Sermons

Summary: Tactics of legal reasoning used by the devil

Here are some of the tactics of legal reasoning used by the devil on Eve--

The first question recorded in the Bible was asked by the serpent in the Garden of Eden.

The snake misquotes the divine prohibition by applying it to all the fruit trees, over-stating God’s norm to enlarge its scope: “Did God really tell you not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?” (Genesis 3:1).

Eve should have said, “you are making an ideological overstatement by your premise.”

Instead, Eve clarifies: “it is only about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden” that they can’t even touch, or they will die.

Don’t dialogue with the Devil because he will always win, Pope Francis says. Only the power of God’s word can overcome him.

Scripture explains that jealousy was the motive of the snake.

Unlike angels, a man and a woman have bodies, and in their coming together, can create something immortal with God, a child.

But the snake was the most cunning of all the animals. He approaches Eve and supplies emotion to tempt her, “You certainly will not die!” [with an exclamation point in the Biblical text].

The snake makes an emotional appeal, and requests the action for her to eat the forbidden fruit but nowhere is there any evidence presented to back up his claim that they won’t die if they eat of it.

We are emotional creatures; therefore, we often make decisions and form beliefs erroneously based on emotions, when reason and faith tell us otherwise.

The snake then insinuates that the divine prohibition has a different motive--it’s not to protect you from dying, but rather if you eat it, you will become gods who know what is good and evil.

What Eve should have seen was that the devil was imputing wrong motives to God which is tantamount to judging God.

When Adam and Eve fall, they discover that they do indeed know about good and evil, but not like the perfect state they had before: now they know good and evil though their personal experience. They will experience death; wear clothes for survival and modesty; and have to work hard for a living.

God punished the couple, but He does not abandon them by providing concrete tangible help with clothing. The symbolic meaning is that in covering their nakedness, God removes their shame.

2.Now let’s look at the escalating assertion of Jesus, which is defined by the researchers Rimm and Masters (1974), as starting with a “minimal” assertive response that can usually accomplish the speaker’s goal with a minimum of effort and a minimum of negative emotion.

If the other person fails to respond to the minimal assertion and continues to violate one’s rights, the speaker gradually escalates the assertion and becomes increasingly firm.

E.g. Jesus’ first response to the temptation is “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”

Obedience to his Word is something more basic than physical bread. How am I helping to address the physical and spiritual hunger of others? Evangelism is just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.

Appealing to Jesus' hunger, the devil attempts to persuade Him to doubt that His Father really counts Him as His son and will provide for His bodily needs (as Israel doubted God's providence in the wilderness).

Thus, Satan urges Jesus to use His own divine resources to satisfy His hunger. But Son of God has absolute confidence in His Father and relies on God's power to meet His needs in whatever way His Father chooses. Thus, Jesus chooses to be God's Son!

After Satan’s second temptation, Jesus’ assertion became more personal: “You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.” (Matthew 4:7).

The devil’s attack on personal need, and the appeal to one’s ego are all tactics that are common to Satan.

Finally, after Satan’s last temptation, Jesus made an emphatic assertion, “Get away, Satan!” (Matthew 4:10) and Satan left.

Satan is “…cunning, baffling, powerful. Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power—that One is God. May you find Him now!” (Pg. 59 from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.). Satan will do anything to destroy us and make us unhappy. He makes us think we will be happier if we just satisfy the urge this one time.

We will feel the gravitational pull of temptations even when we don’t give in.

Temptations toward cheating, overindulgence, pride, corrupt sexuality.

There are three major sources of evil: the world, the flesh, and the devil. One moral theology professor always added emphatically: “In that order!” One way the world tempts us is to keep all of one’s money for one’s own needs, forgetting others, especially the needy and the poor.

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