lips, and with lip service accords
me all due reverence and veneration, but their
heart holds back at a great distance from me.

Eve’s heart grew farther and farther away from her Creator as she set aside the Word of God for her own religious reasoning. She added an additional rule that sounded so religious and proper, but all she was doing was depriving the Word of God of its authority in her mind and making it of no effect against the serpent. Religion has no power against the serpent. Religion always attempts to hinder, restrict, or destroy the Word of God and substitute a man-made set of rules that only lead to bondage. Only the Word of God is living; only the Word of God is powerful; only the Word of God is faithful, and only the Word of God is truth. Eve had a religious interpretation of God’s commandment, but she had lost the heart of God’s truth and the great goodness and blessing behind it. Her love for God was beginning to waver. The Bible warns about adding words, rules, regulations, and religious requirements to the Word of God or subtracting words from it.

Deuteronomy 12:32 (New Living Translation):

So be careful to obey all the commands I
give you. You must not add anything to
them or subtract anything from them.

Proverbs 30:6 (Bible in Basic English):

Make no addition to his words, or he will
make clear your error, and you will be
seen to be false.

Eve’s fourth mistake was that she changed an absolute of God’s Word into a “maybe or perhaps” when she said, “lest ye die.” God (in no uncertain terms) said, “thou shalt surely die.” Eve reasoned, “If I eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil perhaps I will die or maybe I won’t.” Eve was beginning to think along the lines of the serpent-that there would not be cataclysmic consequences for disobeying God’s commandment. She thought something good could come from her disobedience. The words of the serpent were beginning to pierce her heart and make a false impression of the truth. She was beginning to doubt the certainty of the words of truth spoken by God.

Proverbs 22:17-19,21 (Amplified):

Listen (consent and submit) to the words
of the wise, and apply your mind to my

For it will be pleasant if you keep them in
your mind [believing them]; your lips will
be accustomed to confessing them.

So that your trust (belief, reliance, support
and confidence) may be in the Lord, I have
made know these things to you today, even
to you.

To make you know the certainty of the words
of truth, that you may give a true answer to
those who sent you.

Eve was no longer trusting in the Lord and keeping the Word of God in her mind and on her lips. She did not give a true answer to the serpent, for she no longer believed in the certainty of the words of truth. Eve began to doubt the certainty of God’s goodness, the certainty of God’s love, and the certainty of God’s wisdom. Eve no longer had the Word of God when she spoke to the serpent as she had subtracted, added, and changed the words of God’s good commandment. The serpent had Eve exactly where he wanted her, so he fabricated a lie for her in direct contradiction to God’s Word.

Genesis 3:4,5 (Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible):

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye
shall not die.

For God doth know that in the day ye eat
thereof then shall your eyes be opened,
and ye shall become like God, knowing
good and evil.

In the Hebrew, verse 4 is much more emphatic with the negative coming first. It is in the sense of “NO! You absolutely will not die.” The Moffatt Translation renders it this way “No, you shall not die!” The serpent’s true colors are now seen as he comes forth with great force in opposition to the one true God and His goodness. The devil said boldly with great emphasis that God is a liar and His Word is not true. The devil continued his deception by implying that God is not good; that His Word is unworthy of being trusted and therefore worthless; that God is not a vital necessity for your life, and you are better off without God; that God does not have a good purpose and design for your life; and that Eve needs to experience good and evil without God, thereby creating her own reality and happiness.

The serpent wanted Eve to toss God aside like some useless object and experience life without Him. The serpent reasoned that his words would bring life, not death, as disobedience to God would elevate Eve into an exalted state of consciousness and
knowledge. The devil promised a better, more exciting and productive life. The devil
was promoting rebellion, pride, disobedience, and unbelief under the exaltation of man and woman to a god-like throne of human superiority. The devil slyly implied, “Why do you need God when you can be God? Why do you need God’s goodness when you can experience goodness on your own without God? Don’t you also want to be a well-rounded person by experiencing some evil also? God doesn’t want you to experience evil, because you will be more like Him. God wants evil enjoyment all for Himself, as he is just as much evil as he is good. God is holding back your growth and enlightenment. You need to exalt yourself above God, His goodness, and His Word. I have exposed God as a liar, His Word as fictitious, and His goodness as a mirage.” Sounds like a modern day course on philosophy or a creed of worldly intellectualism. But no matter how good it sounds; no matter how enlightened it seems; no matter how spiritual it sounds, it is still a lie. It is a masterful lie and deception that is deeply rooted in every generation of human history: men and women rejecting their Creator and trying to be like God in their own knowledge, power, and might.

