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Series Introduction| Knowing God | The Revelatory God | Goodness of God | Holiness of God
Goodness of God handout pdf | Video
Life Questions | Genesis 1 & Goodness | Other Scripture & Goodness | Two Worldviews of Self | Difficulties Believing | Satan's Tactics | Handling Evil | Power of Goodness | Psalms 31:9 | Distinctive of God's Goodness | Good, Evil and God | Study Questions & Projects
Satan’s Tactics Confuse the Goodness of God
Purpose: In Genesis 3:1-6 we discover Satan's clever means of tempting Adam and Eve to doubt God's goodness and believe in another supposed better good.
This continues the second main section of The Goodness of God.
God is good
Difficulties of believing
Knowing God's goodness
"Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?"
The woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'" The serpent said to the woman, "You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate."
Our questions should not wonder how God permitted evil but identify evil with its true source. Many Christians will not be able to do this because up to 60% of believers state that, though they believe in a personal God, they do not believe in Satan. They put themselves in a quandary. Where does evil come from? Or is God powerful enough to eliminate evil?
Clearly, the Lord from the earliest books of Genesis and Job, gets the message across that evil comes from the evil one. Human beings have become accomplices to his evil work. The Genesis 1 scene shows how Satan tricked Eve by having her question God’s goodness by suggesting that God has withheld something good from her.
The false assumption of good is that God should allot everything best to us all at one time. Even parents know that to give their children too much at once will not be the greatest good, but could even hurt them.
Study of Satan’s Temptation
Let’s study the progression of Satan’s persuasive talk with Eve where sin first entered the world. He first stains the picture of God’s goodness and then subtly replaces good with evil. Each of the three steps takes us further away from believing that God is good.
From Genesis 1 God wanted us to get a clear message. God is good. Notice that this is what the evil one would first get Eve to question. If God is really good, then why wouldn’t He give us the best? Satan’s implication that He had not given man everything He should of shows that He didn’t give the best. (This is a lousy argument.)
“You shall not eat from any tree of the garden?” (Gen 3:1)
Good is not good enough.
The evil one does not start by his blunt end goal of denying God’s goodness, but by a carefully placed sentence turning the focus of Eve onto something other than the goodness of what God has provided. Isn’t the whole world of advertising built on this subtle message that something out there is better, and we can’t function without it? In other words, good is not good enough.
Eve truly received a lot of things from the Lord’s hand–all the trees. Contentment comes from focusing on what God has given. Discontentment, however, leads to questioning God’s inherent goodness. It makes us ask, “If God was truly good, then He would ...., wouldn’t He?” This is the first entry of doubt. We should counter such suggestions with, “God is good, and I will be content with what He has given me.”
This refocusing on what God has not given us, I believe, is not yet sin. Satan leads us further on to snare us. The first point is the distraction, whether it be food, liquor, sex, etc., that God does not want for us. We can’t, in most cases, block our eyes from these things.
“Your eyes will be opened” (Gen 3:1)
Good is eating that fruit (which God said not to).
Sin begins when we actually doubt what He gave us is good. This subtle type of questioning really challenges our thoughts of God, “You are not good because you have not given me the best.” This is why the evil one tempted Eve with the phrase, “Your eyes will be opened” (Genesis 3:1).
In other words, Satan hints that God has withheld the best. He doesn’t come right out and state that God is not good. Perhaps there was too much evidence against that because of the grand creation surrounding her.
He had to have her focus on something that was withheld from her and then have her believe that which was hidden was a better good. This is where the transformation begins to take place, that is, where good becomes evil and evil becomes good.
At this point, she is being enticed to believe God has not given her the best. When she succumbs to this false belief, then she sins. This is an important point because as much as we might deny our part in sin and the strength of the temptation, it is still us who put our faith in things other than God’s person and promise.
Once we believe, then we take action. This is what we find in the third step which Eve herself took.
“When the woman saw that the tree was good for food...” (Genesis 3:6)
‘Good’ is something else than what God defines as good and provides.
The complete transformation takes place here. We see that Eve took action. The action affirms that she has come to believe God held back the best from her and took hold of that which God forbid.
The good that God had provided, had become, in her eyes, not good. And the not good, that which God had forbidden, had become the new ‘good.’ She became convinced of this, took of the fruit and ate it.
So what was good, has now become evil. If God has withheld the best, then it is no longer the good but inferior. Something else has become the supposed good, that is, the evil has become good. That which was forbidden has become the new ‘good.’
At the heart of false worship is the belief that God offers inferior products in an unfair world. The one pretending to offer something better is the idol. People are willing to put their trusts in these idols because they seem to promise what they believe is the best good.
Religions, philosophies and distortions of Christianity become nearly permanent means by which God’s goodness is locked out from our minds by our doubt and our belief in a greater good. (e.g. If God is not good, then why should I trust Him.)
Therefore we have no real way to believe in God’s goodness unless a breakthrough happens. This most often happens when we see the emptiness of the idol in which we trust and therefore look to other better alternatives.
Time for reflection
Do you question God’s goodness expressed towards you? Confess your doubt about how you doubted His good treatment of your person or role in society, then affirm His goodness in the very area you questioned.