The Devil #4
The Devil Works To Deceive
Deception is the operative word here, then the concept behind the word, then the malignant spirit behind that.
Speaking of the Devil, as we are, today’s theme centers on his infernal successes by deception of humans. Being a liar from the beginning and the procreator of deceptivity (Jn. 8:44), Satan succeeds in his machinations simply by making sin seem attractive. In Eden, for example, Satan schmoozed his way into Eve’s heart so deceitfully that she was turned into a different person–from being God’s loving child into being Satan’s cold-hearted puppet.
To us an analogy, Satan got into her spiritual programming and reprogrammed her emoting, her imagining, and her reasoning. Once the virus of sinfulness got into her hard drive, her heart became compatible with any and all software of sinning: pride, selfishness, ego etc.
A Study In Craftiness
The record of Eve’s fall–and Adam’s too– presents us with a casebook study in Satan’s craftiness (Genesis 3:1-5). Observe: first he approached her with what appeared to be a harmless request for information. “Pardon me, but did I hear correctly that God has put a restriction on you, to forbid you to eat from every tree of the garden?” The implication, of course, was that God was less generous than one would like to think He was, limiting their “freedom of choice.”
Her response seems to reflect a suspicion that God was, indeed, unnecessarily narrow in not allowing her so much as a caressing touch of the fruit on the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Eve just didn’t catch on that Satan was already reprogramming her attitude toward God. He implanted the suspicion that God is not as generous and sharing as befits a deity who should respond warmly to her human appetites.
So when Satan flatly contradicted God’s “you shall surely die,” she presented no defense of God’s will or words. By then Satan knew he could progress to the next step. Satan’s rationale for God’s negative attitude is that God is selfish: God does not want his eminence undercut by sharing any of His wisdom with humankind. So Eve was deceived about God and about herself in God’s heart and world.
Herein lies the warning: when God speaks, also when withholding from us what our human appetite desires, we need to beware of any rational and emotional pressures that would lead us to dishonor God in our hearts and disobey His will in our lives.
When Eve sidled over to the forbidden tree for another closer look, she discovered that her eyes were not hurt by admiring, nor were her fingers burned by the touching, and it even tasted wonderful! Besides, her heart craved its delicious promise — “a tree desirable to make one wise…”. Satan had so appealed to her stomach (physical pleasure!) to her feeling for esthetics (emotional pleasure!) and to her mind (intellectual pleasure!), that the deceitfulness of her cravings stifled God’s Word in her heart.
Reclaimed By God
What does the child of God learn from this? Quite simply, Satan makes sin seem attractive by using our selfish appetites for pleasure to work against our soul’s welfare. When we find attractions in our lives that appeal to our senses, our emotions, or our ego, the alarm bell should be clanging: “This looks like a deceitful ploy from the old, experienced, wily, evil foe.”
Let’s face it. If superman (Adam) and superwoman (Eve) were outwitted by Satan, what chance do we, their weakened descendants, have of outmaneuvering him on our own? The truth about humans is that we are no match for his infernal Lowness. Thus, God found it necessary to reclaim sinners by the second, superior Adam, Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:45). When He finished that job, successfully and decisively, God reclaimed us from the power of Satan, reprogramming us to conform to the image of His Son (Rom. 9:29), whereby we function in love to Him and our fellow humans.
Thanks be to God for His superior wisdom, love, power, and mercies — and all for sinners like me!!
— Paul Koch, Prof. em.