Isaiah 29:14-16 (American Standard Version):

Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous
work among this people., even a marvelous work
and a wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men
shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent
men shall be hid.

Woe unto them that hide deep their counsel from
Yahweh, and whose works are in the dark, and
that say, Who seeth us? And who knoweth us?

Ye turn things upside down! Shall the potter be
esteemed as clay? That the thing made should
say of him that made it, He made me not; or the
thing formed say of him that formed it, He hath
no understanding?

Isaiah 45:9,11,12,18 (New Living Translation):

What sorrow awaits those who argue with
their Creator. Does a clay pot argue with
its maker? Does the clay dispute with the
one who shapes it saying, “Stop, you’re
doing it wrong! Does the pot exclaim, “How
clumsy can you be?”

This is what the Lord says-the Holy One of
Israel and your Creator. “Do you question
what I do for my children? Do you give me
orders about the works of my hands?

I am the one who made the earth and created
people to live in it. With my hands I stretched
out the heavens. All the stars are at my command.

For the Lord is God, and he created the heavens
and earth and put everything in place. He made
the world to be lived in, not to be a place of empty
chaos. “I am the Lord,” he says, “and there is no

The word “God” in Genesis 3:5 five is Elohim in the Hebrew, which means “God, the Creator” and emphasizes his majesty, might, and power. What knowledge, what pleasure, and what possession can effectively replace our loving Creator in our lives? God formed, made, and created Adam and Eve; He is their Maker, their designer, their architect, and their builder. As clay in the hands of the potter, we cannot scold God and tell Him He did it all wrong or has no understanding in all the categories of life. Who knows the blessing of life and its intricacies more than God?

Eve was being tempted to exalt her wisdom and understanding above God and to become the creator, designer, and builder of her own life without God. Eve lost sight of the all of the marvelous works and wonders of her Creator. She focused on herself rather than turn her eyes to her loving God. God had blessed Adam and Eve with so much goodness that it is almost unfathomable to the human mind. Eve had the blessing of God in every part of her life. She had dominion and rulership over the earth with Adam, and the garden of Eden was a lavish paradise beyond anything we can imagine. She had intimate fellowship and communion with her tender, loving God and could crawl into his lap and enjoy His presence any moment of the day. She had her very Creator as a teacher, instructor, counselor, mentor, friend, parent, comforter, and companion. The blessing of God was abundant, overflowing, complete, and rich. But one of the major schemes and tactics of the devil is to get people to forget about the goodness of God and reject it. It did not take long for Eve to forget the goodness and blessing of God, as she was tricked into believing that the serpent offered her more.

The serpent will paint a picture of God that is the exact opposite of His goodness. The devil attempts to get people to believe that God is cruel, unloving, deceptive, indifferent, untrue, unmerciful, impersonal, distant, and evil. This is all part of the plan to get every man and woman on earth to reject God’s goodness and turn to Satan’s evil. Satan’s objective is that the mind and heart of a person never knows and understands the
goodness of God and His fathomless love. If you have tasted of the goodness of God or
rejoiced in it at one time, the objective is to get you to forget the goodness of God and turn your back on it, as you replace it with the counterfeit goodness of another object, person, or belief. The serpent promulgates unbelief in the Word of God, the goodness of God, and the love of God.

Eve questioned what God had really done for her as His child, and therefore questioned His goodness. One ounce of the goodness of God is better than an ocean full of the lies of the serpent. Life was designed to be lived with God as your intimate companion. Without God life has no meaning. It is amazing that Eve gave one thought or consideration to the lies of the devil. She had so much of the blessing and goodness of God, but she was soon going to turn her back on it and plunge the human race into chaos. She would turn the world upside down. She forgot that there is only one Creator, one Yahweh, and One Almighty God and there is no substitute. Nothing can compare to the goodness of God.

The word “knowing” in Genesis 3:5 in the Hebrew means: to know by experience and expresses knowledge gained by the senses; its to apprehend and experience reality; it is the exercise of knowledge and bringing it into actual experience. The Hebrew word has a broad meaning depending on its usage and includes the meaning of “possessing a developed sense of awareness and a heightened consciousness and having a perception and intuition based upon experience.” In summary, it is a developed expression of an intimate knowledge. It implies a relationship.

