When we talked about the Creative King, one of the main points of emphasis is that God is the sovereign Creator who reigns over His creation. Nothing that exists exists outside of His rule, but if He is in charge and if He is good, then how do we explain the obvious fact that creation seems so chaotic?
While every tragedy we experience cannot be explained by an immediate moral failing, the brokenness we experience can ultimately be traced back to human rebellion. One of the major tenets of the Kingdom of God as revealed in Scripture is the fact that humanity disobeyed God’s commandments and opened the door for sin to taint creation.
This led to what Christian teaching calls the fallenness of creation and humanity.
In order to seek and understand the Kingdom of God, we need to understand how sin was able to creep in. Once we catch a glimpse of how Satan, the accuser, accomplished this, then we can better understand the workings of God’s created kingdom. Learning the devil’s methods also provides us with a knowledge of how to combat his attacks.
If you have ever paid attention to Jewish culture, one of the first things you likely noticed is the way Jews greet one another. The traditional Jewish greeting is shalom, and many people know that shalom means peace. Oftentimes, however, we think of peace only in terms of an absence of war.
Yet, the word entails more than just an absence of war. Shalom includes the sense of wholeness, well-being, and soundness. When the universe is at shalom, all is as it should be. When God created, He made a universe at shalom.
In Genesis 3, however, we read the story about humanity’s role in breaking God’s shalom. The Lord commanded Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit of a particular tree in the Garden of Eden. Yet, Satan, in the form of a serpent, succeeded in tempting the first pair disobey that command.
The verses that describe this event demonstrate how Satan managed to make a fruit that would lead to certain death seem appealing.
How Paradise is Lost
The first move Satan makes as he tempts Eve is to distort her view of God. His method for doing this is to manipulate God’s Word. If you compare Genesis 3:1 with Genesis 2:16, you’ll notice that Satan lies about what God had said. God issued a command for their good; Satan reengineered that command to make it appear as though God was keeping something from them.
While Eve quickly notes the difference between what Satan said and what God said, the seed had been planted. If we allow our view of God to become distorted–if we start to think that He desires anything for us besides our good–then we will quickly start to wonder whether God’s commands are good. We become vulnerable to temptation.
In Satan’s next move, he starts to distort Eve’s view of herself. He tells her that when she eats the fruit, she will be “like God.” Once Eve starts to believe God is keeping something from her, Satan starts to convince her that she is entitled to the forbidden fruit. One of the worst parts of this story is that Eve already was like God! She was made in His image.
Whenever we start to fall into that trap, we start to elevate ourselves above God. Any creation would be foolish to think that its creator owes it anything, and if you recognize that the Creator is a good Father who wishes to hold back no good thing from His creation, then you will realize that it is doubly foolish to go against Him!
Satan’s third move is to distort Eve’s view of the world. This can only be accomplished after the first two steps have been completed. Notice that as Satan manages to twist Eve’s view of the fruit. Two verses earlier, she rightly said that eating the fruit would bring death. Now, she starts to see the fruit as delightful. In a way, death itself becomes appetizing.
If our view of God and our view ourselves become distorted, then our view of the world will inevitably become distorted as well. Drug use is one of the most apt examples of this phenomenon, but it plays out in much less dramatic ways every single day. Rather than pray, we worry. Instead of spending time in the Word, we oversleep.
How many little compromises do you make every day?
While I have outlined Satan’s strategy, getting back to shalom is not as simple as creating a winning game plan. The truth about the Fall is that when it happened, all of humanity became hopelessly ensnared, hopelessly gullible to enemy schemes, and hopelessly rebellious against the Kingdom plan of God.
Though we had no hope, no strength in and of ourselves, the Creative King planned a way to set us free long before we would even fall. If you’ve never heard that Good News, then you will want to hear about His love.