The most striking thing about this passage is that we see ourselves. You can’t read through this story without feeling that you have lived it yourself, because, of course, we have. We have all heard the voice of the Tempter. We have all felt the attraction of sin.
So, why do we choose to sin when tempted? We know it produces shame, guilt and often devastating results. However, we are no match for Satan. Martin Luther said, “No man is able to outwit the Devil. He has defeated the greatest saints of God at times throughout all of history, except for the Son of God himself and on earth is not his equal.” Paul reminds us “that all have sinned” (Romans 3:23).
In just a few sentences we learn how Satan attacked Eve’s weaknesses and desires. Satan’s words, “Did God really say . . .” created doubt in Eve’s mind about God’s warning. How many times have we been tempted when we doubt God’s clear warning? Even worse, how many times have we sinned when we don’t even know God’s words?
Then, Satan tells her a lie with a distorted truth. “You will not certainly die, for God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God knowing good and evil.” Someone said, “It is always true, isn’t it, that every false faith is made up of a certain amount of truth? Ten percent error and ninety percent truth, mixed together, but ultimately it is the ten percent of error that leads men astray.”
Then, he exploits her desires: “the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom.” James 1:14-15 says that every man “is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” Notice this is all Satan has to say. He has planted the seed of doubt in her heart and caused her to believe a lie. Now she stands looking at the fruit. He has exploited her weaknesses and desires of greed, hunger, unbelief, pride, selfishness and wanting to be like God. The Devil doesn’t have to say any more. He is certain of the choice she will make. This is the same choice we all have made.
Thank goodness we have a Savior more powerful than Satan who can rescue us from our guilt and sin.