The serpent is saying to Eve that she needs to experience good and evil outside of the commandment of God. She must create her own reality and experience a heightened consciousness without God. The serpent proclaims, “You need to be your own Creator, your own God, and your own truth, and forsake God’s Word and His goodness. God does not want you to be enlightened, for He knows that you could then create and experience good and evil without Him. You do not need God’s goodness. So much more awaits you in this exalted sense of consciousness and intimate knowledge. Open your eyes to this ultimate experience of being your own God and declaring your own knowledge and reality. You need to start glorifying yourself instead of God. You don’t need Him. Disobedience to God is the path to the better you. You need to have a relationship with good and evil on your own terms. You need to grab the blessing of this tree that exists independent of God’s power, love, and Word. Blessing and goodness do not come from God; but from eating of this magical tree. You can then determine for yourself what is good and evil, because you are going to be as wise as God. Oppose God’s restriction on your life for He is only selfish. Walk into this brave new world where you are your own master, your own boss, and your own guide. You need to make the decision about what will advance your life and what will hinder it distinct from the Word of God, independent of the blessing and goodness of God, and without the guidance, help, and instruction of God. You don’t need God: you just need yourself.” What an illusion! What a deception! What a lie!

There is a greater truth concerning this tree of knowledge of good and evil in the usage of the figure of speech hendiadys. Hendiadys is the figure of speech when two words are used but only one thing is meant. E.W Bullinger, in Figures of Speech Used in the Bible, elaborates on this figure:

Two words employed but only one thing, or
idea, is intended. One of the two words expresses
the thing and the other…intensifies it by being
changed (if a noun) into an adjective of the
superlative degree, which is, by this means,
made especially emphatic…Another point to be
remembered is the two words must have a certain
relation to the other: one must indicate a property
of the other, or be associated in some way with it.
There cannot be a hendiadys if the words are
opposed in any way in their signification: nor
even when there is no real connection between them.

Bullinger states that hendiadys is used in Genesis 2:9 and 17 in the phrase “the tree of knowledge of good and evil,” and based on this figure, it should be translated “the tree of evil enjoyment.” The serpent wants Eve to experience the enjoyment of evil. He wants Eve to have an intimate experience with evil. He tells her that the pleasure and enjoyment of evil is better than the goodness of God. Evil is a counterfeit of God’s goodness. It is the complete absence of God’s goodness. Evil means the breaking up of all that is good or desirable and has the idea of destroying or injuring by scattering or breaking into pieces. Evil actively attempts to destroy, circumvent, or hinder the good purpose or design God has intended for someone or something. Evil is the active opposition of God’s good purpose or design for a person with the intent of destroying, limiting, suffocating, and hindering it in any way possible. Evil does just the opposite of what the devil was promising, as it suffocates, enslaves, hinders, limits, and pushes you away from the heart of God. This is the true nature of evil.

True and complete goodness and its blessings originate only in God. The serpent’s deception is to try to make evil look good and God’s goodness look bad. The enjoyment of evil will ultimately disappoint and impede you from accomplishing the good purpose that God has designed for your life. Evil will try to break into pieces every God-inspired dream, goal, vision, plan, hope, and aspiration you have for your life. God wants us to have the enjoyment of His goodness in our lives, and God’s goodness is the only firm foundation on which to build our God-given destiny.

Eve was now confronted with the most important decision of her life. She had complete freedom of choice. Whom is she going to believe? Whose words will she follow? This is the same decision that everyone will face throughout their life. Are you going to believe the Word of God or the words of the serpent? Are you going to choose life or death? Are you going to choose good or evil? Are you going to obey or disobey God? Are you going to follow the truth or a lie? On whom or what are you going to
build your life? Eve could choose the Word of God and His goodness or choose to exalt herself above God, create her own goodness, and become intimate with evil.

Genesis 3:6,7 (NIV):

When the woman saw that the fruit of
the tree was good for food and pleasing
to the eye, and also desirable for gaining
wisdom, she took some and ate it. She
also gave some to her husband, who was
with her, and he ate it.

Then the eyes of both of them were opened,
and they realized they were naked; so they
sewed fig leaves together and made coverings
for themselves.

