Promises, you will not die. Promises, your eyes shall be opened. Promises, you shall be as gods. Promises, knowing good and evil. Sounds lovely, until the unintended consequences click in.
Promises are something we all make. To ourselves and others. The Serpent used and uses this technique devastatingly. It promises rewards that end up bittersweet. They are sweet at first, but leave a bad taste in your mouth. They entice you until you accept and then can have disastrous after-effects.
(Agony of Humankind, chapter 1.7)
The Serpent made four promises to Eve. All of them sounded divine and contained elements of truth. They offered her advantages she didn’t possess but undoubtedly craved. However, those supposed benefits, very rapidly, turned into nightmares.
Human beings, you and I, are subject to arousal, excitation, and cravings. Our senses and emotions are on the outlook for sensations, even strong emotions. Within limits and under the proper circumstances, there is real positive pleasure. However, taken to their extremity, the backlash of these same sensations can be devastating. The Serpent always tries to take you over the brink.
4 And the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die (1st promise): 5 For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened (2nd), and you shall be as gods (3rd), knowing good and evil (4th).
We’re going to dissect the lying reasons the Serpent gives to add weight to its eat-from-the-tree-of-death proposal. We need to separate God’s truth from the Serpent’s lies. 2 Tim 2:15-17 Study to shew yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as does a canker: Let’s separate the truth from the lies.
The Serpent says: Not surely die (1st promise)
The first half-truth the Serpent used to entice Eve. Neither she nor Adam had witnessed any death, yet it is a powerful deterrent. Some would say the ultimate dissuasion. Under normal circumstances, humans are apprehensive, if not scared of death.
True: Adam and Eve ate, and they didn’t die immediately. They continued to live over 900 years. By our standards, that’s a long, long time. We could say they trumped death and had an extra-long life seeing many generations of children, grandchildren, and great-great-great-grandchildren. Surely a blessing for any family. This promise became a reality for a while.
False: God told Adam and Eve to multiply and have dominion of the Earth. Hence, they couldn’t have died immediately. Both these endeavors take time, which God gave them. Surely die in Gen. 3:4 in Biblical Hebrew is die die. The surety of death is absolute. The double whammy of death does NOT refer to the death ALL humans encounter at the end of their lives, here and now, on Earth. The Bible states that death is experienced by ALL humans (Hebrews 9:27). From a biblical point of view, we could call this the FIRST death. Here’s why.
Genesis 3:4 pronounces the death penalty on those that insist on CONTINUING to eat from the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It is the sentence for the impenitent who refuse, after every help is extended to them, to see it God’s way. This death is the SECOND death referred to in the book of Revelation (see Further Study below). The Word of God doesn’t give all the details in Genesis. That’s why we have to study, to divide His Word rightly.
The two Trees of Life and Death represent the whole story of HOW God will save ALL of humankind. God wants ALL to come to salvation (1 Timothy 2:4). It is ONLY AFTER ALL opportunities are exhausted to aid humans in the realization of the folly of eating from the Tree of good and evil that the 2nd death will occur. The sentence, death, death is ONLY for those who continue in that lost cause; the second death from which there is no return.
The Genesis passage of the two trees reveals the two ULTIMATE destinations of humankind. Eternal life or eternal death. Each human has and will have the free choice to decide and to adopt the proper nature (God’s or human) to follow the pathway to one of these two destinations. The analogy of the two Trees wraps up the entire Gospel message.
God tells the truth; the Serpent twisted it into a lie. God’s promise will be the reality for all eternity.
Science promises life through transhumanism and artificial intelligence. Religion is promising life though going to heaven and reincarnation. Essentially, they’re saying death is simply a step to another life, somewhere else. Observation of after-death experiences recounts the same idea, a tunnel leading to the light. Philosophy is telling us this is the only life we have, there’s nothing afterward. What does proper theology, another way of reasoning, tell us?
Beware of promises; divide the truth from the lies.
The Serpent says: Your eyes shall be opened (2nd pledge)
True: Now, the Serpent tells them their eyes will (after they eat) be opened.; This is true, but the results are bitter, as we’ll see. The Serpent makes what I call a jackpot promise. The advantages of eating of the forbidden tree are more excellent than not eating, go ahead and do it. They did.
Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened; they saw they were naked. And they saw how sewing together fig leaves could solve their problem. But, fig leaves wither, get brittle and crumble rather quickly, just like some promises and some solutions. Like drinking too much alcohol or taking drugs to get high and forget, the wake-up has that next-morning bite.
False: The Serpent’s affirmation was false because Adam and Eve’s eyes were ALREADY open. The Serpent wanted them to believe their eyes were shut. Just like spreading rumors that tell us, “you don’t know what’s behind the governmental crisis or the movie scandal.” Rumormongers want to open your eyes to what they consider the truth. In so doing, they can poison your mind with so-called false facts. They want you to think they know more than the authorities, And now because they’re going to share information with you, you can be one-up on the authorities too.
We’ve all fallen into this trap. I did when It was revealed to me that a person I was working with had leadership problems, and I was going to be one of his victims. I allowed false rumors to be fed to me by those who were trying to open my eyes to the behavior I didn’t see.
Only God and those following His ways are the ones who open eyes. God told His Apostle Paul, that He would send him to open the eyes (of the Gentiles), and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins…. (Acts 26:18) God had opened Adam and Eve’s to that light, the spiritual counterpart of the light He created the first day.
The Serpent DOES open eyes. That’s true, but the bittersweet result is that although it would have you believe you know and possess an added advantage, the falsity is that it has done precisely the opposite. It has turned you from light to dark. Or worse yet from darkness into pitch-black night. The Serpent promises to open eyes, in reality, is closes eyes.
