This week begins a new phase in our Men's Bible study. We now move away from discussing nature of God and the original intent for which he created Man. We now discuss the origin of man's fall from grace and the challenge of the adversary in our lives. The verse we base this week's study on Genesis 3: 1-24:
"Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
In the Bible, if God can be considered the protagonist or hero of the story, then Satan is unquestionably the antagonist or villain. While not directly identified in Genesis, the serpent who tempted Adam and Eve has historically been identified as Satan by church leaders and scholars. The New Testament refers to Satan as "the tempter" and "the father of lies" (Matthew 4:3 and John 8:44). The lie that Satan used to ultimately deceive and doom Adam and Eve was convincing Eve that, by eating the fruit of the forbidden tree, that Adam and Eve would become as gods in their own right. They thus would not need God.
As author Neil T. Anderson points out, Satan, in a distorted way, was accurate in his assertion that eating the forbidden fruit would cause Adam and Eve to be as gods: "To have knowledge of good and evil means to be the one who determines what is good and evil or what is true and untrue." By eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve effectively rejected God's authority and chose to believe that they now held his power and were now acting like gods. The result of this was spiritual death (a broken relationship with God) for Adam and Eve and all their descendants.
The point to be taken from this story is that Satan's primary goal is to convince humanity that they can live independently of God. However, as has been discussed before, living independently of God is in direct violation of his plan for us and results in spiritual death and all that accompanies this condition. What we must remember is that we as men cannot truly be men by attempting to live independent of God. By doing this we cut ourselves off from the source of our life and destroy the foundation upon which we are built.
Fortunately for us, God did not allow Satan to have a complete victory after his successful temptation of Adam and Eve. He instead laid the groundwork for man's eventual redemption through Jesus Christ. This is God's greatest gift to us. While one act can condemn us in life, one act can also redeem.
"But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many." Romans 5: 15
Questions we should consider over the course of the week:
-Why do you think Satan could successfully tempt Eve by telling her she could be like God? How does he continue to do this to people today?
-What are the immediate and long term consequences of Adam and Eve's rebellion? How does it affect us today?
- Considering what humanity lost during the fall from grace, what would Jesus have to do in order to restore it?
- Since the devil is still roaring around like a hungry lion, what can you do to prevent yourself from being deceived?
I hope everyone has a fantastic week. Stay strong, gents!