We often hear, read and make our own conclusion that Eve was deceived. By the serpent. Even Paul declares such to young Timothy “And it was not Adam who was deceived by satan. The woman was deceived, and sin was the result.” (1 Timothy 2:14 NLT) However, today when we think, deceived we think of blatant ‘get in your face’ and tell you outright lies in order to get you to think or do differently. Yet this is not what I see in the Genesis story – although often we were taught this in flannelgraph story time. The teacher places the serpent right up to Eve’s ear while making hissing sounds, as the melodrama of lies unfolds. Lies.
First, Eve wasn’t even there when God gave Adam the rules of the Garden, Genesis 2: God put the man in the Garden, and told he was to work it and take care of it (tend it) and then told, you are free to eat from any tree in the Garden – EXCEPT- the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil, you shall NOT eat.
THEN (v18) God formed Eve.
Jumping to chapter 3 – the crafty serpent asked Eve “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Not necessarily deceptive, asking a question. Her response: “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat from the tree in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it or you will die.’” (bold emphasis mine) Hm… there were ‘2’ trees specifically mentioned in the middle of the Garden (see 2:9) and God never said Adam could not touch it! He HAD to touch it to tend to it, maintain it, as was his job. Did Adam give these instructions to Eve? “Ok, here’s the deal, see those two trees over there – over there in the middle – we are NOT to eat from those (let’s keep this simple) and don’t even TOUCH them!” Obedience, having a clear understanding of the instructions and abiding accordingly. Did Eve have clear instructions, or was her response to the serpent her interpretation of God’s word? (Not an excuse, just observation)
The narrative continues … the serpents reply to Eve, “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good & evil.” (3:5) then, “When the woman saw that the fruit was good for food and pleasing to the eye…” She ate. She shared. Interesting, Eve saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food & pleasing to the eye – just as it was designed! See 2:9 “the trees were pleasing to the eye and good for food” – There is a principle for us: We too [humanity] see things ‘good and pleasing’ even by God’s design – BUT… God-may-say-“NO!” Also, when Eve reached out and touched the fruit, did she take pause? Was there a ‘Hm… I touched and didn’t die.” Thus rationalizing, nothing happened (yet) causing her to go forward since there wasn’t instant consequences. There is always a progression.
We see at the end of chapter 3, as God prepares to send Adam and Eve out of the garden, “and God said, ‘the man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil..’” (v22) Is this what the serpent said? Yes. Did he lie? No.
So all this to say, (looking at what Paul wrote to Timothy) – deceived – means Eve was ‘beguiled’ – to seduce by use of misleading methods. What was the serpents method? He asked Eve a question, causing her to rethink what she was told and to doubt God’s word, “Did God say?” Deceived as in ‘get in your face and blatantly lie? No – he got her to doubt God.
We need to KNOW the misleading methods of the stealer, killer, and destroyer! (Probably not good grammar) Deception may not be a blatant lie presented to us, but a subtle question causing to rethink and doubt. If we rethink, in our human mind, creatively rationalizing (let’s be honest) without correct reference to God’s word (and heed) – we WILL get it wrong every time. Folks, if we have a question, let’s go to the source, God Himself in His word!
Peter tells us to ‘be watchful, sober-minded.’ Paul also, ‘be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.’ In doing so we ‘put on’ God’s stuff so we can stand (not hide in the shadows) but STAND against the schemes of the devil, in order that satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes. (1 Peter 5:8, Ephesians 6:10-11, 2 Corinthians 2:11) Go God!
May we not assume we are ‘deception-free’ because we are too sharp to not spot a lie, but get us rationalizing, doubting?
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” –Hebrews 10:24)
* Some point out the narrative (Genesis 2:17; 3:4) stresses ‘surely die’ (die, die – in the Hebrew, ‘mooth – mooth’) that it can convey: 1) Spiritual death and 2) Physical death. Perhaps, it could mean both here. Since God said ‘when you eat of it, you will surely die.’ God knew Adam would eat the forbidden fruit. Sadly, Adam didn’t pick up on the ‘when’ and was not on his guard. (Lesson to us, how often we read ‘when’ in God’s warnings). Generally, in Hebrew literary style as a whole, repetitive words are for emphasis. In today’s culture, we capitalize, highlight, underline or print in BOLD to make a point, the ancients repeated the word. “I love, love chocolate!” (well, maybe not THAT)
But we cannot stop here, God in His most gracious love, sent man and woman out of the Garden because of His mercy. “He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the Tree of Life and eat, and live forever.” (3:22b) FOREVER in that broken, fallen relationship, dead in spirit, “So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden.” The rest of God’s story? It’s alright, I have a plan, a plan to restore. Jesus.
Note: I choose to not capitalize serpent or satan, or devil, he (lil ‘h’) is not worthy of the grammatical rule of a proper noun.