The First Deceptions in History
The Devil authored two lies in Gen. 3.4-5, both of them subtle. The first is explicit, but overly technical, so as to deceive: “you shall not surely die” (KJV). The second lie is more implicit: God is not good since He is holding out on you.
The First Lie Refuted
While the pair (Adam and Eve), after eating, did not at once die physically, that very day they died to God as God had warned them previously:
- They died because a remedy was needed, since, they were now alienated from God (by hiding), and from themselves (tried to cover their nakedness). After this sin, by grace, they were clothed with animal skins which involved an innocent animal victim (the metaphor of a substitute). God demonstrated His love, that while they were sinners, He still had mercy on them (see Rom. 5.8).
Jesus said people were dead before they trusted Him: Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life (Jn. 5.24). Therefore, the Devil lied. Humanity was plunged into sin and misery with the impending prospect of eventual physical death.
Paul tells the Christians in Eph. 2.1–“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.” Here the apostle writes to his living recipients, before they believed, they were in some sense “dead.” Therefore, a death occurred at The Fall.
The Second Deception
The second lie, though even more subtle, is implied in vs. 5: for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil (NIV). God’s ultimate goodness is questioned by the Devil, who spouts a wicked lie. This is an accusation against God, the Devil’s first accusation, and other accusations follow from it: He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies ( Jn. 8.44b NIV). The devil is not merely “the accuser of the brethren” (Rev. 12.10), but of God Himself.
Refutation and Judgment
Notice the scene in Gen. 3 subsequent to the Fall, none of the guilty parties could hide any longer, but, are forced to stand before the Lord’s bench of judgement. No evidence exists that the parties could squirm away in any sense. This judicial setting of Gen. 3.15 gives a prophetic sentence against the serpent. The sentence also gives hope to humanity of a Redeemer: He will crush your head, and you will strike His heel. (NIV). God is good to humans who will have access to The Tree of Life since Jesus bore the curse of sin for them (see Rev. 2.7, 22.2-3).