Entry Level Theological Truth [29]

“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.” Genesis 3:6

 

Temptation appeals to fundamental human impulses, including the senses. First, Eve “saw,” then she reasoned in keeping with her own intellect; finally, she took and ate involving the tactile and taste senses. People fall prey to the same traps today, following their personal thoughts and impulses to their own spiritual cost. A post mortem on this tragic episode in human history provides modern people with help in recognizing and overcoming temptation.

 


Looks Can Kill



 

AppleGod is the author of true taste and beauty. He created man’s aesthetic sense, and filled the original creation with many lovely things. Even this present, fallen world still has many vestiges of its original divinely-engendered beauty. The problem is not that Eve appreciated something tasty and attractive, but rather that she sought these blessings apart from obedient love towards the Blesser. As the Lord Jesus later summed up the demonstration of true creaturely and filial affection: “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15.)

One commentator describes Eve’s view of the prohibited tree in this way: “Already she looks upon the tree with quite other eyes than before. The more she looks upon it, the more charming to her does its fruit seem to be, both in itself and on account of the advantage to be obtained from it. Now, finally, this external charm of sense decides her to the commission of the deed.”1 Her wayward eyes led to the sin. Sight displaced faith in favor of human reasoning that ignored God’s stated command.

The internal strivings of the first woman’s mind exhibit the first demonstration of loving the world, instead of the Lord. 1 John 2:16 spells out the characteristics of such an affection: “For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” Kidner explains: “The pattern of sin runs right through the act, for Eve listened to a creature instead of the Creator, followed her impressions against her instructions, and made self-fulfilment her goal. This prospect of material, aesthetic and mental enrichment (6a) seemed to add up to life itself; the world still offers it (1 John 2:16). But man’s lifeline is spiritual, namely God’s word and the response of faith (Deut. 8:3; Hab. 2:4); to break it is death.”2

 


A Gilded Road To Perdition



 

Gilded Road to PerditionIt is a sad reality that a perverted exaltation of the good things of life – flavor, color, melody, and other appealing qualities – can drag someone to hell. Many people are so taken with art, music, and literature that they have no time or interest in a relationship with their Creator. How many gourmands flock to the latest “foody” hotspot, but never even consider going to a place where the gospel is faithfully preached. This is really a subtle form of idolatry, which substitutes sensations, pleasures, and things for adoration of the One True God. This is why the Bible equates covetousness with idolatry (Col. 3:5.) As a contemporary author writes: “Covetousness is a form of idolatry because it is both the exaltation of the object desired as well as of yourself, while Christ is eclipsed by both.”3

 


Overcoming Tasty Temptation



 

God alone can give victory over temptation. His absolute triumph is evidenced by the Son’s conflict with Satan in the desert, where he tested Him three times in a vain attempt to entice this sinless One with the same plan of attack. When the adversary appealed to Christ’s physical appetites, He responded with utter confidence in the Holy Scriptures, keeping His desires in full conformity to His Father’s will (Matt. 4:4.)

Next, the devil bade him to orchestrate a dramatically supernatural spectacle at the Temple by throwing Himself from the roof’s pinnacle in order to force divine protection via the agency of protecting angels. How that would incite pride in ordinary men! Yet the Lord Jesus refused by citing the Scriptures as to His proper role in seeking His Father’s will (as opposed to self-promoting exhibitionism – Matt. 4:7.)

Lastly, from the impressive vantage point of a high mountain the evil one offered Christ a crossless crown. Even seeing the glory of the world’s kingdoms did not turn the Lord’s head. As He said later: “…the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me” (Jn. 14:30.) Only by faith in Christ (1 Jn. 5:4-5) and by the power of the Holy Spirit that He has given to believers (Rom. 8:1-5) can we overcome temptation.

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1A. Dillmann, Genesis Critically and Exegetically Expounded, Vol. 1, trans. Wm. B. Stevenson. (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1897), p. 152.

2Derek Kidner, Genesis: An Introduction and Commentary, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, Vol. 1. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1967), p. 73.

3Joe Thorn, Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself (Re:Lit) Good News Publishers/Crossway Books, 2011, pp. 111-112. Kindle Edition.

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