Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 13, 1967
NUMBER 48, PAGE 4-6c

Jefferson David Tant


Eve Deceived

One of the saddest stories ever related on the pages of history is that of Adam and Eve as recorded in Genesis the third chapter. In chapter 2:15-17, God had given them the task of caring for the garden, and prohibited them from eating or touching the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Chapter 3:1-8 relates the familiar story of Satan deceiving Eve, with the verses following describing the punishment that came upon Adam and Eve because of their sin.

The gravity of this occasion is recognized when we recall the high state from which Adam and Eve fell. Never, among all of God's creatures, has there been a man so noble and upright as this man, the crowning work of God's creation. And surely there has never been a woman so fair and pure as the one whom God created to be the mother of all living. Never has there been a sweeter and more holy relationship than that of these two, nor has man had a more intimate and close relationship with his creator.

Yet all of this was destroyed in a moment of weakness and folly. Paul expressed it in few words: "Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed all men, for that all sinned..." (Rom. 5:12) Even though the story is thousands of years old, Satan yet works in the lives of men and women today as he did then. Therefore, the story has pertinence today, and we can learn from it as we note the deception of Eve, and make present applications.

God's law to Adam and Eve was plainly stated in Gen. 2:16-17: "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 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. " Who could misunderstand such a statement as that? Do you suppose Adam and Eve sat around having lengthy theological discussions concerning this simple command. Did they ponder many ways of interpreting this?

No, they understood it perfectly. When Satan questioned Eve concerning the commands of God, she demonstrated her understanding by quoting just what God had said: "And the woman said unto the serpent, Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat: 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." (Gen.3:2-3)

BUT SHE WAS THEN DECEIVED! Eve admitted this (3:13), and Paul referred to the fact that she was beguiled in I Tim. 2:13-14. Satan had appealed to her through the avenues of temptation mentioned by John in I John 2:15-16---"The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the vainglory of life." Satan first lied to Eve ("Thou shalt not surely die), and she wanted to believe the lie when she looked upon the fruit and saw how desirable it was. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for good, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise..." (Gen.3:6) Each of these statements is categorized by John, as can be one with every temptation that comes upon us. Eve was now ready to disobey God. Note: Even though she still believed in God, SHE NO LONGER BELIEVED WHAT GOD HAD SAID!

Consider also an often overlooked fact. SHE THOUGHT SHE WAS RIGHT IN WHAT SHE DID! Before you question that statement, consider what is meant by the words "beguile" and "deceive." They mean "to delude, mislead, cause one to believe that which is not true." If I told a man a glass contained water when it really contained carbolic acid, he might drink it "thinking" it was a safe act, but his sincere thoughts would not help him one minute in overcoming the error. So Eve was convinced she was doing right and not wrong. She even encouraged Adam to eat with her. If she believed the act would bring his destruction, surely she would not have deliberately brought such upon him.

Adam was not deceived. He knew what he was doing. Why he ate, deliberately and knowingly disobeying God, is another matter. Some have suggested that it was out of love for Eve and fear of being separated from her that he decided to suffer with her. But the revelation does not discuss this matter.

The result is well known to all. In spite of Eve's sincerity in what she did, she, with her husband, suffered the consequences God had promised them. (Gen. 3:16-19, 22-24) They died spiritually in that they were separated from the presence of God, and they later died physically by reason of the infirmity of the flesh, for they were denied access to the tree of life. All of this IN SPITE OF what Satan had said, and in spite of Eve's sincerity in what she did.

How closely that resembles the story today.

God's laws and plans for our salvation today are plainly stated. For example, note just three passages. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned." (Mark 16: 16) "And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38)"And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on his name." (Acts 22:16) Do you say that God's law CANNOT be understood? If so, there is no love, mercy, nor justice in God, else he would not COMMAND us to perform that which we CANNOT UNDERSTAND.

If I said, "He that believeth on me and is baptized shall receive $1,000, " do you think people would argue with me about it, try to reason around it, dispute it, or ignore it? Hardly. I would be besieged with applicants ANXIOUS to fulfill the conditions given.

