Elon, North Carolina
Today, we want to look at the gospel according to Satan. Most people don’t know it, but Satan has a gospel. He has a message that he tries to get across to people. Many people believe this message. This message is pervasive in society. It is a message about God and a message about people. What is the message? It is found in Genesis 3.
One thing that no one can deny is the reality of evil today. All of us know that there is evil in the world, horrible evil, unspeakable evil. It is undeniable. We see it every day. All you have to do is to watch the news for five minutes and you will see evil in the world.
Despite this fact, there will always be some who try to deny evil in our world. They do not seem to understand evil or even seem to believe in it. To some it sounds medieval. It is not the way that respectable and civilized people behave.
Liberals have a reputation for being soft on crime. Liberal judges often give criminals a light sentence or no sentence sometimes, even for horrific crimes. When there is a mass shooting, guns or mental illness are always to blame.
Some people have mental illnesses. They have a disease, but other people are just evil. Genesis 3 tells us where evil came from. Genesis 3 is also one of the saddest chapters in the Bible. It is one of the most tragic chapters in the Bible.
It gives us the origin of evil. You cannot understand why our world is so messed up today unless you understand Genesis 3. This is why we have serial killers and rapists. That is why we have genocide today and diseases like cancer.
All of the bad things that we see in our world today go back to the Fall of Man. They all go back to Adam and Eve and their decision to listen to the voice of the serpent to disobey God in the garden.
You will not understand why Jesus came and died unless you understand Genesis 3. If there was no literal fall of man, there would be no need for Jesus to come in the first place.
A Perfect World
Adam and Eve lived a simple lifestyle in the garden. They lived in a world without modern technology. They did not live in a house. They did not drive a car.
They use a cell phone. They did not wear any clothes. They did not eat any meat, just plants and vegetables and fruit. They must have been skinny. They did not eat any fast food.
It sounds like a hippy paradise. They had everything they wanted. They had every need met. There was no crime. There was no sin. There was no sickness or disease. There was no death. There were no drugs. Perhaps it was not a hippy paradise.
The world was perfect. Adam and Eve got along with each other. They were madly in love. They were newlyweds. They got along well with all of the other living things on the planet, all of the animals. They lived in fellowship with God.
They talked to Him every day and they were not bored. God gave them something to do. Adam was put in the garden to work it and take care of it (Genesis 2:15) but there was one rule.
A Special Command
We think of a paradise as a place where you can do anything you want at any time but even in a real paradise there are rules. Adam and Eve were given one rule. God gave them just one commandment.
God didn’t give Adam and Eve ten commandments to follow. He didn’t give them six hundred commandments, like He gave the Jews. He gave them one, just one prohibition and it was about food. There was one thing that they were not allowed to eat. It involved just one tree in the garden.
An Unexpected Visitor
Out of nowhere, a strange visitor shows up in the garden. It was the serpent. Why was he? Where did he come from? Why was he there?
The only thing the text says is that he was “more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made” (Genesis 3:1 ESV). He is not called an angel or a fallen angel but one of the animals of the garden, a literal animal.
It is different from the animal that we call a serpent today. We think of a serpent today as a snake crawling on the ground. We picture some type of ugly, slimy, repulsive reptile. That is not what Adam and Eve saw.
This was not one of the creeping things, crawling on the ground. It was one of the wild animals, which was different. And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds; the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground and the wild animals, each according to its kind” (Genesis 1:24 NIV). This animal had legs.
A Problem for Skeptics
This chapter creates a huge problem for skeptics. They mock this chapter. They laugh at it. It has a walking snake and it has a talking snake. We know that animals don’t talk. They cannot talk. Parrots can say some words, but they do not know what the words mean. They are just mimicking sounds.
Snakes can’t talk. They don’t even have vocal cords. The only noise they can make is hissing and that is because air is quickly released or taken in through the snake’s mouth.
Animals do not talk today. Animals only talk in fables and fairy tales. Does this mean that the Bible is a fairy tale? No.
One of the rules of interpreting Scripture is to compare Scripture with Scripture. You cannot just read Genesis 3. You have to read the rest of the Bible. Scripture interprets Scripture.
Let’s compare the first book of the Bible with the last book of the Bible. In the last book of the Bible, we find out that this ancient serpent was identified with the Devil and Satan.
The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. (Revelation 12:9 NIV)
He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:2 NIV).
