"You will not certainly die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:4-5).
For all the accusations that could be leveled against the devil in the case of the fall of man, lying is not one of them—at least not outright lying. Everything he told Eve about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was actually true! You don’t believe me? Let’s go to Scripture then.
Adam and Eve did not INSTANTLY die, even though God told them they would if they even touched the tree. He could have killed them, but in His mercy He did not. The devil knew He was a merciful God.
Genesis 3:7 tells us, ‘Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked. Once again, the devil had told the truth. What about them becoming like God? In Genesis 3:22, God himself says, ‘The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil.’ The fruit had bestowed on them an aspect of the divine nature just like the devil had predicted. Since he told the truth, why was it wrong to follow his advice? I’m so glad you asked!
Even though everything he said was true, he did not tell the whole truth. You see, even when the devil tells the truth, he’s lying. He can’t help himself! He’s the Father of lies (John 8:44). The whole truth is found in God’s instructions to Adam and Eve prior to that fateful conversation with the devil: ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die’ (Genesis 2:16-17, NIV).
With half of the truth, the devil made them forget about the other half, which said that they were free to eat of ANY tree, including the tree of life. Its fruit would cause them to live forever with God in their state of innocence. The two trees stood side by side in the middle of the garden (Genesis 2:9). They were both in Eve’s line of sight, yet listening to the devil’s version of the truth caused her to suffer from selective blindness. The devil’s strategy: Focus on the wrong tree so you forget about the right tree! All she could see was the enticing gleam of knowledge. Sadly, she forgot about the sure promise of life.
Eerily, our conversations with the devil are very similar to that first one in the garden, aren’t they? I remember how he almost convinced me to toy with sexual sin before I ever met and married Brian. He said it was fun. He said it was natural. But that wasn’t the whole truth. The whole truth was that it would be fun and natural for a bit until heartbreak hit and I was left all alone once again. The whole truth was that God had a better man in store for me and that within the confines of marriage we could have as much fun as we wanted while resting in our commitment to one another.
So what is the whole truth regarding your situation? Remember what God said before you choose the wrong half of the truth. With every temptation of the devil, there is a promise of life within your reach. Choose life.
- Mercy Alarid is the Creative Arts Pastor of Passion Church. Mercy has a Master's degree in Education. Mercy is a member of the faculty of Central New Mexico Community College, where she is an instructor in the Education department. Mercy has been married to Brian for 17 years and they reside in Albuquerque, New Mexico with their 3 children: Chloe, Colin, and Lauren.