Described as more “crafty” than any other animal (Gen. 3:1, NIV) , the snake became a powerful symbol throughout Bible history. Moses lifted up a bronze serpent on a pole to stop people from dying in a plague of deadly serpents during the Exodus (Num. 21:5-9) .
The same bronze serpent became an object of idolatry and of occult practice and was destroyed by King Hezekiah about seven hundred years later (2 Kings 18:4) . In the book of Revelation, the “serpent of old” is clearly identified as “the devil, or Satan” (Rev. 12:9, NIV) .
Read Genesis 3:1-5. What tactic did Satan use in his attempt to deceive Eve?
The first words uttered by the snake were words of cynicism and doubt: “‘Did God really say?’” (Gen. 3:1, NIV) . Instead of Eve wondering why a snake was talking to her, she was immediately drawn into the faith-destroying taunts. When Satan asked, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’” (Gen. 3:1, NIV) , the implication (based on the original language) was that God forbade them to eat from all the trees when, in fact, that wasn’t what God had forbidden them to do.
God’s character is being questioned here. This is a direct attack on Him. The serpent must have confused Eve, because her reply adds a detail that, according to the biblical record, God did not give: “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.’” (Gen. 3:2-3 NKJV; compare Gen. 2:17). The part about not touching it, she added, perhaps in her own confusion.
Satan’s success up to this point made him bold; so, he then directly challenged God’s authority: “‘You will not surely die’” (Gen. 3:4, KJV) . The fact that he, in the tree, was touching the fruit and remained alive made his statements believable. He then threw in the final thought: “‘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’” (vs. Gen. 3:5, NKJV) . The tempter made it appear that God was not only dishonest but also withholding something good from them.
Satan mixed truth with error. What are some things people believe that are a mixture of truth and error? Why is that always a deadly mix, especially in terms of theology?