The critics are wrong. Genesis 3 does not have a talking serpent. Animals don’t talk. Satan possessed this animal and spoke through it. Satan was the one doing the talking and he was doing it through a serpent.
Animals in the Bible do not normally talk, like in fairy tales, but there are two exceptions. There is one time in Scripture when an animal talked because God made it talk (Balaam’s donkey) and there is another time when an animal talked because Satan made it talk (the serpent).
That raises a huge problem. If God created a perfect world and put Adam and Eve in a paradise, what is Satan doing there? Wasn’t paradise supposed to be a safe place? What is evil doing in paradise? We try to protect our kids from evil influences. Why didn’t God keep Adam and Eve safe from this serpent?
They were protected. The serpent did not have the power to hurt them, only to tempt them. He did not even put the fruit in their hand. He just told them to eat it. God gave Adam and Eve the ultimate test. He used the serpent to help administer it.
God created angels perfect, and they were given a choice. He created humans and give them a choice. They were created with free will. God gave them a choice. They chose to disobey God.
Why did they disobey? They believed lies. The same reason many disobey today. Satan still tell lies today. There are many lies that people believe about God.
You will hear some of these lies in church. You will hear them from some preachers. You will hear some of them from the pulpit. These lies are satanic. They are demonic. Paul talked about “doctrines of demons” (I Timothy 4:1).
Satan is a master of deception. He knows how to deceive people. He knows how to trick people. He was the one who invented lying. He was the first liar in history.
The first lie in history was found on the lips of Satan. Jesus called Satan “a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). He was the first liar. People who lie today act just like Satan.
The Worst Type of Lie
Satan’s most dangerous lies were half-truths. A full lie is much easier to detect. It does not have any truth in it at all, but a half-truth is more effective. It may have ten percent truth and ninety percent lie.
Most of the lies he told to Adam and Eve were actually half-truths. Alfred Lord Tennison called half-truths “the blackest of all lies”. Some of the things Satan said to Adam and Eve were true.
Satan said, “if you eat from the fruit of this tree, you NOT going to die” (Genesis 3:4) and they didn’t die. They did not suddenly drop dead. In fact, they went on to live for another thousand years. Adam lived to be 930 years (Genesis 5:5).
Satan said that when they ate the fruit, their eyes would be OPENED (Genesis 3:5). When they ate it, their eyes were opened (Genesis 3:7), but that was a bad thing, not a good thing. Their eyes were opened to their nakedness, their guilt, their shame, and their helplessness.
Satan told Adam and Eve if they sinned that they would become LIKE God (Genesis 3:5). Did they become like God? Yes. The Bible says they became like God (Genesis 3:22). They did not become God, but they became like Him in some way.
Satan’s Four Great Lies
Today, we are going to look at the four lies that he told Adam and Eve. Satan says the same thing to people today. He repeats these lies. The preacher Adrian Rogers called these “Four Lies That Ruined the World.”
These are not Satan’s only lies. He has many more than these four. Three of these are about God and one lie is about us. Each lie involves a different strategy of Satan. When you put these lies together, you get the gospel according to Satan.
1. The Lie about the Word of God
Satan’s first lie started with the three words, “Hath God said? The oldest lie was about the Word of God. It was about the Bible. It is the oldest lie in the book. Satan took what God said and lied about it. He still does that today. It is one of his most powerful lies. The first tactic that Satan used was DISTORTION.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must NOT eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1 NIV)
Did God say this? No. He said the exact opposite. “And the Lord God commanded the man, You ARE free to eat from ANY TREE in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:16-17 NIV)
Satan changed what God said to say something completely different. He said God said that they were not free to eat from any tree in the garden. He still does that today. People distort Scripture today.
His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people DISTORT, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction (II Peter 3:16 NIV)
How Scripture is Distorted Today
How is Scripture distorted today? There are many ways this is done.
Some distort the Bible by MISTRANSLATION. If they do not like what the text says or it goes against their theology, they just rewrite it and make it say something different. Let me give two examples.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe in the Deity of Christ. The Bible teaches that Jesus is God, and it teaches it most clearly in Gospel of John. It says so explicitly in the first verse of the book.
How do the Jehovah’s Witnesses deal with this? They rewrite the Bible. Instead of saying, “and the Word was God,” it says, “and the Word was a god” in their Bible (NWT).
The LGTQ community does not like what the Bible says about homosexuality, so it changes some of the verses as well.
“If a man also lie with mankind in the temple of Molech, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them” (Leviticus 20:13 Queen James Bible).
