[forthright] Genesis is Full of Lies

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Apr 2009 07:08:53 -0700 (PDT)
Forthright Magazine 
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Straight to the Cross

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COLUMN: FIDELITY

Genesis is Full of Lies
 by Mike Benson

Before you respond with a letter of loving reprimand,
permit me to substantiate my claim. No, this is not an
attack on the inerrancy of Scripture, nor is it yet
another feeble attempt at recasting the literal
language of Genesis into figurative. But there is a
sense in which the first book of the Bible is full of
lies.

The Old Testament records a significant incident in
Eden's garden. The devil, in the form of a serpent,
approached mother Eve and inquired, "Has God indeed
said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?'"
His goal was not to learn what the Almighty had
actually said, but to prepare the woman's heart for
deception.

Eve replied that both she and her husband enjoyed the
God-given liberty to eat from any tree within the
garden (Genesis 2:16; Genesis 3:1-3), save one—the tree
of the knowledge of good and evil. She noted that
eating and touching fruit from this particular tree
would incur the judgment of God and result in the
couple's death.

"Not so!" said the devil. "You will not surely die. For
God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will
be opened, and you will be like God" (Genesis 3:4).

In essence, the specter of death was simply an
intimidation tactic employed by God to dissuade Adam
and Eve from becoming like deity themselves. According
to the "old serpent" (Revelation 12:9; Revelation
20:2), Jehovah dangled punishment over the first couple
to keep their ambition in check. Death was God's lie;
it was an empty threat fostered upon man and woman in
order to rob them of divinity and omniscience.

One commentator observes:

   "Having led Eve first to question God’s
   authority and goodness and then both to
   augment and dilute His Word, Satan now as
   ready for the 'kill.' 'Ye shall not surely
   die.' The fact that God has warned Adam, and
   Adam had told Even, that eating the fruit of
   the tree would result in death, was beside
   the point. That warning, Satan suggested,
   was merely because of God's fear that they
   would learn too much. Not content merely
   with altering God’s Word, Satan now
   blatantly denied it, calling God a liar."/1

I find it striking that Genesis opens with the devil's
deception. "He was a murderer from the beginning, and
does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth
in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own
resources, for he is a liar and the father of it" (John
8:44). He accused God of the very thing he was guilty
of himself (2 Corinthians 11:3)!

But I find it equally striking how that the book of
beginnings records how humanity often emulated the
devil in dishonesty. Cain lied about knowing what had
happened to Abel. Abraham lied about the identity of
Sarah—twice!

Sarah lied about laughing at the promise of God. Isaac
lied about the identity of Rebekah. Jacob and Rebekah
lied to Isaac about a son's true identity. Simeon and
Levi lied to Shechem and his father, about the alleged
demise of their brother, Joseph (Have you noticed a
sort of family history—grandfather, father, son, etc.,
of dysfunction and deceit?).

Potiphar's wife lied about an incident with a slave in
her home. Joseph lied when he accused his family of
spying out the land of Egypt. Yes, Genesis, in a sense,
is full of lies and serves to remind us that man is
perhaps most like the devil when he says that which
does not correspond to truth (2 Peter 2:1; Revelation
2:2).

According to James Patterson and Peter Kim in their
landmark work, The Day America Told The Truth, ninety-
one percent of us lie regularly. The majority find it
hard to get through a week without lying. In fact, one
in five can't make it through a single day without
telling a conscious, premeditated lie. People continue
to pattern themselves after the devil's example, don't
they?

Jesus hates lies. "Thus you also have those who hold
the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate"
(Revelation 2:15; cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12).

May I suggest that we ought to be more like Jesus (John
14:6)?

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