1. Overview
  2. The Law
  3. The First Lie: The Ongoing Deception

The First Lie: The Ongoing Deception

First Biblical Command

Genesis 2:16-17
And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, [17] 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."

The First Lie Mixed with Truth

Genesis 3:1-5
Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You can't eat from any tree in the garden'?" [2] The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit from the trees in the garden. [3] 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.'" [4] "No! You will certainly not die," the serpent said to the woman. [5] "In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

Knowing Good and Evil made Us Naked Before God

Genesis 3:6-7
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. [7] Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and *made coverings for themselves.

*The first act of self-righteousness

Genesis 3:8-13
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. [9] So the LORD God called out to the man and said to him, "Where are you?" [10] And he said, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid." [11] Then he asked, "Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?" [12] The man replied, "The woman you gave to be with me-she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate." [13] So the LORD God asked the woman, "What have you done?" And the woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

God Covers Their Nakedness

Genesis 3:21
The LORD God made clothing from skins for the man and his wife, and he clothed them.

What Keeps Us from Living Forever

Genesis 3:22
The LORD God said, "Since the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil, he must not reach out, take from the tree of life, eat, and live forever."

Self-Righteousness from the Law

Luke 18:9-14
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and looked down on everyone else: [10] "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. [11] The Pharisee was standing and praying like this about himself: 'God, I thank you that I'm not like other people-greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. [12] I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.' [13] "But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to heaven but kept striking his chest and saying, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner!' [14] I tell you, this one went down to his house justified rather than the other, because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."

Philippians 3:6-9
regarding the righteousness that is in the law, blameless. [7] But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. [8] More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them as dung, so that I may gain Christ [9] and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ -the righteousness from God based on faith.

Satan's Pride & Self-Exaltation

Isaiah 14:12-14
Shining morning star, how you have fallen from the heavens! You destroyer of nations, you have been cut down to the ground. [13] You said to yourself, "I will ascend to the heavens; I will set up my throne above the stars of God. I will sit on the mount of the gods' assembly, in the remotest parts of the North. [14] I will ascend above the highest clouds; *I will make myself like the Most High."

*How is one made like God again? Knowing good and evil.

Ezekiel 28:12-17
You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. [13] You were in Eden, the garden of God. Every kind of precious stone covered you: carnelian, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and emerald. Your mountings and settings were crafted in gold; they were prepared on the day you were created. [14] You were an anointed guardian cherub, for I had appointed you. You were on the holy mountain of God; you walked among the fiery stones. [15] From the day you were created you were blameless in your ways until wickedness was found in you. [16] Through the abundance of your trade, you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I expelled you in disgrace from the mountain of God, and banished you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. [17] Your heart became proud because of your beauty; For the sake of your splendor you corrupted your wisdom. 

1 Timothy 3:6
he might become conceited and incur the same condemnation as the devil.

Do You Serve the Lie?

2 Thessalonians 2:3-12
Don't let anyone deceive you in any way. For that day will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. [4] He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he sits in God's temple, proclaiming that he himself is God. [5] Don't you remember that when I was still with you I used to tell you about this? [6] And you know what currently restrains him, so that he will be revealed in his time. [7] For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, but the one now restraining will do so until he is out of the way, [8] and then the lawless one will be revealed. The Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of his mouth and will bring him to nothing at the appearance of his coming. [9] The coming of the lawless one is based on Satan's working, with every kind of miracle, both signs and wonders serving the lie, [10] and with every wicked deception among those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth and so be saved. [11] For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe the lie, [12] so that all will be condemned-those who did not believe the truth but delighted in unrighteousness.

You are Decieved Like Eve

2 Corinthians 11:3-4,7,10,11-15
But I fear that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your minds may be seduced from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. [4] For if a person comes and preaches another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or you receive a different spirit, which you had not received, or a different gospel, which you had not accepted, you put up with it splendidly! [7] Or did I commit a sin by humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge? [10] As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be stopped...  [12] But I will continue to do what I am doing, in order to deny an opportunity to those who want to be regarded as our equals in what they boast about. [13] For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. [14] And no wonder! For Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. [15] So it is no great surprise if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will be according to their works.

The Works Satan's Servants are Judged By

Galatians 3:10-12
For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, because it is written, Everyone who does not do everything written in the book of the law is cursed. [11] Now it is clear that no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous will live by faith. [12] But the law is not based on faith; instead, the one who does these things will live by them.

What is Biblical Unrighteousness?

Hebrews 3:18-19 CSB
And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, if not to those who disobeyed? [19] So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

Will Knowledge Come to an End?

1 Corinthians 13:8
Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end.

How We Know God

1 Corinthians 1:20-25
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn't God made the world's wisdom foolish? [21] For since, in God's wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of what is preached. [22] For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, [23] but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. [24] Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, [25] because God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength.

1 John 4:7-9
Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. [8] The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. [9] God's love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him.

John 14:6-7
Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. [7] If you know me, you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him."

Want to read more about the Great Sin of Unbelief? Click here...

Questions that Challenge Your Current Understanding

  1. How does the pursuit of the knowledge of good and evil, as depicted in the Eden narrative, serve as a manifestation of pride, and what are the implications of this pursuit for our understanding of humility and dependence on God?

  2. In what ways does the desire to independently discern good and evil, without divine guidance, reflect a deeper issue of pride and the refusal to submit to a higher moral authority?

  3. Considering the fall of Satan due to pride, as described in Isaiah and Ezekiel, how can we draw parallels between his desire for exaltation and the human aspiration to possess god-like knowledge?

  4. How does the biblical account of the first sin, rooted in the desire for the knowledge of good and evil, challenge our contemporary views on wisdom, autonomy, and the limits of human understanding?

  5. When reflecting on Satan's pride and self-exaltation in Isaiah and Ezekiel, how do you guard against letting pride distort your spiritual understanding or relationship with God?

  6. The Bible speaks of the dangers of self-righteousness—how do you balance the pursuit of personal holiness with the humility showcased by the tax collector in Luke 18?