The Serpent of Old
Know thine enemy. It’s an age old maxim and a primary duty of the truth seeker. Likely THE primary duty. For it’s a battle. Flesh and blood. Soul and Spirit. Figuratively, literally, anyway you look at it. There are no excuses for the truth seeker, the enemies tactics must be known if they want to be successful.
And the enemies are plentiful – institutions, time, tradition, ideology, peer pressure, and education – or lack thereof, to name a few. There are however two main enemies the truth seeker faces. The first being themselves (covered in Part 3, a shameless plug no doubt) and the second an enemy more cunning than the rest, an enemy from the beginning. One whose nefarious spirit embodies all the other enemies.
The snake. The dragon. The serpent of old. Satan, the progenitor of deceit. The first rebel. The first enemy. Before man missed the mark, he did, deceiving himself into believing he should have equal footing with his Creator, if not exalted above. And it wasn’t enough to deceive himself, no, he took a third of the angels with him in rebellion. But even that didn’t suffice, the best (or worst) was yet to come. The pinnacle of God’s creation, those created in His image, were the ultimate target. And what better way to spite the Creator than a deception with eternal consequences.
The fall of man, instigated by the enemy, is the first instance exposing the snake’s strategy. Satan laid in wait for Adam and Eve to let their guard down, ready to strike. Did Adam and Eve know their enemy? Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t. Maybe they were tired of fighting the temptation of the fruit hanging from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Whatever the case, Satan’s tactics worked.
Genesis 3:1-5 “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
That’s all it took and humanity’s destiny was changed forever. Adam and Eve didn’t appear to put up much of a fight. So why was Satan successful? What was (is) his blueprint? His modus operandi? It begins with questioning God, specifically God’s Word. Did God REALLY say (fill in the blank)? In the case of Eve, she knew what God said, she even repeated it back to the snake verbatim. But that didn’t faze Satan, he instead used his finishing move. Mixing truth with a lie.
“You will not surely die.” (Lie)
“eyes will be opened…knowing good and evil.” (Truth)
This is Satan’s ultimate tactic, sowing a seed in opposition to God’s Word which is the good, incorruptible seed. Satan’s seed is the Tare, indistinguishable from the Wheat until the Harvest. He doesn’t have the power to create, he is not the Creator, but he does have the power to take what the Creator made and corrupt it.
So the question is, why is this Satan’s strategy? Why not just outright lie? Present evil as evil, fiction as fiction. Well, because most people can recognize something that is blatantly evil, or something that is categorically false. And most people aren’t interested in such things, though Satan would love for us to fall for any falsity. No, there must be an element of truth, if only a sliver, to suck the masses in. Something that blinds the true intent from being revealed. Something believable. And that’s why he does it. Because he desires for his intentions to be hidden. Because he knows the bad will eventually choke out the good. The truth will succumb to the lie. That confusion leads to doubt.
And Satan also knows the Word of God has power. Real power. It is THE truth. It is life to those who follow it. He knows he must distort it in an attempt to nullify it’s purpose. It’s not enough to say the exact opposite. He must twist it, take from it, and add to it, making it’s power void.
Know thine enemy. The Serpent of Old. For his battle plan is lethal.