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’?”
“Has God indeed said?” The critic begins with this simple question. This question is one from unbelief and it is meant to sow seeds of unbelief. Perhaps God has not really said it. Perhaps I misheard. Doubt begins to creep in.
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.’ ”
On the one hand, Eve’s response begins with confidence. It’s not as if God is being unreasonable or stingy. We may eat of any of the trees except this one. But then you see that nagging doubt the critic planted into her mind for she adds to God’s command that they were commanded not to even touch it. Is it in fact true that God is being unjust?
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.”
The critic proceeds to correct God. “You will not surely die.” It’s as if to say, “you silly woman, I know you think God said you will die if you eat of this tree, but you SURELY will not. Certainty for the critic is not in God’s word, it is in his rejection of it.
The next step is to claim some good thing will come from the certainty of the critic. The critic knows better than God’s word. He provides an alternate meaning to God’s clear command. “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.
Eve does not but the critic’s words to the test by comparing them to what God actually said. Rather, she trusts her senses. She “SAW that the tree was good for food” and “that it was pleasant to the eyes” and that it was “desirable to make one wise.” She believer the critic. The evidence clearly is on his side.
As for Adam, he just passively rolls with it and eats. He appears to have little interest in sorting the matter out for himself.
This is the dynamic that is going on in our churches and universities. When the only certainty we can have is in fact uncertainty, infidelity is the inevitable result.
Do you actually believe you have, in your possession, the infallible word of God? —And I don’t mean theoretically. If not, you’ve given ear to the first critic and trusted your sight (reason) over the word of God and you are left with fig leaves. It’s an old story that just keeps being retold.
If man, before sin, could fall for this, how much more the sinner?