Question: I try so hard not to make the same mistakes over and over again. But I keep giving in. I don’t understand it. I really want to do what is right, but I end up making the wrong decisions.
Why? Why can’t I get it right?
So often we have a picture of ourselves in our minds of who and what we want to be. You don’t even have to be a Christian to understand this: The life we live is between our ears.
Pro 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
Luk 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
Pro 23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.
It is in the heart of man, the inner most part of his being, where we sort through our experiences and learning, then make decisions. Sometimes methodically, sometimes impulsively. Many psychiatrists stake their reputations on this truth.
We can get a better understanding of the mechanics of decision making by looking at the fall of man, when Eve was first manipulated and made a catastrophically wrong decision.
First, let’s look in Genesis 2 and see what God originally told man he could and couldn’t do.
Gen 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
Gen 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
Gen 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
God said man could freely eat of everything in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God told them the day they ate of it, is the day they would die. It was that simple. God is not complicated as many would have us believe. It is man that makes everything harder than it needs be.
Now let’s look at the progression to the fall. Keep in mind as you read that we don’t know how long it took once the serpent, who is Lucifer, the devil, Satan, started working on Eve before she gave in and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It could have been minutes, but I tend to think it took longer. We will see as we go on that what the serpent did was to get Eve to begin to doubt what God had said, and that can take time. It sometimes takes years of thinking upon before we do those things we know we shouldn’t. But then again, if we are mentally in the habit of caving, it can take minutes. Even though we don’t know how long it took, minutes or years, we do know that eventually she gave in, much to the demise of man.
On to the fall.
Gen 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
The serpent knew exactly what God has said. Look at how he worded his question. God had said that they could eat freely of every tree except one. The serpent says, “hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden.” By rephrasing what was said he gets her to focus on the one thing she was told she couldn’t have. This is very typical in today’s marketing strategies.
Gen 3:2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
But that is not what God had said. God said they could freely eat. Here, Eve omits a word. She left out the word, freely. God had said, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat. This may seem like a small thing, but it isn’t. First she entered into a conversation, then she misquotes God’s Word. She omitted a word. If you can leave a word out of what God said, you can change it, or you can add to it as well, which is what Eve does next.
Eve goes on to say,
Gen 3:3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
Wait. That’s not right. God never said they couldn’t touch it. First she leaves a word out, now she adds to God’s Word. If you add to God’s Word, you no longer have God’s Word.
And God certainly didn’t say “lest ye die.” God said, “thou shalt surely die.” Eve took the absolute, this-WILL-happen, consequence of eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and she turned it into an I-am-a-bit-concerned-this-might-happen consequence. She changed God’s Word from an absolute, to a possibility. God had said Thou Shalt. There was no doubt about what would happen if she indulged.
Look at the pattern of what Eve did. She allowed herself to be drawn into a conversation, a conversation she should have never have been having. She knew what God had said and that should have settled it. But the serpent was sly, very sly. He knew how to get her thinking about the one thing she couldn’t have.
After she omits the word ‘freely’ and adds the words ‘neither shall ye touch it,’ she changed the word from the absolute ‘thou shalt die’ to a possible ‘lest ye die.’ When she was done having this conversation, she didn’t have God’s Word left. She was primed to go where the serpent was ever so subtly taking her. She was being manipulated and she didn’t even know it.
God had said, “thou shalt surely die.”
Gen 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
There it is. The first recorded lie in the bible. It is a lie that has been told and retold time and time again throughout history. It is a lie that is very prevalent in the church today. “Ye shall not surely die.”
Gen 3:4,5 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
The Devil is appealing to Eve’s ego, her sense of pride. He is saying, “This God you think loves you so much really wants to keep all of the glory for himself. He is not all He would have you believe. You are just a chess piece in his game of life. Don’t you want to be important? Don’t you want to have the power? Isn’t it time you have all the answers? Don’t you want to be like GOD?”
Gen 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
Look at how the Word of God become twisted and distorted as she carries on this conversation with the serpent. Now that she has changed the Word that God gave, she no longer has the Word. She saw that the tree was good for food. That it was pleasant to the eyes. It was desirable. Interestingly, the fruit had always been pleasant to the eyes and desirable, but her perspective when looking at it had changed. She says, “Well, it is healthy looking fruit. I bet it is really good for me. That is a plus. And I want to be wise, God knows I do. What the hell. It can’t hurt. I want my eyes opened.”
We play out this same pattern of thought in our own minds everyday.
God is silent on what happened between the time Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and Adam ate. I wonder what was going on in Adam’s mind when Eve approached him with the fruit. 1 Timothy 2:14 says that Adam was not deceived. If he wasn’t deceived as Eve had been, how did she talk him into eating or did he follower her no questions asked? This is one of those questions I want to ask when Jesus Christ comes back. What did Adam do when Eve approached him with the fruit???
Gen 3:7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
This was the fall of man, when darkness became part of our lives. The results, unlike what the serpent would have us believe, were devastating. For the first time we knew shame. We no longer had an intimate relationship with the God who had made, formed and created us. We could no longer walk and talk freely with him as we had. We died the day they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We died a horrible spiritual dead. We had lost our spiritual connection to God and we knew fear.
Adam had handed all dominion over to the serpent, the devil, Lucifer, through his act of high treason. Everything changed that day, and would remain changed for generations. It would remain changed until a price was paid to legally buy man back from the god of this world, Satan. Man and God were separated, with rare conditional exceptions, until the second Adam bought back everything the first Adam gave away. This second Adam, Jesus Christ, made payment with his own redeeming blood.
We can learn a lot from Eve and how she allowed herself to be manipulated. We can also learn a lot from what isn’t said about Adam.
May God open our eyes and expand our hearts.