Just so, you will find that most people REALLY DO UNDERSTAND what God has said with respect to our salvation. Not too long ago, I was in conversation with a young lady of the Baptist faith. She asked me if I really thought baptism was essential to salvation. I simply turned to and read Mark 16:16, without any of my own comments. She replied, "Then you believe it is necessary." SHE UNDERSTOOD WHAT IT SAID PERFECTLY! She just didn't BELIEVE it!

My father relates a conversation he had with a woman on the same subject. When he read the passage in her hearing without adding any comments of opinions, she said, "But I don't see it that way." What way? THE WAY IT READ! She HAD to understand the passage in order to disagree with it. Yes, she UNDERSTOOD Mark 16:16, but refused to believe it.

Here is where the trouble lies. PEOPLE HAVE BEEN DECEIVED. Satan has many ways to beguile people in these matters. They reason "faith only was good enough for my mother, and it's good enough for me." "Sincerity and honesty is all that counts. So long as you believe you are right, you are." "I really don't think it makes any difference whether you are sprinkled or immersed." And on it goes--man's opinion as opposed to what God has said.

But if people are not DILIGENTLY and WHOLEHEARTEDLY seeking the truth, they are ripe for being deceived. Paul clearly pointed this out in II Thessalonians 2:10-12 concerning those "that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God sendeth them a working of error, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be judged who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." Satan is a master at presenting his doctrines attractively, as he did with Eve. But we have been well forewarned about the possibility of being deceived. Jeremiah 17: 9 states, "The heart is above all things very deceitful." Paul expressed fear for the Corinthians: "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness, your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity and the purity that is toward Christ." (II Cor. 11:3) He then goes on in the same chapter to inform them that there are those who "are false apostles, deceitful workers, fashioning themselves into apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for even Satan fashioneth himself into an angel of light. It is no great thing therefore if his ministers also fashion themselves as ministers of righteousness..." (13-15)

Paul rebuked the Galatians for being deceived in Gal. 3:1: "0 foolish Galatians, who did bewitch you... " He warned them severely in the first chapter: "I marvel that ye are so quickly removing from him that called you in the grace of Christ unto a different gospel; which is not another gospel: only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of. Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema (accursed). " (6-8) I DON'T CARE IF YOUR PREACHER DID SAY IT, IF IT'S NOT IN THE WORD OF GOD, DON'T BELIEVE IT, NOT EVEN IF AN ANGEL FROM HEAVEN SHOULD SAY IT! !

This is SO important, because "thinking" one is right does not make it so. The wise Solomon said, "There is a way that seemeth right unto man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." (Prov.14:12) Many will, to their eternal sorrow, find this to be true in the day of judgment. Consider well the teaching of Matthew 7:21-23. "not every one that sayeth unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; BUT HE THAT DOETH THE WILL of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." These are SINCERE people, who BELIEVED in Christ, who were RELIGIOUS, BUT WHO WERE NOT CAREFUL TO DO THE WILL OF THE FATHER. Where will this leave the one who insists "I don't think it makes any difference...," or the one who intones "Just so long as your heart is right..." Dear friend, we will not be judged by WHAT WE THINK, but BY THE WORD OF GOD. "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my sayings, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day." (John 12:48) Those who enter in are those whose hearts are right AND WHO ALSO DO THE WILL OF THE FATHER!

The penalty for failure to do this is eternal hell. One day the Lord is to be revealed "From heaven with the angels of his power in flaming fire, rendering vengeance to them that know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus: who shall suffer punishment, even eternal destruction..." (II Thess. 1:7-9) God has promised such, and we have no hope that he will change his mind in the day of judgment. All this in spite of what your church creed books say, what your preacher says, your parents, your opinion, etc.

Do you understand God's plan of salvation? You understand that God requires faith. (John 3:16) You know that God requires repentance. (Luke 13:3) You understand what the Bible says about baptism. (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38) Now, DO YOU BELIEVE IT? Eve understood the Lord, but Satan caused her NOT TO BELIEVE IT. Has he influenced you, also, or do you yet believe that baptism, coupled with your faith, places you in the one body of Christ? (Gal. 3:27)

Believe God. Obey God. And be eternally blessed.