I heard this line in a talk by James MacDonald recently. MacDonald talked about the reality of spiritual warfare, and pointed out that one of the tactics Satan uses when opposing those who belong to the Lord is to present us with lies — to convince us that falsehood is truth, and that truth is falsehood.
Satan has been at this since Genesis 3.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
The serpent makes a subtle suggestion here. He doesn’t make a bold statement at first (that comes three verses later). He just puts a seed of doubt in Eve’s mind by posing a seemingly innocent question.
“Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”
Could God be stingy? Could he be selfish? Has he created all this just so he can take pleasure in limiting the quality of life and experiences available to mankind? Satan would have us think so.
God had indeed given Adam and Eve the command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
But where’s the part about not eating of any tree in the garden?
Name the lie.
Insert the truth.
Remember what God had already said in Genesis 1.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.”
Is it any wonder that in Scripture John refers to Satan as a liar, and the father of lies?
May we remain in the presence of our glorious God of truth. May his word be written on our hearts. May his word be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.