Deception vs. Innocence

Innocence hasn't got a clue.

Genesis 3:1-2 (ESV)

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

A boy captures a frog and as he’s holding the frog in his hands it begins to speak.

“I’m an enchanted princess and if you kiss me, I’ll turn into a beautiful girl who will love you with all her heart.”

“Cool,” the boy says – and puts the frog in his pocket.

A little while later, the boy takes the frog out of his pocket and she exclaims, “Why didn’t you kiss me? It’ll be awesome!”

“Not as awesome as a talking frog.”

We tend to read today’s passage without noticing how absurd it is that the serpent speaks. This isn’t portrayed as natural part of its craftiness. Something strange is going on here.

Even though this is before the fall of man, something is already fallen. That something is controlling the serpent. The rest of scripture makes it clear who that something is – the devil himself (see, for example, Rev 12:1-9 & 20:1-2).

It’s curious that the talking serpent doesn’t scare Eve off. That would send most folks running. What he says is scary too – but this is still the age of innocence and Eve has no concept of evil.

But she’s about to learn it.


Let’s keep working on cleaning up the wreckage that Adam and Eve left in us. We’ve worked on identifying our “signature sin.” We’ve recruited help narrowing it down. We’ve gone introspective to see how feelings are the essence of these sins. We’ve recognized that accountability is essential to progress. And, of course, we’ve sourced everything with prayer.

Now let’s work on the one sin that’s at the root no matter what your signature is – pride. In the chapter in Mere Christianity titled “The Great Sin,” CS Lewis called pride “spiritual cancer.”

Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.”

So, if you major in envy, or lust, or gluttony, or whatever, you still minor in pride. When you ask God to deliver you from your signature sin, know that He is going to have to attack the root to kill the plant. Your pride will regenerate the other sins if you let it.

Thus, we need to spend some time focusing on pride. Ask God to help you make the connection between your signature sin and your pride.

Of course, if you picked pride as your signature sin, congratulations. That’s very perceptive.


The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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