The word “saw” is the same Hebrew word ra’ah that we studied earlier concerning God and His creation when, “ He saw that it was good.” This word means “to perceive, to consider, to look at and inspect, and to behold with intention and purpose” It is to see with delight and to look upon with pleasure. Eve was intently focused on the fruit of the tree and its promised goodness. She was looking at the tree with great delight, as she believed the words of the serpent that its goodness far exceeded the goodness of God. She believed her whole purpose and destiny in life was wrapped up in the goodness of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. This was a goodness outside of the Word of God and brought about by direct disobedience to God’s commandment. This goodness has nothing to with God, His love, His faithfulness, and His great majesty.

The Word of God is clearly setting forth the two types of goodness that a person must choose between during their lifetime. One type is a goodness rooted in the mind and reasoning of a person and based upon what he or she can see, taste, touch, smell, or hear. This sense-knowledge goodness is not built upon God or His Word, but founded upon the desires and pleasures of the flesh, leaving God totally out of the picture. It is a feel-good goodness that is temporary, shallow, empty, and disappointing. It is a foolish attempt to replace the glorious goodness of God with a man-made substitute. It is the goodness offered by the serpent, but it always has a hook to it that leaves a person in a worse state then they were before. The other type of goodness is this wonderful, true, glorious, full, multi-faceted goodness of God that we have studied in great depth in this book. This goodness only originates in God, and it is so big, so wonderful, so loving, so healing, and so magnificent that nothing conceived in the mind of man can compare to it.

God uses the Hebrew word ra’ah to draw our attention to these two kinds of goodness and the consequences of following one or other. What type of goodness are you considering with great delight and pleasure? What type of goodness are you following in your life? What kind of goodness are you intently focused on as the purpose and motivation for your actions? Are you delighting in the goodness of God or the goodness of Eve? Can there be a true genuine goodness to the heart and soul of a person without God? Absolutely not!

God showed by example that His spoken Word produced very good things to inspire, bless, motivate, and encourage. The beauty and magnificence of the entire creation was a living demonstration and witness to the goodness of God’s spoken Word. But Eve chose to ignore the testimony of the spoken Word of God and decided to believe the lies of God’s arch-enemy the devil. Eve wanted to be like God and be the Creator of her own goodness. She wanted her goodness to produce wisdom and success. Eve clung to the fascinating and enchanting words of the serpent who promised her so much. However, the words of the serpent had not been proven. The words of the serpent did not produce the magnificent works of creation. The words of the serpent were empty promises designed to deceive and detour Eve’s heart away from God and His goodness. God saw goodness in His perfect way, and Eve saw goodness in her own way. It is really a misnomer to say that what Eve saw was really “goodness,” as she only thought it was good. Eve was deceived by an illusion of goodness. It was really evil disguised as good. There is nothing truly good about walking away from God and His goodness.

The usage of the other Hebrew words in verse 6 gives us further insight into Eve’s thought processes that led to her rejection of God and His Word. The word “pleasing” in the Hebrew means: earnest desire, strong affection, and the longings of one’s heart. Eve looked upon the tree with strong affection and earnest desire, thinking that if she ate of the fruit, she would receive all the desires and longings of her heart. The word “desirable” in the Hebrew means: to desire strongly, to take delight in, to covet, to long for, to be the object of desire and delight, and to be precious. The word “wisdom” in the Hebrew means: to have success by wise decision making; the process of thinking through a complex arrangement of thoughts resulting in wise dealing; the use of good practical common sense, and to wisely understand and have insight resulting in success. Eve strongly desired and coveted the success and wise understanding that she thought the fruit of the tree would give her. The tree and the promise of Lucifer were precious in her sight and became her priority. She wanted to have man-made success by being her own god and living her life her own way. Her heart was entrenched in unbelief, as she had lost her respect for the Word of God and did not think it was truthful. She did not believe that God really loved her and wanted the best for her.

Eve was tricked into believing that the words of God were deficient and lacking in power and wisdom. The Psalmist declares that the words of God are infinitely better and rewarding to a person than an entire dictionary of the words of man or the words of the serpent. The Word of God is more trustworthy, pure, delightful, wise, sure, good and perfect than any subtle lie of Satan. The battle line in this great war between good and evil is always drawn at the feet of the Word of God. Do you believe God’s Word or not? Have we substituted philosophies, vain reasoning, and misguided perceptions for the truth of God’s Word? Have we allowed the Word of God to frame our thoughts and actions, or are we just motivated by the exaltation of selfishness and pride in the place of God?

