Introduction - The New, Same as the Old

         “That which hath been is that which shall be; and that which hath been done is that which shall be done:
                                                and there is no new thing under the sun.”
  (Ecc. 1:9) ASV

While in context, this verse has to do with the course of nature and the condition of man, it is also most certainly true of the nature and workings of Satan.  Starting in Genesis, the historical account of God creating man, we find Satan actively at work seeking to deceive and destroy man and ultimately destroy the work and kingdom of God.  A quick look at Genesis chapters two and three will give one light and understanding on how the devil craftily seeks to turn men away from the truth, which ultimately turns them away from God.

In Genesis 2, God creates Adam.  He puts him in the garden He had made in the east part of Eden.  God placed Adam in a literal paradise. It was a place where grew “every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food;” the “tree of life” and the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” were in the midst of the garden; there was a river that went through the garden and watered it; it was a place where God walked in the cool of the day and a place that was free from sin and the effects of sin.  It was a place of life, one created and established by God.  Adam was given the responsibility of working and keeping the garden.  God gave Adam a command and said:

          And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden,
      but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you 

      eat of it you shall surely die.”  (Gen. 2:16-17)

Following, we find God creating Adam a helpmate from his own body.  God takes one of Adam’s ribs and fashions it into a person which Adam calls Woman, and later Eve.  Genesis chapter two ends with the statement that:

       And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.  (Gen. 2:25)

So you have Adam and Eve, created by God, placed into a paradise, both naked and not ashamed.  There was no stain of sin, no shame in their nakedness, no disobedience to God, nothing defiled or unfaithful about them.  They were living in the paradise of God and keeping the commandment of God.

Now on to chapter three and continuing it says:

       Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And He said 

       unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? (Gen. 3:1)

And the woman said unto 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 midst of the garden, God hath said, 

       Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.  (Gen. 3:1-3) KJV

Genesis 3 details how Satan came and brought spiritual ruin to man and a curse to God’s creation.  Notice how Satan initiates the conversation with a question. 

Not just any question.
A question about God.
More specifically.
A question about what God has said.

The ESV puts it this way.

       He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, 
‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”  (Gen. 3:1)

With a simple question, Satan seeks to put doubt into Eve’s heart about the goodness and rightfulness of God’s command. 

I like what one commentator says on this verse:

       "Is it true?" surely it cannot be true, that a God of such goodness could ever deny you such a benefit, or                 

       restrain you from such happiness; he can never be your friend that can lay such an injunction on you.”

It is the device of the devil to have men question the goodness of God and to judge Him by their own human reasoning.  The question the devil puts to Eve is one that ultimately brings into question the character of God and the righteousness of His commandments.  Questions in and of themselves are not always wrong.  However, it’s the direction that the one asking the question seeks to lead you that is the problem.  The question that Satan asked was designed to put a seed of doubt about God’s character, care, and intention into Eve’s mind.  One that would open the door for Satan to then introduce a complete lie that, if believed and acted upon, would bring Adam and Eve into spiritual ruin.  Eve responded to Satan by stating what God had commanded:

       And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 

       but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, 
       neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”  (Gen. 3:1-3) ESV

Satan (the serpent) immediately replies:

       But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you 

       eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  (Gen. 3:4-5)

Satan moves from questioning God to calling God a liar.  God had told Adam that he would die if he ate from the tree, yet Satan has said that they would not die.  Satan then goes on to imply that God is withholding good from them.  That God does not want them to have their eyes opened and to become like Him.  

Can you see how Satan works?

He knows the word.
He has men question the word.
He puts doubts in their minds.
Doubts about God.
Doubts about His goodness.
Doubts about His character.
He tells them a lie.
A lie that sounds better than what God has said.

Smooth.  Deceptive.  Destructive.

Eve reacted:

       “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, 

        and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, 
        and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.”  (Gen. 3:6)

She cast aside the word and commandment of God and believed a lie.

And with that, the whole human race was plunged into sin and ruin.  You can still see the effects of it today. 

This is how Satan works. 
His methods have not changed. 
There is nothing new under the sun. 

I want you to remember this.  Meditate on it.  Understand the craftiness of Satan and how he works to bring about doubt, deception, and ultimately destruction.  If you can see how Satan works, then you will be able to see him at work in the book Love Wins by Rob Bell.  It’s so obvious.  You will find Rob Bell asking questions;

Questions about emotions.
Questions about the Bible.
Questions about God.
About His justice.
About His character.
About His reasonableness.

Again, questions on these topics are not inherently wrong or bad.  As Rob says, “There is no question that Jesus cannot handle, no discussion too volatile, no issue too dangerous.”  The problem is not with the question.  The problem is where Rob Bell wants to lead you with his questions.  He will lead you away from scripture and its clear meaning and lead you to a humanistic lie.  He leads you to the same place that Satan led Eve… “Surely you will not die.”  He will present an outcome that, by human reasoning, seems better than the one God has given.  In doing so, he will follow the same roadmap that Satan led Eve down, and no doubt in some people it will have the same result:

Spiritual ruin.  Spiritual death.

No, there is nothing new under the sun.  Satan continues to seek to destroy God’s plan and His creation. 

His methods are the same.

Only His messengers have changed.  Remember this as we move forward. 

On with our discussion………..  Click here for chapter 1