WHAT IS HUMAN?

DECEIVED

Up to this point our meditations on ‘What is human?’ have described the original two humans as God created them: perfect, and in perfect relationship with God, with each other, with themselves, and with their environment. We have also, at times, briefly anticipated the disintegration of that perfection. Now we begin to dissect and define this disintegration.

In the beginning God gave only three commands. Two were worded positively, defining human responsibility and activity:

Be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth.
Rule over the earth (and its creatures) and subdue it [Genesis 1:28].

Both of these were expressed as the blessing of God.

The third was prohibitive, restrictive, forbidding one specific action:

Do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil [Genesis 2:17].

To this prohibitive command an outcome was attached: ‘… for when you eat of it you will surely die’.

In this prohibition

God defines humans as responsible, accountable, answerable to him, the Sovereign Lord.
God describes the inevitable effect if humans choose to reject him and his word.
God says ‘no’ to all sin and all suffering.

In Genesis 3 the deceiver entered the scene. He distorted the meaning and intention of this prohibitive word of God and denied the stated outcome.

He questioned and exaggerated the word of God [verse 1].
He cleverly manipulated Eve into a position off protecting and defending God as if God stood in need of her aid [verse 2], and in her attempt to do so she added to and also exaggerated the word of God [verse 3].
He deliberately lied [verse 4], contradicting the word of God.
He insinuated that God was selfishly and deliberately withholding something desirable from Adam and Eve [verse 5].
He indicated that loss of innocence was a good thing [verse 5].
He enticed Eve with an impossibility – for humans to be as God [verse 5].
He indicated that to know good and evil was a desirable thing [verse 5].

And Eve was deceived [Genesis 3:6,13; 2Corinthians 11:3; 1Timothy 2:14]. Together with Adam, who willingly accepted the forbidden fruit from her hand:

They chose disobedience rather than obedience.
They chose rebellion against God’s word rather than submission to God’s word.
They chose independence rather than dependence on God.
They chose to doubt God rather than trust God.
They chose to trust their own understanding rather than trusting God's wisdom.
They chose the devil’s lie over God’s truth.
They chose a twisted concept of God rather than the true God.
And in doing all of this, they chose the death God had outlawed rather than the life God had given.

From this point on humans have been deceived, perpetuating and repeating this original choice, and expressing these same attitudes and characteristics.

The deceiver continues his destructive work. Of him the Lord Jesus Christ said:

‘He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies’ [John 8:44; see also 2Corinthians 11:13,14 where Paul speaks of Satan’s on-going deception].

Humans continue their preference for his lies over God’s truth. Romans 1 refers to the way we:

Suppress the truth by our wickedness [verse 18].
Are futile in our thinking [verse 21; compare Ephesians 4:17].
Are darkened in our foolish hearts [verse 21; compare Ephesians 4:18].
Have become fools, even though we think we are wise [verse 22].
Exchange the immortal God for man-made images [verse 23]
Exchange the truth of God for a lie [verse 25].
Do not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God [verse 28; compare Ephesians 4:18].
Continue to do and approve things we know are wrong [verse 32; compare Ephesians 4:19].

Into this situation of deception Jesus, the living Word of God, comes and calls us away from the devil’s lies and back to his liberating truth: ‘If you hold to my teaching you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. … if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed’ [John 8: 31,32,36] … ‘I am the truth’ [John 14:6].

The bottom line question is: what are we each going to choose? The devil’s lies? or God’s truth?

© Rosemary Bardsley 2013, 2016