Summary: The very first sin teaches us of the danger of letting the end justify the means. It is by this philosophy that Satan can trick us into treats
On Halloween night the streets are filled with masked children out to get
treats and to play a few tricks. Their masks may hide their identity from us,
but we are only moderately fooled because we know that underneath there are
children and not assorted demons, or at least not supernatural demons. This
was not so on one of the first days of history. It was not a Halloween, but it
was a day of tricks and treats. Satan was out to trick Eve into a treat that
would bring about the fall of man. Eve was not even aware that Satan was
using the serpent as a mask.
Satan's first role on the stage of history was that of a hypocrite. A
hypocrite is one who wears a mask and who plays a role externally which does
not correspond to his internal character. By the mask of hypocrisy Eve was
tricked into the first sin. It seems as if the odds were so great against her that
she didn't stand a chance. Milton says in Paradise Lost, "For neither man nor
angel can discern hypocrisy, the only evil that walks invisible, except to God
alone." Satan appears to have all the advantage, and Eve stands helpless
before his cunning temptation. Except for one thing this was true. Satan then
and now has the advantage over man, and man in his own wisdom will never
outwit the subtle serpent. One of the very first lessons we learn from the
account of the fall is that there is only one way to victory over evil and that is
by obedience to the Word of God. Eve in her ignorance still had no excuse for
her sin because she knew God's command and was free to obey it. Milton
again has God speak concerning man:
"I made him just and right,
Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.
Such I created all the ethereal Powers
And Spirits, both them who stood, and them who failed.
Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell.
Verses 2 and 3 tell us that Eve had all she needed to gain the victory had
she chosen to live according to her knowledge. She did not know the reason
for God's command, however, and it was at this point of ignorance that Satan
worked and sought to get her to doubt.
A children's story about an ancient king who wanted to find a faithful
servant illustrates the need for obedience in spite of reasons. The king wanted
to make sure he had a servant who would obey him, and so he ordered two
men who applied for the position to draw water out of a well and poor it into a
basket. It was not long before one of the men threw his pain away in a rage.
He shouted, "This is foolish work. I will do no more of it." The other said,
"This is the work the king commanded us to do, and for which he is paying
us." He went on dipping his pail into the basket. When the water was nearly
gone he saw a glittering of something in the mud at the bottom. He brought it
up and found it to be a diamond ring. Then he understood why the king had
given them that apparently foolish work. If the ring would have been brought
up it could have been found in the basket. He took the ring to the king, and
the king gave it back to him as a gift saying, "You are a man I can trust,
because you obeyed and trusted me when you did not understand my reasons.
I see I can trust you in greater things."
This simple story carries the same profound truth as the story of the
Garden of Eden. If man has the knowledge of God's will that is all he needs,
for he can obey what he knows regardless of the lack of reasons and the
pressure to not obey. The test of the king was the same test that God gave to
Adam and Eve. The test was to determine if they could obey without reasons,
and even when the subtle one made it seem unreasonable. In verse 4 Satan
comes right out and denies that God has spoken the truth. You will not die as
God has said were his words. This left Eve standing where all of us stand, for
she was between two conflicting voices. Every command of God is challenged
by the voice of doubt. The first sin of man is usually thought to be
disobedience, but it is likely that doubt likely deserves the dubious honor of
being the first sin. Disobedience was the first sinful act, but before the act Eve
was deceased into doubting God's Word. Once Satan gets a person to doubt