“Did God really say, ‘You shall not eat from any of the trees in the garden’?… You certainly will not die! God knows well that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, who know good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1, 4-5). If you are familiar with the story of Adam and Eve, you will probably recognise these lines as the words used by the serpent to tempt them. Very often in that story, the focus is on their fall and original sin. We will usually hear it being preached that Adam and Eve sinned because of pride. They decided for themselves what was right and wrong and then decided to disobey God. Today, we shall focus on another aspect – how the serpent/devil tempted
Adam and Eve.

If we read Genesis 3:1, 4-5 carefully, we will see how the serpent’s temptation had two aspects. One aspect was leading Eve to see the “good” in the fruit. It was only after the serpent had spoken to Eve
that she “saw that the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eyes, and the tree was desirable for gaining wisdom” (Genesis 3:6) and started wanting it. The other aspect was to make Eve view God as the enemy and attempt to create a rift between God and man – “You certainly will not die! God knows well that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, who know good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5).

The devil continues to use these two aspects to tempt us even today. “Why?” you may ask, because all of us make decisions based on the perceived good we see in something. To lead us away from God, the devil will try to make us see the “good” in something that disobeys God. For example, when we lie, the good we are pursuing, which the devil will lead us to see, might be escaping punishment as compared to potentially being punished or ashamed if we speak the truth. Or when we give in to sins of lust, the good the devil leads us to desire is to pursue the pleasure that comes from sexual gratification, etc. (you get the idea).

The devil will also try to make us view God as the enemy by making us question the goodness of God. Thoughts like “How can God allow this to happen if He cares for me?” or “Is God even real if evil exists?” are examples of how the devil tries to make us doubt the goodness of God. By doing so, it becomes easier for the devil to make us go after the “good” in the things that displease God.
Besides tempting us to sin against God, the devil tempts us to “lose faith” in God as well. When thoughts like “Can God really be trusted when you are in such a difficult situation?” enter our minds,
it can sometimes cause us to be easily anxious, wanting instead to take everything into our own hands and abandon God, like the disciples did when they were afraid.

Bearing this in mind, perhaps when such thoughts and temptations cross our minds, we must hold firm to the belief that “God is good, all the time” and “All the time, God is good” so that we are not
misled by the lies of the devil. After all, we say it often during Praise & Worship, retreats etc. It is only when our faith is built upon the strong foundation that God is good, that we will be able to live
trusting in the plans of God and the good He has in store for us. And as Padre Pio puts it quite nicely, “Pray, hope, and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.”


Written by Jordan Hong