“As frightening as the devil is, he’s God’s devil and he’s on God’s leash.” ~ R.C. Sproul, Jr. (Ligonier Minstries’ 2011 National Conference)
Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
Notes from Steven Lawson’s message “War on the Word”, featured at the Ligonier Minstries’ 2011 National Conference:
Our holy God has an unholy opponent: Satan. And the supreme way Satan attacks God’s holiness is by attacking the inerrancy and truthfulness of God’s Word.
The first weapon Satan uses in his war on the Word is DOUBT. “Has God indeed said?” Where God has placed a period, Satan places a question mark. Confidence is condemned as arrogance, while doubt is praised as a virtue. Darkness is preferred to light, mystery is preferred to clarity, questions are preferred to convictions. This is a slippery slope, indeed. As Martin Luther once stated, “Take away assertions and you take away Christianity.” Make no mistake: the hottest part of hell is reserved for those who call God’s Word into question.
Satan’s second weapon is DISTORTION. “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” We are merely the messengers of God’s Word; we are not the editors of it. Sadly though, in this day and age, the culture tells the Church what the Word of God is allowed to say. Simply declaring, “Thus says the Lord” is no longer very popular; we are told we must adapt, be “relevant”, communicate in a manner that appeals to “modern sensibilities”. And this is wrong.
Next in Satan’s arsenal is DENIAL. “You will not surely die…” Having questioned and distorted God’s Word, blatant denial of it is the next step. Notice that the first truth that Satan questions is that of divine judgment: he’s already air conditioning hell. But know this: in the Christian religion, there is no good news without bad news. In fact, the bad news is what makes the good news so overwhelmingly amazing; it is the black cloth against which the diamond shines out all the brighter. Throw out divine judgment, and Christ’s atonement is absolutely worthless.
Then comes DEFAMATION. “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened..” God is falsely portrayed as a deceitful, manipulative, and selfish being who doesn’t really want the best for His children. Rather, His instructions are merely a way to keep them in a perpetual state of bondage.
Finally, there’s the DEIFICATION of man. “…and you will be like God.” Man’s greatest temptation is not to fall down, but to fall up. He fancies himself the determiner of what is good and what is evil. He fancies himself the definer of truth. In short, he fancies himself to be God. And he is greatly deceived.
And what is the result of undermining and disobeying the Word of God? DEATH is the result. When our first parents ate the forbidden fruit in disobedience to God’s command, mankind died: physically, emotionally, spiritually. For to depart from God’s Word is to depart from God Himself.