Sep 27, 2009

Classic Evil

There is a reason why the adversary continues to use the same old tired, tattered, and torn tactics against a gullible and/or uninformed humanity. It is because they continue to work well. The simple truth is - we just never seem to "get it." So, generation after generation we "get it" in the neck.

His treachery is not hard to spot, really. It has been around since Adam and Eve. And it is very well exposed in the book of Genesis. When we read, with godly enlightenment, the account of the adversary's subversion of the first couple in chapter 3 (NKJ), we can easily see what we should be on guard against. Consider what the verses say there...

Genesis 3:1. Now the serpent was more cunning [subtle] than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, `You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?'' (Brackets added)

There are actually four of his favorite tactics revealed in this first verse alone. The first is Subtlety. The adversary's approach is never, never, never straight forward. Always there is a hidden agenda that he begins to pursue from an oblique direction. Have you ever met an alcoholic or a drug addict that started out to be one, to ruin his or her life through substance abuse. Probably not. Rather the dark voice simply promised them a "good time" or "relief from the pain" or some other angular enticement from which to begin to move slowly toward his real agenda - the destruction of another human life and soul.

The adversary knows that the gullible will always go for an easy lie over a hard truth. He knows that we are prone not to question personal benefit. So typically, that is the point where his subtlety originates. He usually offers the easy, the fun, the gratifying, the immediate, without ever showing the real or extended cost. He always shows the "bait." He never shows the "hook." That is the substance of subtlety; and it still works well on humanity, even today.

The second tactic revealed in this verse is the Characterization of God as "intrusive" to the human existence. The taunting tone in the verse is that of someone greatly offended. It’s more like, "Surely God didn't say that you could not eat of all of the trees in the Garden!" The idea is to make God appear restrictive rather than protective, which was the real circumstance. So God was made to seem evil instead of good because He imposed restriction. That tactic, to plant the idea that "God is somehow holding us back" has always been very effective and still works quite well on a clueless humanity today.

The third tactic revealed in this verse is Dialog. He simply got Eve to discuss something that was really self evident. The adversary has known from the beginning that "truth can be talked literally to death." So he merely gets us to discuss, for example, the godly instructions. It goes something like this. "Well, now let’s talk about this for a minute. Is homosexuality really wrong? Is morality really all that necessary to the well being of society. Couldn't we have a better society if we were not so inhibited by these archaic ideas. Let’s at least open a dialog on the subject. That is only reasonable." Thus, he robs a susceptible individual or society of moral direction and fortitude by simply talking away clarity. So good principles simply die the slow death of "stupid and superfluous dialog."

Finally, the fourth tactic of the adversary that is revealed in this verse is what we would call "Spin" today. It is to color the truth in a way that suites your cause while only "slightly" damaging the truth, itself. The characterization of God that we discussed earlier was a part of that spin, but it went further. The benevolent restriction that God gave the first couple was colored in such a way that it appeared to be a bad thing instead of a good thing. The adversary did not technically misquote the idea, he just used wording and an inflection that colored it to suit his subversive purposes. Hello spin.

Verses 2-3. And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; "but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, `You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die' ''

So the woman, now caught up in the superfluous dialog, continues the conversation. She starts to clarify the truth for the adversary, believing that she can correct his misconception with good information. How naive we sometimes are when it comes to spiritual treachery. She had no clue what the real "game" was here, as is the case with most of humanity when it comes to the adversary’s destructive plotting.

Verses 4 -5. And the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. "For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil'

The adversary knows that to achieve his hidden agenda he must remove the idea of consequence. In doing so he reveals his fifth classic tactic of subversion. It is to "Confront, established truth as ridiculous." So here, in a brazen confrontation of the truth, he completely reverses what Eve has been told. He says, in effect, without presenting any real basis for his statement, "It just isn't so. You will not die if you do as I say." I guess the idea is that - if you say it with enough confidence, they'll believe it. And so often we do indeed.

Also in these verses we see revealed the two remaining, classic tactics of the adversary. The sixth tactic of the adversary revolves around the implantation of two connected ideas. The first is that "You are your own best hope." In effect that is what he is saying to Eve here: "You will be like God." That is, "You don't have to depend on the Creator God, you can be your own god, the master of your own destiny."

Thus enters the second idea. "Knowledge is the key to that end." He says, "You will be like God, knowing good and evil." The truth that he does not tell Eve is that the knowledge that he is encouraging her to trust in is not an objective knowledge that is rooted in God’s all knowing wisdom. It is an entirely subjective knowledge. In other words, it will center completely around "what is good for her." And the knowledge that Adam gains from that same forbidden fruit will entirely revolve around "what is good for him." And on and on it will go throughout the ranks of humanity. Welcome to the source of all human conflict - a subjective knowledge of good and evil.

Finally, the last classic tactic that we notice is one that is much more familiar. It is simply Lying. The adversary is characterized in the Bible as a "liar" and the "father of lies." He tells Eve here that she can be like God. The indication is that she can be equal to God in knowledge. That is simply a complete fabrication. She does not have the mental capacity to retain what God knows. No human being does or ever will. We are, after all, finite and limited. God is not.

So, by direct statement the adversary lied to Eve. Sometimes he lies by omission. Sometime he lies by using partial truths. But lying is his classic behavior; and he is good at it. So much so, that literally countless souls have perished on the rocks of the siren call of his pleasant lies.

Verse 6-8 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

Finally, we note the outcome of the great treachery when it’s finished. "...And Adam and Eve hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God..." It is a lonely and guilty isolation from a loving God. Adam and Eve turned their back on God’s love and, instead, chose a deluded course of self determination. It was a foolish choice based in lies and subtle deception with no substantial promise at all. But sadly, humanity still does that. And even when Christ exposes the deception and offers a way back, still, in each succeeding generation, humanity succumbs to the subversion. Perhaps the best thing we can do for our children is read to them the "program" for life’s drama: "God ...The Good Guy. Satan ...The Bad Guy." Knowing that, everything else is easier to keep straight.