03 February 2013

The Knowledge Of Good And Evil (Part 2)

What do we know so far? Well, we know that having the knowledge of good and evil sucks. We also know that God never told Adam and Eve they were "naked." Actually, no one cared about their appearance except Adam and Eve. We also know that their new awareness caused them to judge one another and made them believe there was something wrong with each of them. It made them believe that they weren't good enough. Lastly, we see how they desperately tried to separate good from evil. However, this isn't possible. Honestly, nothing has changed and we all deal with the same issues, today.
Picking fruit from a tree in a garden.

So, what else can we learn about the story?

Well, let's stretch our muscles. As you know by now, I like to take risks and venture out from the norm.

For one, we know the serpent never lied. What?! I know, I know. This is heresy, but hear me out. We've been taught all our lives to believe that the serpent (who many believe is Satan) straight up lied to Eve about what would happen if she ate the fruit. But, it just isn't true. The serpent told the truth. And, I'll show you how.

The first thing the serpent said was that Eve surely wouldn't die if she ate the fruit (Gen 3:4-5).  He wasn't lying when he said this. How? Because the bodily state that Adam and Eve were in did not allow them to die. At that point in time, they could live forever. It wasn't until God kicked them out of the garden that dying became possible (Gen 3:22).

Immediately after eating the fruit, their bodies were still powerful enough to handle eternity and walking face to face with God (Exo 33:20-23). As a matter of fact, they didn't die until some 900 years later (Gen 5:3-5). The only reason God kicked them out wasn't because they had to pay for their sin, but so they couldn't eat from the Tree of Life (Gen 3:22-23). Yes, God specifically said that if they ate the fruit of the Tree of Life, they would live forever (with their new awareness). God literally had to guard the path to the tree with a flying sword and cherubim so Adam and Eve couldn't get to its life-giving fruit (Gen 3:24).

Each tree in the garden had a purpose. The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil's only role was to simply give the knowledge of good and evil to whoever ate of it. God made the tree for only one purpose and it did its job well (Gen 2:7-9). It didn't have the power to kill. This is also why we know that Adam and Eve wouldn't die if they ate the fruit.

Secondly, the serpent said that Eve would be like God if she ate the fruit (Gen 3:4-5). This was also true. Even God admitted that Adam and Eve were more like him later in the chapter (Gen 3:22). We talked a little about this in the last post so I won't get into any more detail.

Now, you can see that the serpent, in fact, didn't lie. He told Eve exactly what would happen and it surely came to pass. However, there's a strange twist.

Although we may understand what's written, we'll always find more truth is in what's not written. We have to read between the lines.

We know the serpent had no idea that God would kick the two out of the garden. No, he was clueless. I'm sure he was shocked at the overall turn of events. I'm also sure he didn't expect to be cursed so harshly. God told him that he would have to crawl on his belly everywhere he went (without arms and legs) and that Eve's children would crush his head (Gen 3:14-15). Well, that just sucks for him. I think if he knew this was going to happen he probably would have found another way. I'm also pretty sure he didn't spend much time with God since he was unaware of the outcome. Honestly, his wisdom was limited and he had no true insight.

Ok, so if the serpent is actually Satan, and if what Jesus said about Satan was true (about him being the father of lies) then how was the serpent lying (John 8:42-47)? How is someone lying when they're actually telling the truth?

Before we answer that, let's switch gears a bit.

If we want to be perfectly honest, it appears that the only one lying was God.

How could I say such a thing?? Well, God specifically told Adam that the day he ate the fruit, was also the day he would die (Gen 2:15-17). However, they didn't die that day. You could argue that they began to decay, but they surely didn't go to the grave at that moment. As a matter of fact, God kept them living for another 900 or so years.

So, God, would you like to explain yourself? It appears that the serpent told the truth more than you did?

You said Adam and Eve would die that day, but that didn't happen. So, what in the world is going on??  Did you change your mind? Did you feel bad for them? Maybe you just wanted them to be around a little longer? Could it be that you loved them so much that you just couldn't kill them off quite yet?  Maybe your grace was sufficient (2 Cor 12:8-10)? Why the change of heart? Honestly, I see what you did there.

You see, Satan is the father of lies. Jesus wasn't lying when he said this. And, God never lied either. The real problem was that the serpent's scope was limited. He didn't have God's perspective. He couldn't see with God's eyes. He also didn't spend the time with God or know his heart like God wanted to with Adam. The serpent was, in fact, telling the truth...from his limited point of view.

I'm a firm believer that the serpent also ate from the tree of good and evil. He seemed to have knowledge of what the fruit could do. He seemed to know more than Adam and Eve about it. We also know that he had access to eat of any tree in the garden. He could even eat from the Tree of Life just like anyone else.
It is the truth, but...

However, above anything else, the one thing that I want you to understand is how to spot a good lie.

The most dangerous and the worst of all lies is actually the truth. It's a lie hidden in truth. It's a lie wrapped in a nice beautiful package that's so pretty that you're convinced that there has to be something beautiful inside. It sounds right and looks delicious to eat, but it only leads to death (Mat 12:33). So you take a bite. And another. And another. And you keep eating, but you're never satisfied. You're actually more empty than when you first started eating. It's not until your body starts digesting the fruit that you begin to see things differently.

The best lie is the truth with the wrong perspective. No matter how much it sounds and looks true, it's still a lie. It's knowing and believing something is truth when it's only meant to get your focus on something else. In other words, it's basing your faith on a philosophy of right and wrong. And, this is exactly what the knowledge of good and evil does. So many leaders and believers of the Christian faith constantly eat of this tree without ever knowing it. We must stop listening to lies and only eat from the one tree that matters - The Tree of Life (2 Cor 11:1-4).

And, I'm not talking about sin. This is not a post about being tempted to do wrong or falling for your sinful desires. I'm not talking about sin or temptation at all.

Without understanding the big picture, you'll pay attention to details that mean nothing and follow a doctrine that's unsatisfying and empty.

Just one more post to go...


lifewithin said...

Dathan, This is really really good! I like the turn it is taking. It's good news. I will comment more as I have it come up. 

Dathan Ellis said...

Ah, you see it! Thank God someone gets it! It's about to get ugly and people are not going to be happy about the Good News that's been kept from them for so long.

Daniel Botwin said...

Good stuff bro!

Heather said...

Great writeup Dathan! I love how you always point us toward how the Lord truly sees us. We so often believe the twisted lies that we are not good enough. Satan does a good job at making us think that God doesn't really care about us or that he doesn't have our best interest in mind. Taking in how the Lord loves me is always so much sweeter and long lasting!

Dathan Ellis said...

I agree. So many believers and unbelievers don't accept the fact that they're glorious in God's sight. That all this good and evil is just an illusion masking the truth. What's Good News is that we're forgiven and God sees only the good in us. Anything else is Bad News.