Daily Words of God: Knowing God | Excerpt 138
Jehovah God’s Command to Man
Gen 2:15–17 And Jehovah God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.
The Serpent’s Seduction of the Woman
Gen 3:1–5 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which Jehovah God had made. And he said to the woman, Yes, has God said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die. And the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die: For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as God, knowing good and evil.
These two passages are excerpts from the book of Genesis in the Bible. Are you all familiar with these two passages? They relate events that happened at the beginning, when mankind was first created; these events were real. First let us look at what kind of command Jehovah God gave to Adam and Eve; the content of this command is very important for our topic today. “And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.” What is the import of God’s command to man in this passage? Firstly, God tells man what he can eat, namely, the fruits of many kinds of trees. There is no danger and no poison; all can be eaten and eaten freely as man wishes, free from worry and doubt. This is one part of God’s command. The other part is a warning. In this warning, God tells man he must not eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. What will happen if he eats from this tree? God told man: If you eat from it you will surely die. Are these words not straightforward? If God told you this but you did not understand why, would you treat His words as a rule or an order to be obeyed? Such words should be obeyed, should they not? But whether or not man is able to obey,are unequivocal. God told man very clearly what he may eat and what he may not eat, and what will happen if he eats what he may not eat. In these brief words that God spoke, can you see anything of God’s disposition? Are these words of God true? Is there any deception? Is there any falsity? Is there any intimidation? (No.) God honestly, truthfully and sincerely told man what he may eat and what he may not eat. God spoke clearly and plainly. Is there any hidden meaning in these words? Are these words not straightforward? Is there any need for conjecture? There is no need for guesswork. Their meaning is obvious at a glance. Upon reading them, one feels entirely clear about their meaning. That is, what God wants to say and what He wants to express comes from His heart. The things God expresses are clean, straightforward and clear. There are no covert motives, nor any hidden meanings. He speaks to man directly, telling him what he may eat and what he may not eat. That is to say, through these words of God, man can see that God’s heart is transparent and true. There is no trace of falsehood here; it is not a case of telling you that you may not eat what is edible, or telling you “Do it and see what happens” with things that you cannot eat. This is not what God means. Whatever God thinks in His heart, that is what He says. If I say God is holy because He shows and reveals Himself within these words in this way, you may feel that I have made a mountain out of a molehill or that I have stretched a point a little too far. If so, do not worry; we are not yet finished.
Let us now talk about “The Serpent’s Seduction of the Woman.” Who is the serpent? Satan. It plays the role of the foil in God’s six-thousand-year management plan, and it is a role that we have to mention when we fellowship about the holiness of God. Why do I say this? If you do not know the evil and corruption of Satan, if you do not know of Satan’s nature, then you have no way to acknowledge holiness, and nor can you know what holiness really is. In confusion, people believe that what Satan does is right, because they live within this kind of corrupt disposition. With no foil, with no point of comparison, you cannot know what holiness is. That is why Satan must be mentioned here. Such mention is no empty talk. Through Satan’s words and deeds, we will see how Satan acts, how Satan corrupts mankind, and what is the nature and countenance of Satan. So what did the woman say to the serpent? The woman recounted to the serpent what Jehovah God had said to her. When she said these words, was she certain that what God had said to her was true? She could not be sure, could she? As someone who was newly created, she had no ability to discern good from evil, and nor did she have any cognition about anything around her. Judging by the words she spoke to the serpent, she was not sure in her heart that God’s words were right; such was her attitude. So when the serpent saw that the woman had an attitude of uncertainty toward God’s words, it said: “You shall not surely die: For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as God, knowing good and evil.” Is there anything problematic within these words? When you read this sentence, do you gain a sense of the serpent’s intentions? What are those intentions? It wanted to tempt this woman, to stop her from heeding God’s words. But it did not say these things directly. Thus, we can say that it is very cunning. It expresses its meaning in a sly and evasive way in order to reach its intended objective, which it keeps concealed within its mind, hidden from man—such is the serpent’s cunning. This has always been Satan’s way of speaking and acting. It says “not surely,” without confirming one way or the other. But upon hearing this, this ignorant woman’s heart was moved. The serpent was pleased, because its words had had the desired effect—such was the serpent’s cunning intention. Furthermore, by promising an outcome that seems desirable to humans, it seduced her, saying, “In the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened.” So she ponders: “To have my eyes opened is a good thing!” And then it said something even more enticing, words never before known to man, words that wield a great power of temptation over those who hear them: “You shall be as God, knowing good and evil.” Are these words not powerfully seductive to man? It is like someone saying to you: “Your face is shaped wonderfully, except that the bridge of your nose is a little short. If you have that corrected, then you will be a world-class beauty!” Would these words move the heart of someone who had never previously harbored any desire to have cosmetic surgery? Are these words not seductive? Is this seduction not tempting to you? And is this not a temptation? (Yes.) Does God say things like this? Was there any hint of this in the words of God that we just now perused? Does God say what He thinks in His heart? Can man see God’s heart through His words? (Yes.) But when the serpent spoke those words to the woman, were you able to see its heart? No. And because of man’s ignorance, man was easily seduced by the serpent’s words and easily duped. So were you able to see Satan’s intentions? Were you able to see the purpose behind what Satan said? Were you able to see Satan’s plots and ruses? (No.) What kind of disposition is represented by Satan’s way of speaking? What kind of essence have you seen in Satan through these words? Is it not insidious? Perhaps on the surface it smiles at you, or perhaps it reveals no expression whatsoever. But in its heart it is calculating how to obtain its objective, and it is this objective that you are unable to see. All the promises it makes to you, all the advantages it describes, are the guise of its seduction. You see these things as good, so you feel that what it says is more useful, more substantial than what God says. When this happens, does man not then become a submissive prisoner? Is this strategy that Satan has used not diabolical? You allow yourself to sink into degeneracy. Without Satan having to move a finger, but merely by speaking these two sentences, you become happy to follow along with Satan, to comply with Satan. Thus, Satan’s objective has been attained. Is this intention not sinister? Is this not Satan’s most primal countenance? From Satan’s words, man can see its sinister motives, see its hideous countenance and see its essence. Is that not so? In comparing these sentences, without analysis you may perhaps feel as though Jehovah God’s words are dull, commonplace and banal, that they do not justify waxing lyrical here in praise of God’s honesty. However, when we take Satan’s words and Satan’s hideous countenance as a foil, do these words of God not carry significant weight for the people of today? (Yes.) Through this comparison, man can sense God’s pure flawlessness. Every word Satan says, as well as Satan’s motives, intentions and the way it speaks—they are all adulterated. What is the main feature of Satan’s way of speaking? Satan uses equivocation to seduce you, without letting you see through its duplicity, nor does it allow you to discern its objective; Satan lets you take the bait, but you also have to praise and sing its merits. Is this ploy not Satan’s habitual method of choice? (Yes.)
—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique IV