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Questions of Scripture: Has God said…?

July 6, 2012

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”

We should take note of the first question in the Bible. Satan asks specifically about the prohibition God put on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But the implications of his question are more far reaching. We all know what it’s like to ask loaded questions. We’ve seen how a well placed question has a surface answer but can also imply several other things. And this is the exact strategy the Serpent employs against our first parents.

Implicit in the question are several things the Tempter seeks to use against us even today. (See 2 Corinthians 2:11)  Satan has no new tricks – just the old ones repackaged. The evil one’s strategy is to lead us away from the bedrock of God’s revelation with the final goal being alienation from the Lord Himself. So what are some of the implied ideas in Satan’s question that we face in our daily temptations?

The most pernicious idea embedded in the Great Deceiver’s question is another question: Has God spoken at all?  Even this question tumbles into more ramifications because if God has not spoken then the next thoughts are: Does God even exist?  If He does, is He even personal? Are we even able to have a relationship with Him? If God hasn’t spoken, how can man be in the image of God? But if God has spoken, then He is there, He is personal, and He does desire a relationship with us.

Another implanted question within the Liar’s original question is, “If God has spoken, is it clear?” The implication Satan is making is that God had said earlier the man and woman could eat from any of the trees. Why is God now contradicting Himself by saying you can’t eat of THIS tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Isn’t God confusing you by changing the rules? There is nothing new under the sun. Modern variations on this question are: “Isn’t the Bible inconsistent and full of errors? How is what God said and did in the Old Testament like the God in the New Testament?  Do God’s words really mean what you think they do? If the bible were true, then why do you have so many different interpretations?”  No doubt some places in God’s word are hard to understand. And no doubt some may have legitimate questions regarding various issues. But there are times when Satan uses these questions as either smoke screens to hide the truth or as a way to confuse the clear revelation of God.

There is a third question lodged within the Tempter’s question: Isn’t God’s law too restrictive? Shouldn’t it be broader to include ‘all the trees’? We hear Satan’s voice whisper in its current forms of “Why is the bible God’s only book? Isn’t it narrow minded to say Jesus is the only way? Doesn’t living by the bible make life dull and boring? Why can’t we enjoy everything in this life and not be punished for it?” Satan panders sin under the guise of freedom.  But we shouldn’t be deceived – sin always brings enslavement (John 8:34).

A fourth question deposited in the Devil’s original question is “Shouldn’t creation rather than the Creator be your main focus?” Satan’s ploy was to get Eve more focused on the fruit God created and what it could offer her rather than the gracious provision she already had in her Creator. This implication gets to the origin and heart of what the bible calls idolatry. We desire to love creation more than the Creator, even if it’s ourselves! (See Romans 1:25)

Satan’s use of a question is not doubt sinful. But is it the case that every question a person has towards the Lord is inherently wrong? No, it’s not. Throughout the scriptures God’s people have doubts and questions. They wonder why God is doing what He is doing. They wonder where He is at in their life or situation. They may be asking to know the Father’s will. But Satan’s question is a different issue.

The Evil One is seeking to undermine the authority of God’s word, the clarity of God’s word, and minimize God’s word by making it look too overreaching into our original parent’s lives. But God’s word is our very life! (John 6:68) Thru God’s word we come to know that He really is there and knowable! We are given the knowledge of salvation that is in the only Redeemer of mankind, Jesus Christ! (John 1:14) And it is thru the Word of God that ultimately the Old Serpent will be destroyed! (Revelation 20:10)

Without the Word of God, the image of God in man gets continually degraded by buying into substitute revelations like the one Satan offered Eve in the garden. And a substitute revelation is no revelation at all as our parents found out. We too are tempted to jettison the clear word of God for the latest fad, to follow the line of questioning that most appeals to our desires, and to feel that our freedom is jeopardized by complete obedience to God’s holy word. But we must recognize these temptations for what they are: lies and deception!

So where in your life do you question what God has clearly said? Maybe you are wondering if God has spoken at all. Or, where do you feel God is limiting your freedom? Where you feel you are unnecessarily limited by God is where you are wanting to concede to sin. Be on guard! Or, what fruit of creation is so enticing to you? A person, a thing, a desire? What in creation is being offered to you that seeks to take the place of heart devotion which should only be reserved for Jesus Christ? Usually we only think Satan has the goal of wanting people to hate. But Satan has no problem if you love, as long as it’s something in creation over the Creator.

There is no problem with having legitimate questions. The problem comes when we put a question where God has placed a period. So who are you going to believe?

One Comment leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    July 15, 2012 8:08 AM

    The revelation of the serpent’s intentions brings me before the cross begging God to show me the way. How have I not seen this before? Was it simple blindness or the innate desire of my sinful soul fighting God?

    (By the way, and with all due respect: grammatically, when one puts words in parentheses, it should precede the period or exclamation point. Otherwise, the verse in parentheses belongs to the following sentence)

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