I know Eve’s story. So do you. She’s the reason we have mosquito bites and skin cancer and miscarriages and adultery. She ate the apple, and everything we’ve never known fell to pieces. Thanks a lot, Eve. We know you and your story.
But I read her story today and discovered something new. I love when that happens.
I noticed for the first time the tactic Satan used to deceive her. He said, “You won’t die! God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5, NLT).
Who doesn’t want to be like God? Isn’t that the sole purpose of humanity, the goal of our entire human existence, to become more like God? But Satan misled her with the wrong way to become like him. He convinced her that the way to do it was to become her own authority, to become her own god.
To become like God isn’t the same as trying to become God.
She decided—for herself—what she believed to be best—for herself. I think maybe her motivation started with really wanting to be more like God, to know what he knows, to identify the difference between good and evil. And Satan led her to believe that there was another way to do it. He presented to her a worthy goal, and then he showed her the wrong way to achieve it.
Eve didn’t set out to do the wrong thing. But the next verse says, “And the woman was convinced.”
Well played, crafty serpent. Well played.
To become like God is to reflect his characteristics and to submit to his authority. The thing about God is that he’ll never contradict himself; he’ll never ask us to become more like him by actually disobeying him. We often have a worthy goal, but we get after it the wrong way—with control, manipulation, selfishness, and a quiet, passive, well-meaning rebellion.
I’m reminded of when my children partner with me for some task at hand, and we all start on the same page. But then, quite inevitably, they become insistent that they know a better way, and even as they are disobeying me, their defense is, “But Mom! I’m only trying to help you!” And my standard go-to response is, “Guys, ‘helping’ means ‘following directions.’ If you’re not following directions, it’s not helping me.”
How often I have operated in my own best interests, certain I knew a better way, certain I was simply and truly helping God out with the great story he’s writing. Ah, but Tricia, “helping” means “following directions.”
Our sins don’t always appear ugly to us. They can seem good, pleasant, and even desirable—just as the knowledge of good and evil seemed harmless to Eve. How I hate the pleasant sins… they’re the hardest to avoid.
Eve didn’t understand the reason for the rule, and so she felt she was above it. She didn’t know the reason behind the command, so she acted in a way that made more sense to her. She forgot, as I often do, that all of God’s commands are for our own good. The rules still apply—even if you don’t know why.
Here’s the other thing I noticed about Eve during this visit to her famous chapter: she was impulsive. She looked, she took, and she ate. She didn’t talk to her husband, and she didn’t talk to God. I read that and I heard my own inner alarms going off. Because here’s a brutal truth I’ve learned the hard way: if I don’t want to talk to Peter about the decision before me, if I don’t want to pray about it, and if I want to act quickly before somebody can talk me out of it, then I’m usually on a direct path to regret and mistakes with a fierce ripple effect.
I know Eve and her story because she is me and my story. She is us and our stories.
- You may have a worthy goal. But going about it the wrong way makes it a completely wrong decision.
- God is for you. If he asks you not to do something, there’s a reason—even if you can’t see why. People who trust God will obey simply because he asks them to. The rules still apply, even if you don’t know why.
- Partner with people whom you trust. Talk to them before you jump off the cliff. If you’re trying to move fast before anyone can stop you, that might be the strongest indication that it’s time to slow down and ask for input.
Actually, thanks a lot.
I learned from you today.