It’s easy to read Adam and Eve’s situation in the Garden of Eden and think they should’ve made the right decision. After all, they knew God was their Creator. He spent time with them on the seventh day and instructed them, opening their eyes, concerning the two Trees, but the Serpent had convincing arguments and body language. They couldn’t resist a talking animal.
Today such a problem is more complicated. Man and woman don’t know that God is their Creator. In most cases, all they hear are the Serpent’s sides (yes, plural, it presents even opposing options as we’ll wee) of the story. The Serpent’s goal is for you to take any of the bittersweet options; it doesn’t matter which one it is, so long as it’s wrong. There are multiple options in science, philosophy, religion, and self-observation, it’s a dark forest to navigate. Today the choices and answers for us aren’t as evident as in Genesis 3.
We’re going to see that their eyes were opened to the Serpent’s point of view, but they were shut tighter than a drum to God’s point of view. The Serpent’s jaded truth, in essence, lies, is an enticement that ends up in disaster.
Beware of promises; divide the truth from the lies.
The Serpent says: You shall be as gods (3rd guarantee)
True: There’s truth in this statement because God made humans, Adam and Eve, in His image, in His likeness. The Serpent promised further enhancement of this image. It said, “you’ll be EVEN MORE like gods, you’ll be better than what you are now.” God gave them world governance (subdue and have dominion) as well as the proper marital relationship between man and woman. These were God-given functions that are those of Elohim for Adam and Eve on a human level,
False: The Serpent upped it a notch. It made the offer sound fabulous. This verse has a difficult-to-render translation: “For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods. The word gods is the identical Hebrew God, at the beginning of the verse. The Serpent promises them to become as God with a capital G. It was offering Adam and Eve a rapid, unmerited promotion into a top-ranking position. It was one-upping God, and in this, the promise is false. Remember that’s what Lucifer’s downfall was because of its over-sized ego, it wanted God’s (capital G!) throne. In its first contact with humankind, it pawns off its desires on Adam and Eve, whom it intends to make its protégées, its representatives on Earth.
It’s offering fame, fortune, and power. These three rewards are powerful inciters to join the Serpent’s club. That’s a forceful reason for joining private clubs, secret societies, ruling clans, religious sects. They all entice and promise secrets, knowledge, and advantages that will raise you above the ordinary mortals.
Beware of promises; divide the truth from the lies.
The Serpent says: You shall know good and evil (4th vow)
It’s doubtful there’s much truth in this statement. One of the singularities of humankind is their ability to learn. As a species, we want to know why? How? What? When it comes to a way of life, we want to establish the rules, customs, traditions, and dare I say it, laws to abide by. This offer, to know good and evil, has to do directly with ethics. There are two Trees. The Tree of Life represents God’s ethics that lead to Life. The Tree of the knowledge of good and evil represents humankind’s rules, customs, traditions, and laws that lead inevitably to death; this is a tough lesson to learn. Humankind is still in the process and isn’t there yet. But, if there’s one thing that’s enticing, it is having TOTAL mastery over one’s destiny.
False: The Serpent played on this characteristic of the human need to learn. It told Adam and Eve, “Decide for yourself whatever you want to do. You will no longer be subject to any higher power.” The Serpent plays on the desire to be one’s own boss, totally independent with decisional power to trace any path you want for your future. I’m not talking about your professional life here; this is about how one leads their life with regard to God and neighbor. It reflects one’s inner character. Once again, this is what Lucifer did exactly, liberating itself from its Creator to set up its own rules (deciding what is good and evil) as to how it would run its and its cohort’s lives.
Beware of promises; divide the truth from the lies.
The Serpent makes four promises to Adam and Eve. How to be a better person. It sounds like a self-help book for an improved tomorrow. At the same time, it adds you can be as good as your Creator who, by the way, has withheld some critical information. Information, which I, in my love for you, am revealing so you can really make progress. What a sales pitch.
These promises appeared to the woman to be convincing arguments. She took a second look at the tree and reasoned from the perspective of the Serpent’s point of view. Its opinions and urgings sounded believable, persuasive and compelling. The tree looked as majestic as any of the other trees, the fruit looked both appetizing and nourishing and she even went so far as to conclude that it would give her wisdom. Maybe some extra esoteric comprehension that would open her eyes to understand all those mysteries and unanswered questions she had floating around in her mind,
The Serpent told her, “Woman, you’re going to have the wisdom of God, so eat up.” We know, she ate and gave to Adam who also ate. We’ll see what entails.
This blog post is an excerpt from chapter 1.7 of the book Agony of Humankind.
Go to UnlockBibleMeaning.com and read the whole context around 2 Tim 2:15-17. I used rightly dividing in the feature image above because, concerning truth, many err. It is up to each one of us to study and look into God’s Word. The truth is there, and, with God’s help, we can dig it out. He won’t do it in your place, you’ve got to roll up your sleeves and rightly divide His Word.
It is the ultimate sentence pronounced and the very end of God’s Plan for humankind. It is ONLY for the recalcitrant who have chosen, of their own free will, to follow their way, which is opposed to God’s way. In other words, they continue to eat of the Tree of THEIR OWN knowledge of good and evil. God has helped them in every way possible to understand their wrong-doing, to no avail. They’ve definitively made their own decision to refuse God and continue in THEIR ways. The justice for such behavior is the 2nd death, as the scriptures below indicate. God’s family cannot include rebellious members.
Revelation 2:11, He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches; He that overcomes shall not be hurt of the second death.”
Revelation 20:6, Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”
Revelation 20:14, And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Revelation 21:8, But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
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