Friday, January 01, 2010

Gen 3-4 for Jan 2

Avoidance of temptation is a very important tool in our arsenal. However, it is not always at hand. Avoidance of it was not at hand in the garden here in Gen 3, and it was not at hand there in the desert for the Lord (Lk 4:1-2). Therefore, in the know-your-enemy department, and especially in looking here at Gen 3-4, a more direct look at temptation is important.

One aspect of temptation comes to mind in looking at it here, that it is often indirect (cf. Gen 3:1).

How do you fight an indirect attack? One way is to directly face it. The "crafty" serpent used an indirect attack: "he said to the woman," so and so. That's not the only indirectness aspect of the attack, but it is one of the indirect aspects. The fighting off of this indirectness is a direct invitation of our text: "the serpent was more crafty than any beast...." So 3:1 is an explicit invitation to directly consider the craftiness of an indirect attack upon us.

The direct facing of an attack is not always a defensive posture alone. You defend while destroying the attack. When the Lord faced temptation He used what we might call the "manual" offensively. He used it "on offense," as we might say in football. This is seldom mentioned, because we tend to look at "the manual" as a condemning manual. Wouldn't it be strange to look at the playbook only after a busted play, and not spend time with it looking at how to demolish attackers?

Sure, the Law "was added because of transgressions" (Gal 3:19). And the devil's was the first! Also, think how we use the "Law of Gravity." We should not only look at "the manual" as telling us about our falls, but also as telling us how attacks by temptation "fall."

The outcome of this discussion so far is that in reading Genesis 3 we bring the serpent's discussion into a place of directly facing it. We know that the devil "sins from the beginning," (1 Jn 3:8, lit.) so we become aware of that as we sit down with Genesis 3:1-5. John 8:44 also helps: "he is a liar and the father of lies."

We consider this temptation story then as an attack by a liar and the father of lies. We should look at Genesis 3:4, the conclusion the serpent puts forward, as a lie. How do you destroy a lie? One way, a very early and always-available way, is to recognize that you don't have to believe it! You don't have to believe every assertion that comes along, every inference.

In this example, Eve was told something, "You surely will not die!" This was a lie. To believe that, she would have to say that what she already knew (3:3) was false. But to expose this temptation for what it is, we should look at 3:5 as an assertion in the light of 3:22. To what extent is 3:5 correct? Factually, it is correct. It is in its function as support of 3:4 that it is incorrect, and a lie. The inference is incorrect! Yes, in the day they ate from it, they became like God knowing good and evil (3:22). But they became mortal (3:19). Therefore "you surely will not die" was false.

Read the manual (RTM). Let's do some more of that together this year.

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