In Genesis 2, God specifically commands: "You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die" (Genesis 2:16-17).
This command is quite intriguing. In the garden before the fall and the entrance of sin in the world, God is referencing a tree that has knowledge of evil (evil existed before the fall?) and proclaimed a punishment of death for disobedience to His command. The reader is introduced to a cunning serpent in the first verse of Genesis 3, and it does not take long to learn that this serpent has deceiving intentions.
The cunning serpent asks Eve, "Did God really say, 'You can't eat from any tree in the garden?'" The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat from the trees in the garden. But about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God said, 'You must not eat it or touch it, or you will die.'" "No! You will not die," the serpent said to the woman. "In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:1-5).
Eve's Three Mistakes:
Minimizes God's provision - God stated they may "eat of every tree of the garden" yet she only focuses on the request to not eat of one.
Adds to God's command by claiming he prohibits them from touching the tree.
Weakens the penalty of the disobedience. Rather than surely dying, Eve considers it less emphatic than God originally commands.
When God originally allowed for man to eat from every single tree except for one, He intended this to be a blessing that would allow for so many trees to be good for food. The serpent found a way to twist God's Words and put the focus of Eve on the one tree that was off limits. Kenneth M. Craig, Jr. states, "By misrepresenting the original permission and overstating the conditions of the prohibition, the serpent seeks to plant the idea in the woman's mind that the prohibition is unfair." The serpent knew exactly how to trick his victim, and used a misunderstanding of God's Word to play to his advantage. Nahum Sarna comments, "The serpent's cunning reveals itself in the way it frames the question, in its knowledge of the divine proscription, in its claim to be able to probe God's mind and intent, and in the selection of its victim
Deemed Good by Eve
"Then the woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loinclothes for themselves." (Genesis 3:6-7)
The serpent did a great job of focusing Eve on the positives that might come from eating of the fruit. Kenneth Mathews comments, "The serpent spoke only about what she would gain and avoided mentioning what she would lose in the process."
Unfortunately in this conversation, Eve became so focused on desiring the fruit, that she not only avoided thinking about what may be lost in the process, but she eventually deemed herself the authority of what is considered good. Wayne Grudem writes, "Eve trusted her own evaluation of what was right and what would be good for her, rather than allowing God's words to define right and wrong."
Have you ever made a decision thinking about what you might gain, without considering the cost?
How Jesus Combats Satan's Temptations:
Temptation of Provision - "Then the tempter approached Him and said, 'If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.'" (Matthew 4:3)
Jesus's Response - "But He answered, 'It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" (Matthew 4:4 & Deuteronomy 8:3)
Temptation of Protection - "Then the Devil took Him to the holy city, had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, 'If You are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: He will give His angels orders concerning you, and they will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'" (Matthew 4:5-6 & Psalm 91:11-12)
Jesus's Response - "Jesus told him, 'It is also written: Do not test the Lord your God.'" (Matthew 4:7 & Deuteronomy 6:16)
Temptation of Power - "Again, the Devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. And he said to Him, 'I will give You all these things if You will fall down and worship me.'" (Matthew 4:8-9)
Jesus's Response - "Then Jesus told him, 'Go away, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God and serve only Him.'" (Matthew 4:10 & Deuteronomy 6:13)