The beguilement of the snake
Back in Eden, at the beginning of creation, the snake told Eve, ‘You’re not going to die if you eat the apple. God’s telling a porkie. Eat it, and the only thing that’s going to happen is you’ll become like Him!’
So Eve ate it, and lived. Then she gave it to Adam. And he lived too … But what neither of them realized was that by that one act – that they thought so harmless – they’d irrevocably destroyed their original relationship with God, and put themselves and all humanity from that moment on under subjection to death. So though physically they continued, something definitely died… and there was nothing they could ever do by themselves to put it right. Instead they got kicked out of the garden, and from then on we all of us became slaves to sin and had to work.
Saying ‘sorry’ just didn’t hack it. Everything changed, and it wasn’t good – and it stayed that way till Jesus, God’s own Son, came and paid the price and put it right.
But the really interesting thing in all of this is that we’re seeing that same old enticement/outright lie being rolled out again today. And, unbelievably, once again people are swallowing it hook, line and sinker. ‘You don’t want to believe what God says in the Bible,’ the serpent whispers. ‘Nothing bad is going to happen if you forget all those boring rules about sex, and being male and female, and worshipping the Creator. After all, he made a pretty lousy job, because there are always problems – but you’ve got the knowledge, so you can put it right!’
Like turkeys lining up for Christmas, we believe all this claptrap. We tell ourselves we’ve advanced intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually, and that we can take control and make a better world. We reassure each other that we’ve outgrown the fairy stories and that God, if he ever existed at all, is dead!
And so inexorably we slide ever deeper into disorder and confusion.
It is well said that there is nothing new under the sun. Christ came to set us free and restore us to the life enjoyed by Adam and Eve before they listened to the snake. It’s an offer that today we can choose to accept or reject, but you’d think, after all that’s happened, we might have learnt something. Apparently not, however, because people still prefer the lie that we can make a better world by ourselves: that we can flout the so-called rules and recreate creation. We can remake God in our own image.
It is not a good choice, because inevitably the result will once again be the same. Not a better life, without problems – but chaos and death.
Nonetheless, the offer made by Christ still stands. We can accept the lie of the devil that we can rule the world; and die. Or we can choose to follow God and obey His commands, and live – and in the process, we really can make the world a better place.
It is as simple as that.