The Vantage Point of Temptation
“He lied to me…”
“I won’t die...”
“Why would this be wrong…”
“This will do so much for me...”
“He doesn’t want me to be like Him…”
“And I want to be like Him…”
“I want it…”
She takes the fruit in her hand, brings it to her mouth, and she bites. She gives some to the man who is with her, and he eats the fruit. Sin has entered the world.
We can only speculate the thoughts that raced through Eve’s mind as Satan lied to her about God, the Almighty Being who was her creator, but whatever thoughts she had led her to see the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil as Satan saw it, not as God saw it.
In the beginning of the world, we can read of God having a direct relationship with Adam. He created him and provided him a home in the Garden of Eden, with work to do. The Lord cared for Adam and did not desire for him to be alone, so he made him a help meet, Eve (Genesis 2:5-24). Together they lived in the garden, made in God’s image, and had a connected relationship with the Lord, a relationship He had designed to be so from the beginning.
It is this creation and relationship that Satan sought to destroy to strike at God. We are given brief glimpses of Satan prior to the creation of the world. 1 Timothy 3:6 implies that his downfall came from being puffed up and full of pride. Satan is at war with God and His people, and seeks nothing but revenge and destruction. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” When he saw Adam and Eve living in happiness and innocence, he saw an opportunity. This was an occasion in which he could give God’s perfect creation a view other than God’s and devour them.
Adam and Eve knew good from evil as God intended them to. They were, after all, created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). But Satan clouded their judgment with lies and pride. Genesis 3:4-6 tells us, “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…” Satan put forward the temptation, “you will be like God.” At that moment they decided that God had lied, God was holding back from them; they would eat the fruit, they would not die, and they would be like God. Satan had shifted their vantage point.
Knowledge of good and evil is the ability and maturity to distinguish between good and evil, not in deed only, but in consequence as well. Imagine their anticipation as they took the first bite of the forbidden fruit, swallowing, ready to reward themselves. Adam and Eve expected their eyes to be opened and to know wisdom as God knows it. Instead they gained the knowledge that they had sinned and seized guilt and shame (Genesis 3:7-10). They had desired to be like God, and now they were separated from him by the spiritual death he had promised for disobedience. They would also experience physical death and a schism in their relationship with God (Genesis 3:19, 23). They had gained nothing but the insight of their sin. Our holy God cannot fellowship with iniquity. From that moment on, the human plight has been seeking reconciliation to God.
Adam and Eve should have known to see temptation as God sees it--something rejected, shameful, and bringing nothing but separation. Instead they chose to see it as Satan--self-serving, deceptive, and prideful. To serve ourselves and to doubt God and His promises are ways that Satan would have us view temptation. Satan crafts temptation in such a way that he connects to our desires to blind us to truth, giving way to deception. He has taken the rot and disgust of the sin and disguised it in something we see as pleasurable and desirable. When we give way to this pleasure, we bite into the putrescence of the sin we were blinded to. To God, sin is something he will forever reject because it brings separation from Him in fellowship and heart. Succumbing to temptation brings a harsh experience God does not desire for us. 2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
We have to be aware of the vantage point from which we are viewing temptation: Do we revel in the self service and believe the lies Satan plants? Or do we see it as estrangement, bitter, shameful, and outside of God’s will for us? There is freedom and liberty in God’s law. God is not tyrannical and restrictive with His law as Satan would have us believe. There is a relationship with God inside His boundaries. Outside of God’s borders, there is nothing but weeping and gnashing of teeth, and isolation from all that is holy.
The truth and the lesson in the account is that their fall is our fall. Temptation did not stop with Adam and Eve. We all face Satan and his host daily. Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Thankfully, even though there are times temptation gets the best of us, God cares for us as He did Adam and Eve. He still strives to reconcile our relationship that has been set at odds because of our pride and Satan. As we humble ourselves, recognizing our shortcomings, he shows us grace and mercy and the blood of His Son, caring for us as a tender Shepherd and loving Father. Christ came to cover Adam’s trespass. Adam’s choice brought death to the world, but Christ’s choice of sacrifice has redeemed us and reconciled us to our Lord (Romans 5:12-21).
Colossians 2:13-14: “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”