Strategy of the Devil

The Progress of Temptation

In Genesis 3 we read the account of the first temptation of Adam and Eve by Satan. The strategy of the Devil was successful and led to our first parents' disregard of God's Word to them and their rebellion against God Himself. Today Satan continues to use the same tactics, which produce the same result, namely, the disregard of mankind for the Word of God, and the rebellion of mankind against the authority of God. These tactics are:

(1) To Doubt the Word of God

The very first temptation recorded in the Bible was for Eve to doubt the truth of something that God had said.

"And he (the serpent) said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" GENESIS 3:1

Eve's answer to this should have been a simple repetition of what God had said to Adam:

"Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest there of thou shalt surely die." GENESIS 2:16-17

Instead, Eve replied:

"We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die." GENESIS 3:2-3

N.B. first, that in his query about any tree of the garden, Satan misrepresented and distorted what God had said. God had been very specific: ("the tree of the knowledge of good and evil"); Satan was suitably vague ("any tree").

N.B. second, that Eve misquoted God no less than three times (3x), and both diminished and added to what God had said:

  1. She undervalued her privileges by misquoting the Divine Permission. God had said they could freely eat of every tree (except one); she reduced this to, "We may eat of the trees".
  2. She exaggerated the restrictions by misquoting the Divine Prohibition. God had said nothing against touching; she included this in God's command.
  3. She underrated her obligations by misquoting the Divine Penalty. God had said they would "surely die"; she changed this to: "lest ye die".

Dr. Henry Morris, commenting on this says, "It is always dangerous to alter God's Word, either by addition (as do modern cultists) or by deletion (as do modern liberalists).

God, being omniscient, can always be trusted to say exactly, and only, what He means, DEUTERONOMY 4:2; PROVERBS 30:5; REVELATION 22:18,19; and finite man is inexcusable when he seeks to change God's Word. Such will lead either to Divine reproof: PROVERBS 30:6 or death: REVELATION 22:19."

(2) To Deny the Word of God

Having misrepresented what God had said, and sown the seeds of doubt in Eve's mind, Satan proceeded to outright denial of the truth of what God had said.

"And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die." GENESIS 3:4

N.B. the progression: Satan distorted the Word of God, which caused the woman to doubt the Word of God, and finally he denied the Word of God.

(3) To Disregard the Judgement of God

That sin has consequences is something that we probably all learn only from experience, and Eve as yet had had none in this area. What she did have was a solemn forewarning of the judgment of God – the death penalty – that would follow disobedience. Any thought of such judgment was quickly expunged from her mind by Satan's suggestion:

"...in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods (Hebrew: "God"), knowing good and evil." GENESIS 3:5b

To be as God was the same desire that had led to Satan's own downfall (ISAIAH 14:13-14); he now sought to infect Eve with the same desire and she found the prospect irresistible. However, the benefit offered was spurious. From now on, she (and Adam) would know good by the loss of it, and evil by bitter experience. Furthermore, they would know good without having the power to consistently do it, and they would know evil without having the power to refrain from doing it. Far from "being as God", from now on they would be slaves to satan. Their eyes were opened not to superior wisdom, but to guilt expressed in shame and fear.

(4) To Defame the Character of God

Satan's suggestion that if Eve ate the fruit she would be "as God" was put in the context that God knows that you will obtain this advantage (GENESIS 3:5).

The goodness of God was thus impugned, as if He was unfairly and arbitrarily withholding something to which Eve was entitled and from which she would greatly profit; as if through meanness He was keeping her in a state of ignorance and dependence on Himself.

Once Eve had allowed her mind to travel thus far down the road of resentment against God, it was but a small step to total rebellion:

  1. She saw that the tree was "good for food" (i.e. appealing to her bodily appetite), "pleasant to the eyes" (i.e. appealing to her senses and emotions), "desired to make one wise" (i.e. appealing to her intellect).
  2. "She took of the fruit and ate thereof and did eat." It was her own act and deed.
  3. "And gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." (GENESIS 3:6)

Having fallen into sin herself, she desired that Adam should join her, and he willingly did so. Thus the forbidden fruit was looked upon, desired, taken, eaten and given to another. In the process the Word of God was rejected, the will of God was resisted, and the way of God was repudiated.

The essence of all sin is the desire in the heart to be independent of God. This results in the choosing of self-interests rather than God's interests, and the gratifying of self as the chief end rather than obeying God. In the case of Adam and Eve, the final act was an expression of the sin that had already been committed in the heart and mind.

(5) Conclusion

In the past one-and-a-half centuries the rise of Darwinism and the associated acceptance of theistic evolution and liberal theology by many church leaders have done more to cast doubt on and to deny the truth of The Word of God than any other cause. The effect has been that Western society not only does not believe in the judgment of God – it does not even believe in the existence of a God whose chief attribute is holiness. Satan's strategy, which worked with Eve, has proved to be no less effective with modern man!

by Russell M. Grigg
Source: "Creation Ex-Nihilo" Volume 16:3, June-August 1994