Psalm 19:7-11 (NIV):

The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul. The statutes of
the Lord are trustworthy, making
wise the simple.

The precepts of the Lord are right,
giving joy to the heart. The commands
of the Lord are radiant, giving light
to the eyes.

The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring
forever. The ordinances of the Lord are
sure and altogether righteous.

They are more precious than gold, than
much pure gold; they are sweeter than
honey, than honey from the comb.

By them is your servant warned; in
keeping them there is great reward.

Eve did not hesitate at all to eat of this forbidden tree, as the word “took “ in the Hebrew means: to lay a hold of, to seize, to snatch, and to take possession of. She snatched the fruit of the tree, ate it, and gave it to Adam who was with her, and he also ate the fruit. When I first saw this truth in the Word of God, I was flabbergasted. During the entire deception of Eve by the serpent, Adam was standing right beside here and never said a word. The silence of Adam is astounding, as he never uttered a word, never defended God or His Word, and never refuted what the serpent said, even though he knew it was a lie. He saw Eve beginning to get drawn into the false reasoning and empty promises of the devil, yet he never spoke up. He decided to remain silent and disobey God, rather than stand up for God and His goodness. He put his love for Eve ahead of His love for God, and God’s entire creation paid the consequences.

I Timothy 2:14 (New Living Translation):

And it was not Adam who was deceived
by Satan. The woman was deceived, and
sin was the result.

Eve was deceived by the serpent, but Adam absolutely knew what was going on. God had given him the commandment very plainly, and he knew the result of disobedience to God’s Word. He chose to be passive and not put the serpent in his place with the Word of God. He knew God was good and that this was an attack on the character of God’s goodness and the truth of His Word. Adam could have told Eve not to talk with the serpent, as he is full of lies and this is what God instructed them. Yet he
stepped back and stood silent.

The disobedience of Adam is mind boggling because he had all this wonderful knowledge and wisdom and knew better than to directly disobey the commandment of God. The magnitude of his offense is staggering, especially when you consider that he walked eyes wide open into catastrophe. God’s delegated king with all the authority and dominion on the earth committed the sin of high treason against his Creator. Adam, by his own free will, gave all this authority and dominion he originally possessed to God’s arch-enemy, the devil. The fall of man in the Garden of Eden was not just an act of disobedience, but of treason. Adam and Eve surrendered their ruling authority over the earth to Satan. It was the ultimate betrayal of God and His goodness.

Myles Munroe, in Rediscovering the Kingdom, writes:

Perhaps the greatest crime committed in any kingdom or
nation, ancient or modern, is the crime of treason. As a
matter of fact, it is the only crime to which there is no
question of receiving the death penalty…When a government
confers on any citizen the authority and right to represent
its interests, it has given the greatest form of trust possible
and should be esteemed the highest of honors. The higher
the representation, the greater the responsibility and trust…
Adam, in essence, embodied heaven’s government on earth…
Adam committed the ultimate act of betrayal, deserving the
penalty of death…When Adam fell through his act of treason,
he not only lost his personal relationship with his heavenly
Father, he lost a kingdom…While Adam committed high
treason, the instigator and adversary, executed an earthly
coup…Adam…lost earth and dominion over the earth…At
creation, God gave man dominion over the entire physical
realm, making him the de facto king of the earth…but the
fall of man sabotaged and disrupted that program.

God gave Adam and Eve the greatest form of trust possible by giving them the dominion and authority to rule as kings and queens upon the earth. It was one of the highest honors that God gave them. However, they lost this kingdom after Adam’s betrayal of God, and Adam gave the keys to this kingdom to the devil. The earth was now condemned to be ruled by the cruelty, viciousness, corruptness, and tyranny of Satan. It was the greatest mutiny ever recorded in the history of the world: man and woman rebelling against their Creator, their Maker, their Father, and their Provider. Adam became the Benedict Arnold of all creation.

