Ever get the impression that Satan was being more honest with Adam and Eve than God concerning the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is first mentioned in Genesis 2:9.
“Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:9, NASB)
Adam and Eve were given one commandment: don’t eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
“The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”” (Gen 2:16)
The devil showed up in the Garden of Eden in the form of a serpent and tempted Eve to eat from the tree by saying…
““You surely will not die! “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”” (Genesis 3:4-5)
I got saved in 1991, and then spent the next 15 years thinking that Satan was more honest than God. Though I went to church three times a week, and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Biblical Studies, I lived under this deception — until God finally led me to the teaching ministry of Aaron Budjen.
Here is the way that I imagined the scenario in Genesis 3: God had this secret – this secret knowledge – that only He and all of His angels knew about; God wanted to keep it from mankind. Satan the bad boy couldn’t keep a secret, and he told on God, exposing this hidden truth that God had wanted to keep hushed up.
It’s quite the reverse.
Genesis 3 is actually the account of how Satan killed, stole and destroyed mankind from God by presenting three distinct lies to Adam and Eve:
1) You will not die
2) Your eyes will be opened
3) You will be like God by knowing good and evil
Lie #1: “You surely will not die!” The exact opposite happened: their spirits died the instant they ate from the tree.
My pastor, Aaron Budjen, is a renowned Hebrew scholar; he explains that the original language makes it explicitly clear that they not only died in the very day they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but that in fact they died at the exact moment that they ate. (This 27-minute audio program gives a detailed explanation.)
Their physical bodies lived on, but their true self – their inner spirit – died. The life of God, the actual Holy Spirit, had been breathed within their bodies, but when they sinned against God’s commandment, when they rejected God and believed the devil, they suffered the consequences of their sin, and they lost the life of God. Without life, you have death.
Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden because of the Tree of Life. Eating from that tree would have kept them alive forever in a state of spiritual death, and really, who wants to spend eternity as a zombie?
Lie #2: “Your eyes will be opened.” Again, the exact opposite thing happens after they eat from the tree. They were made blind.
For the first time in their lives they see darkness. They see emptiness. They see nothingness. They are now unseeing, lost and hopeless.
Satan had deceived Eve into thinking that she was ‘blind’, and that by eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil she would gain ‘sight’. He hinted that God was keeping some sort of special knowledge from her. He persuades Eve into desiring this secret wisdom, this inner ‘vision.’
“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” (Gen 3:6)
Lie #3: “You will be like God by knowing good and evil.” Yet again, the exact opposite thing happens. Adam and Eve now reflect the image of NOT being like God.
Before they ate from the tree, they could reflect His image. His Spirit dwelled within them so that they could reflect His image to others.
After eating from the tree, they begin to reflect the image of emptiness. Their children are born in the image of Adam (Genesis 5:3): spiritually dead.
By Genesis chapter six we read, “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
Do not desire what Satan desires. Satan is the one who wants to be like God. It is recorded in Isaiah 14:14 that the devil said, “I will be like the Most High.”
If you have ever thought, “Oh, I just want to be more like Jesus; I just want to be like you, Lord!” cast that fiery dart out of your head in an instant. Do not live your Christian life according to this falsehood.
Aaron Budjen has said that before Adam and Eve ate from the tree, they already knew good and evil; they already knew the difference between right and wrong. I think that is correct.
I mean, if they got annoyed at their pet Zebra for stepping on their toe for the 10th time, they certainly would know it was wrong to murder the poor thing! And if they borrowed their great-grandson’s canoe to go have some fun in the Euphrates River, and if the canoe crashed and got destroyed, I’m sure they would have known it was right to build him a new one.
And if they ever had a question or a doubt about what to do, they could have simply asked God. Before they ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they walked with Him and they talked with Him.
They had no need for what Satan offered to them.
Every single thing that Satan said to Adam and Eve was a lie. They did die. Their eyes were not opened. They can not be like God simply by knowing what is good and what is evil.
Jesus Christ said this about Satan, “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)
Brothers and sisters, don’t be deceived into believing that Satan was telling the truth. Don’t be persuaded by the fraud that claims that God was not being honest and forthright with Adam and Eve.
Let’s stop living our lives according to this deception.
Let’s walk in the truth.