Speaking the Truth in Love

Questions God Asks – What Have you Done?

God finds Adam and Eve hiding among the trees in the garden. The man blames the woman for giving him the forbidden fruit, and blames the Lord for giving him a wife. Unimpressed, God turns his attention to Eve and asks, “What is this that you have done?” (Gen. 3:13). She doesn’t take any responsibility for her actions either. The snake tricked me, she says.

People understand the “serpent” in the Eden narrative in more than one way. Some say that the devil usurps the body of a snake and gives it a voice. God is doing something of this sort when a donkey opens her mouth and rebukes the folly of Balaam. Others think that “serpent” describes Satan’s low character. His belly is in the dust.

Anyway, Eve tries to pass off her guilt. Her sin is the devil’s fault. Here I am, minding my own business, and along comes the snake. With seductive lies he worms himself into my thoughts. God can’t blame me when I’m tricked, can he? Um, yes, he can.

Think of it this way. A scammer calls and tells me wonderful news. I have won a vacation to Hawaii. Two weeks in paradise! All expenses paid–airfare, lodging, meals. All the scammer needs is my Social Security number and birth date. If I give out this personal information and become a victim of identity theft, everybody will think me a fool. Why? Because my greed has blinded me to the plain truth.

Does the serpent tell the woman damnable lies? Sure. Is she deceived? Yes. But Eve wants to believe what he’s saying. Satan appeals to her own selfish desires for God’s power and knowledge. When we sin the serpent is all for it. He encourages it. He makes it look pretty. But we can’t blame our sins on anyone else – not even the devil. “Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire” (Jas. 1:14).

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