“Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” (NASB)He is quizzing the woman about what God commanded them. As her answer will reveal, Eve did not know very well what exactly the Lord commanded them. In asking Eve the question, he questions the very goodness of God. God was not some stingy uncle whose house they were living in for the summer. He gave them the perfect Paradise. And yet, one of the most essential needs of human existence – food – and God’s willingness to provide it is targeted by the Devil. With that, the Creator of the universe who gave to Adam and Eve the rule of the whole earth, is portrayed by the Devil as a tyrant who starves prisoners. God never prohibited eating from every tree, just one, among every other. So the Devil calls into question the word of God and the character of God. This ancient tactic of his still catches some of us unawares today, if we accommodate him. Even before Eve responds, the crafty questioner has succeeded. He has raised doubt in Eve’s mind. She now doubts what God said – the wording of the command. She doubts God’s reasons for giving it. She doubts God’s goodness. She also, as we shall see, doubts the desires of her own heart. Eve has been disarmed before she can respond.
The accommodating response to her interviewer, which Eve should have never engaged in, went something like this. Please allow me to paraphrase, with interjections in parentheses. “We are allowed to eat fruit from the trees of the garden [she forgot to mention every tree]. But fruit from the tree [God never said only fruit] in the middle of the garden is off limits for us. God said if we eat fruit from this tree, or even touch it [God never said anything about touch] we will die.” The first thing that comes to my mind when Eve talks about the tree in the middle of the garden is, “Which tree?” There were two specific trees in the middle of the garden – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, yes, but also planted there was the tree of life, says Genesis 2:9. The second thing that stands out is Eve’s addition to God’s words. God’s command kept them from eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, says Genesis 2:17. It never kept them from touching it. When we add to what God says, even ignorantly, we portray Him and perceive Him wrongly. We need to carefully examine what God says in its context, to know who He is. Because how we perceive Him, determines how we relate to Him. How we relate to Him determines how we live our lives.
How do you perceive God? How are you living your life?
Copyright, 2013, Kenny Damara. This article is an excerpt from the book Divided Desire.
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