The sin in the Gay Bible is not homosexuality but pagan worship. It is committing this in the Temple of Molech. The only problem is that the Bible does not have the words “in the temple of Molech” in it.
Some distort the Bible by MISINTERPRETATION. They do not mistranslate it. They just misinterpret it. How many times have we been reminded that Jesus said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Matthew 7:1 NIV)? Since we are not supposed to judge anyone, it must be wrong to criticize anyone for anything or condemn any behavior. This is the most abused text in the Bible.
2. The Lie about the Truthfulness of God
Satan’s second lie was about the truthfulness of God. The first lie involved misquoting God, twisting what He said. This lie involved contradicting what He said. This tactic of the Satan was DENIAL. He claimed God said things that were not true. They were completely false.
God said, “you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will CERTAINLY die” (Genesis 2:17 NIV).
Satan said, “You will NOT CERTAINLY die,” the serpent said to the woman” (Genesis 3:4 NIV).
We were not given the command about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We do not live in the garden. We do not have access to that tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but we do have a Bible. We do have the Word of God and Satan uses this tactic quite often in our own day. What God says about a number of issues is vigorously attacked in our own day.
What God says about creation is is denied. It is unscientific. Evolution is accepted.
What God says about miracles is denied. Anything miraculous or supernatural is rejected (the miracles of the Bible, Virgin Birth, the resurrection)
What God says about marriage is denied. God says that marriage is to be only between a man and a woman. Society accepts gay marriage.
What God says about gender is denied. God says that there are only two genders. God created people male and female. Society accepts trans and binary people.
What God says about sex is denied. God says that sex is reserved for marriage. Society accepts premarital sex and extra-marital sex.
What God says about hell is denied. The Bible warns about hell. It warns about people being cast into the lake of fire. Satan told Adam and Eve “You are not going to die.” He tells people today, “Don’t worry about hell. There is no hell. A loving God would never send anyone there. He would never punish anyone.”
What is the truth? God is truth. His word is truth (John 17:17). Everything he says is truth. In fact, He cannot lie. It is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18).
3. The Lie about the Goodness of God
Satan’s third lie was about the goodness of God. This lie did not say that God was not real. It said that God is not good. Adam and Eve knew that God existed. That talked to Him every day. This lie said that God was not good. This tactic of Satan involved DEFAMATION. It involved SLANDER.
Satan is still slandering God today. Skeptics of the Bible describe the God of the Bible as an immoral being who commits cosmic child abuse (sacrifices his own son) and exterminates entire nations. They describe God as unloving and bloodthirsty.
Whenever we hear anything like this, we know exactly where it comes from. It comes directly form Satan. Notice what the serpent said to Eve.
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5 NIV)
What is the basic lie? God withholding something back from you that is good for you. He wants to keep you bring being happy. He does not really love you. If he loved you, he would let you have access to this tree in the garden and give you what you want.
Does he use this tactic today? Yes. The argument used is the existence of evil. If there is terrible evil, and suffering in the world, God must not be good, because if he was good, He would stop it. A loving God would not allow people to be raped and murdered and tortured
That is a weak argument. It does not prove that God is unloving. All that it proves is that God created people with a free will. What is the truth? God is good.
The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. (Psalm 145:9 NIV)
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever (1 Chronicles 16:34 NIV)
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. (Psalm 34:8 NIV)
God was good to Adam and Eve. He knew that Adam and Eve would be happier if they were sinless than if they became sinners. That is when they became unhappy. He kept them from that tree because He did not want them to die and that was what would happen if they ate from the tree.
4. The Lie about Personal Fulfillment
Satan’s fourth lie was about personal fulfillment. This is the lie of DEIFICATION. It is the lie of self-worship. This is the biggest lie in America today.
What is Satan’s Gospel?
It teaches that God is not good. He is not true. What He says is not to be believed or trusted.
It teaches that we do not need God. We do not have to obey God. We are better off not obeying him.
It teaches that we can be your own God. You are in control of your own destiny.
It teaches that we can made up our own rules. We can decide for ourselves what is right and what is wrong. All we need to do is to find what makes us happy.
Everything Satan says is a lie. He is the father of lies. God is good. God is true. He is a God who cannot lie. If we choose to disobey Him, we are the ones who suffer. True happiness and fulfilment is found in God our Creator, not apart from God.
3 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14 NIV)
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:37-38 NIV)