An endangered species
‘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.’ Genesis 3:4–5
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Psalm 119:105–120
In Satan’s reply we may note:
(i) From starting a doubt concerning the threatening, he proceeds to a bold denial. This, Eve could hardly have borne at first—but by listening to the first, she was prepared for the second. And now we may pronounce her fallen. She had sinned in her heart, though she had not actually eaten the fruit, for the law is spiritual and reaches to the thoughts (as Matthew 5:28).
(ii) He instils hard thoughts of God, as though he withheld something which he knew would increase their happiness. God doth know and therefore he forbid. This, said of the old serpent, abounds in our fallen nature. Why are sinful pleasures pursued, but upon a secret surmise that we shall be more happy by following our own will than the will of our Creator?
(iii) He opens his temptation to suit that spirit of pride and curiosity with which he had already infected her. And flattered her with:
(a) an advance in state: not only impunity but advantage. You shall be as gods. Thus Self sits in the throne of God and the creature is drawn off from subjection to a desire of independence.
(b) an increase of knowledge: what this was to be she could only learn by making the experiment. Then she found a knowledge of guilt and shame was all she gained. Ever since, vain man would be wise, but acquires nothing but vanity and vexation of spirit.
Alas! by nature how depraved,
The holy Spirit must reveal
How prone to every ill!
The Saviour’s work and worth;
Our lives, to Satan, how enslaved,
Then the hard heart begins to feel
How obstinate our will!
A new and heavenly birth.
SERMON SERIES: GENESIS, NO. 7 [3/4], GENESIS 3:2–5