E.W. Kenyon, in The Father and His Family, says:

Did Adam have the legal right to barter his dominion?
Yes, though we question whether he had the moral
right. This answers these age-old questions: Why
has God not disposed of the devil if He has the
power to do it; why has He permitted Satan to rule
the earth and cause so much misery, if He is God
Almighty. Adam evidently had a legal right to transfer
this dominion and authority into the hands of the
enemy. God has been obliged through the long period
of human history to recognize Satan’s legal standing,
and legal right and authority, and on this ground, and
this only, can we understand the legal side of the Plan
of Redemption…The careful student of the scriptures
will notice the perfect justice of God. He is Almighty
but He has never taken advantage over Satan. Adam
had legally transferred to him the Authority with which
God had invested him. Had God not been absolutely
just, He would have dispossessed Satan and punished
Man then, but instead of that His Grace makes
provision for Humanity’s Redemption, showing His
Love to Man, based upon perfect Justice…This is a
hideous fact to contemplate: that the human race has
been under the Dominion of the devil and his
Dominion is a legal Dominion…Satan here is
recognized as the political head of the human race and
of the kingdoms of the world.

God is righteous and perfectly just and will not overstep the legal bounds of freedom of will and dominion that He originally established with Adam and Eve. God gave Adam the legal right to rule the earth and the freedom to transfer this right to whomever he chose. When Adam chose to transfer this legal right to the devil, if God came down and immediately destroyed the devil in Eden and repossessed this legal right, it would have been an act of lawlessness. It would have been an act of a tyrant who had no respect for His laws and word that he established in the first place. God will bring to an end the dominion of Satan and utterly destroy him in the future, according to His perfect justice and righteous nature. However, He had no choice but to recognize the legal authority that the devil had been given by Adam. God is bound by His nature and His Word, even to respect His arch-enemy’s legal rights. The devil had legally obtained the authority and dominion to rule the earth. It could not be legally revoked or declared null and void. It could not be canceled or overruled. It was a disastrous act of high treason and rebellion by Adam and Eve, and it gave the devil the legal authority and right to ruin God’s creation. The earth has a new ruler, and he is a wicked, cruel tyrant filled with hatred and bitterness. He is the enemy of God.

Jesus Christ realized and understood the dominion and authority that Adam had given to the devil. Three times in the Gospel of John, Jesus Christ refers to the devil as “the prince of this world.” “Prince” in the Greek means: one first in power, authority or dominion; hence a ruler, a chief, a commander, and a king. Jesus recognized that the devil was the chief ruler and commander of the world and was first in power, authority, and dominion over its kingdoms. The devil stated this truth in the temptations of Jesus in the wilderness and declared that he had been given this authority by Adam.

Luke 4:5-7 (King James Version):

And the devil, taking him up into an high
mountain, shewed him all the kingdoms
of the world in a moment of time.

And the devil said unto him, All this power
will I give thee, and the glory of them; for
that is delivered unto me, and to whomsoever
I will I give it.

If thou shalt worship me, all shalt be thine.

The word “delivered” in the Greek means: to give into the hands of another; to surrender, to deliver over; to give over one’s power, and to give or convey a right or an authority.” It is in the perfect tense, which indicates it is a present possession of the devil from a completed action in the past. The word “power” in the Greek means: the right to exercise power, and the authority and liberty to use power in any way that pleases. It is authority that a person has that has been delegated to him from someone else.” Adam and surrendered the power and authority of the world to the devil, and now the devil offered to give Jesus Christ this same legal authority if he would worship him. The devil boasted that he was in control of the power and glory of the kingdoms of this world, and that he could give this authority to any one he desires. This power was delegated to the devil from Adam, and the devil has the freedom and the right to exercise it.

Now we understand why the devil is referred to in II Corinthians as “the god of this world.” I John 5:19 comes alive when we understand these truths revealed in the book of Genesis.

I John 5:19 (NIV):

We know that we are the children of God, and
that the whole world is under the control of
the evil one.

The evil one, the devil, received the legal authority to control the whole world from Adam. When the devil gained control of the world, he began to corrupt it with death, sin, misery, disease, violence, heartache, pain, and deceit. God had absolutely nothing to do with it, as the devil was simply exercising his authority to rule the earth.God continues to get blamed for this evil, and His image of goodness is rejected because people do not understand these fundamental truths. God is good, holy, perfect, and just. God is the embodiment of love, and He has nothing to do with the horrible and unspeakable evils that have existed in this world since the Fall of Adam in Genesis 3.

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