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Genesis 3:1-6--The Great Deception

Have you ever wondered why Satan approached Eve about eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil instead of approaching Adam?

I have a couple of thoughts. Based on how the early chapters of Genesis are worded, we have no proof that Eve ever heard the command not to eat of that tree directly from God. In Genesis 2:15-17, we read, “God told the man.” It’s possible that somewhere during Adam’s and Eve’s personal relationship with the Lord, as they walked through the garden in the cool of the day, that He reiterated that command to both of them. After all, we really don’t have any idea how much time passed between Genesis chapter 2 and chapter 3. It could have been one day, one week, one month or many months. But according to the scripture we’ve been given, we can’t be dogmatic in saying that Eve heard the “don’t eat” directive from God. But if she didn’t hear the command from God, the fact that she knew she shouldn’t eat the fruit of the tree means that Adam had passed that message onto her. It would also mean that she received the message second hand.

If this were the case, it emphasizes the importance of personal Bible study and prayer. As we study God’s Word and give Him opportunity to speak to us personally, it’s much more effective and meaningful than anything we will ever hear or receive from someone else. I know when the Holy Spirit pricks my heart about a scripture I’m reading and gives me special insight into it, His supernatural touch of my heart blesses me, and rarely is it a message I soon forget. It stays with me, and I often meditate on it throughout the day and beyond. Yet, if I hear the exact same message from a Bible teacher, friend, or even my husband, it doesn’t have nearly the impact on my life. Hearing a message from a human rather than directly from God is never as effective or lasting.

Perhaps this is what happened to Eve and why Satan targeted her. By not hearing the words directly from the Lord, it would have made it easier for Satan to confuse the message and twist its meaning.

Satan might have also appealed to Eve’s appreciation of beauty. Let’s face it. Women generally notice and appreciate beauty more readily than men. For example, if a vase holding a dozen red roses sits on a table, rarely will a woman walk by without noticing them, or even leaning over to smell them. She may even cup one of the blossoms in her palm to feel the velvety smoothness of its petals. Most likely a man will walk by without even seeing the roses. “What roses?” he may ask, if the woman makes a comment about them.

Since we don’t know how much time elapsed between chapter 2 and chapter 3, perhaps Satan had time to observe Adam and Eve as they spent time in the garden. As he observed them, he probably noticed how differently each responded to the beauty around them. Since Adam was given the assignment of naming the animals, he might not have been quite as enamored with the cuteness of the squirrels as they played tag among the trees. Satan might have also noticed how Eve stopped to observe the flowers, or comment on their color or fragrance to Adam. Seeing that she responded more emotionally to the beauty that surrounded them, Satan might have decided to put his own secret weapon to work, and he recognized that it would work best on Eve. And what was that secret weapon? It was himself. You’ll get a better understanding of that by studying Ezekiel 28, particularly focusing on verses 11-17. C. I. Scofield’s note in The New Scofield Reference Bible says of these verses, “the language goes beyond the king of Tyre to Satan, inspirer and unseen ruler of all such pomp and pride as that of Tyre.”

In addition to God’s reference to Satan’s “perfect beauty” in verse 12, a detailed list of Satan’s covering of precious stones is given in verse 13. This will give you a glimpse of just how Eve might have been drawn to him. His beauty would have been indescribable, even breathtaking. Yet we see in verse 17 how his beauty, which had been bestowed on him by his Creator, ended up being his downfall. His “heart was lifted up” because of his own beauty. We see further insight into his arrogance in Isaiah 14:12-14. He had every expectation of being like “the most High” and exalting his throne “above the stars of God.”

Satan had only two objects in the Garden of Eden to target, so he had to be wise in the choice he made. He may have observed how Eve approached beauty; therefore, he would have seen how she would find him and his beauty approachable. Eve was naïve. She had never known evil, and she wouldn’t have recognized deceit. God’s character was totally honorable, pure and loving, and that’s all she was familiar with. She had no experience in recognizing a lie, or that the stunningly beautiful creature that approached her was only interested in her destruction. So, it could be, that in her emotional response to his beauty (not to mention that he could speak and hold a conversation with her!), Satan saw her as the most likely of the two residents of the Garden of Eden to be swayed by his cunningness.

Finally, after hearing Satan’s persuasive argument, it was her own emotional response to the fruit that was her final downfall: “…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” (v. 6). If only Eve had stepped away from the situation long enough to talk the matter over with God before making her final decision, perhaps everything would have turned out differently. But she didn’t. And, in that, lies a valuable lesson for us. When we’re tempted by a façade of beauty and attracted to something that appears too good to be true, we should step away to get God’s perspective before proceeding. After all, we shouldn’t think for a minute Satan isn’t taking the time to observe our weaknesses, just as he observed Eve’s over 6,000 years ago. But today we have God’s written word and the indwelling Holy Spirit to guide us in our decisions. We have no excuse when we fall prey to Satan’s age-old tactics, for we have every power available to us in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ to be an overcomer.

(See also 2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Timothy 2:14)

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