The Weakness of the Human Will: Part IV – “The Plot Thickens”

Man always follows their greatest perceived desires. All creatures are slaves to what they desire. Since man always follows whatever is the greatest perceived desire is, the whole of the temptation in the garden now makes sense. Satan tempts man with a new desire – one they probably had not considered (i.e. the woman was deceived) – that desire is to be like God. The implication is that man, being weak in their ability to choose, understood the portion of the temptation of the Serpent’s offer – that is, likeness with God means unlimited strength to accomplish your desires. The second part of the offer displays what the power would be used for – discerning between what is good and what is evil, understanding what is beneficial to you and what is murderous to you.

Here we have the content of the offer: 1) Likeness with God, 2) Knowing Good & Evil. The problem with having the Knowledge of Good and Evil is that only God is able to appropriately assess all things and discern all situations, motives and so on. To have the knowledge of good and evil is to be like God. To know what to appropriately do with the knowledge of good and evil is to be God. This is Satan’s half truth and I believe is what he deceived Eve through.

In almost child-like fashion, Eve responds to the Serpent: “But God said ‘You shall not…’.” This is in the same fashion that a child responds to a person who would lead the child away: “My father said not to go there because it is dangerous and i might get hurt.” The child does not understand all the dangers that lay in that path, only that she trust the words of her father and knows that he sees all the dangers, that he discerns what is Good and what is Evil in that situation. The Serpent understood this, and again, told yet another deceit. “You won’t die. God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good from evil.” Half lie: You won’t die; half truth: God knows that when you eat of it…eyes opened…be like God.

Not only did Eve not see all the dangers, nor did Adam raise his voice, but the Serpent played off an ignorance that Eve had: To be like God is a good thing. This is where our second observation comes into play: humans are pleasure seeking creatures who will choose what appears best to them. What we will now see is that the Serpent knew exactly what he was doing: He was tempting them. Now, a little note about temptation – I believe that temptation will always present itself as the most immediate pleasure. Understand what I am not saying though. Immediate pleasures are not always temptations (rarely). But I am saying that temptations, when they come, will always pose themselves as the most immediately beneficial thing. This is an important distinction to carry in your mind.

The temptation contained the 3 primary ways that man is satisfied, all wrapped up into one nice little piece of fruit. 1) Physical : “the woman saw that it was good for food”, 2) Emotional: “a delight to the eyes”, 3) Mental: “to be desired to make one wise”. The Serpent was roaring inside and eyes flaring as he saw this unfolding before his eyes. He knew exactly what was happening to God’s most precious creation. He presented something to them that contained all of the things necessary to satisfy a human. The Serpent’s temptation was ‘flawless’.

Now, what happens when man sees this opportunity, it is necessary that they would choose it. They have a choice, but what is presented to them is an offer of such great desire that it overwhelms all other inclinations. I believe that if man would have resisted that temptation, then they would have been able to resist all temptations. But man’s resources being limited and their power being finite, they could not resist to the utmost. The reason the would of necessity have chosen it is because what stood before them was the panacea to their situation of power – they could not see what errors stood in the path of the Serpent’s offer. The Serpent’s offer was thus, “God sees what is good and what is evil and discerns between it. He has told you not to eat this and you believe him because you see that he discerns what is good and what is evil for you. I offer you that same power. Right now you cannot see what is good and evil in this situation, but if you eat of this fruit you will see. You will no longer need to trust God childishly, but you can see for yourselves.”

Man was caught. Here stood before him something so simple, yet so full of terrible wonder, and he failed. Deceived through their desires and understandings, man’s will would not resist. A slave to their desires, which before served to benefit them at all times. But now, through a deceived mind, good-man crumbled under temptation, failed to obey the Lord’s command, and brought upon themselves the Woe of all Woes. We turn next to that Woe.


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