The Standard of Truth as Opposed to the Original Lie
God because of His impeccable character has set a Standard of Truth for His people to follow. Satan through the use of a lie distorted God’s truth and His standard was then violated by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Understanding the original lie is essential in knowing why lies are so destructive in the lives of God’s people.
Definition of Problem
Lies are a common thing in today’s society because people don’t understand just how destructive they can be. People, especially followers of Christ, do not always understand the Standard of Truth that God has set for their lives and they do not live accordingly.
This paper is an inductive study of the definition of God’s Standard of Truth for our lives. We will look at the break in relationship between God and man that was caused by the first lie as told by Satan in the Garden of Eden. We will also look in-depth at the result of that first violation of God’s truth standard as Adam and Eve acted on the lie that was told to them. And finally we will look at the world today and how God’s Standard of Truth still applies.
God’s Standard of Truth
God has a standard that He expects His people to follow. That standard is truth. “He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1 John 2:4, NKJV) When we fail to keep the commandments of God we deviate from the standard that He requires us to hold to and that can only bring ruin into our lives.
In the Garden of Eden, God set a standard for Adam and Eve to follow. “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 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.” (Genesis 2:17, NKJV) God revealed His standard through the revelation of His word to Adam and Adam in turn (we can assume) passed it on to Eve. There was a set standard, an unapproachable boundary with consequences if breached. God spoke Truth and expected it to be followed.
God did not give this standard to Adam and Eve to control them in their naivety but to protect them from the physical and spiritual death that they would encounter if they deviated from His standard. He required that they live their lives in a truth relationship. Because He had created them and continued to sustain them, only He could set the standard that they would have to live by. He required that they follow Him out of love and obedience and walk in His truth.
God still requires His followers to obey His standards today. He gives these standards through the revelation of Scripture. The Bible is full of God’s standards that should apply to our lives. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) The entire point of scripture is to mold us and shape us to fit in God’s standard for our lives. It is a standard given with our best intentions in mind, a standard given in love and truth to protect His people from the results of sin.
These standards are so important because they reflect the character of God. God is Truth and truth is a highly valued characteristic of God. (Exodus 34:6, Deuteronomy 32:4, Psalm 31:5, Isaiah 65:16) God is not made of truth but truth stems from God. He creates it, He makes it what it is, and He shares it with His people. “Show me Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.” (Psalm 25:4-5, NKJV)
Truth is God’s standard for our lives and we must walk according that truth in order to follow His standards. “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15, NIV) As we “handle the word of truth” we must apply it to our lives. The standards we follow define us as followers and we show the world what it is like to live lives that are accountable to the Truth of God.
“A lie is an intentional deception or falsehood.” (Elwell, 2003) A lie must have the intention of deception or creating a false perception in order to truly be a lie. So the key to understanding if something is a lie is to look at the intention behind it. When someone lies there will be an intention behind it to deceive or mislead someone in violation of the God’s Truth Standard.
A lie is a violation of God’s standard of truth and God can have no part in a lie. (Titus 1:2) In fact it is impossible for God to lie. “God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.” (Hebrews 6:18, NIV, emphasis added) Lying is below God’s standards and is the opposite of what God requires of those who follow Him. “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19, NIV). “He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1 John 2:4, NKJV)
The Serpent (Satan) lied to Eve about the result of deviating from God’s Standard. He started the dialogue with Eve with the intention of misleading her into eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Satan begins by asking Eve about the standard that God had established. “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1b, NKJV) Satan knew the answer to his own question but since he was “more cunning than any beast of the field” he started with a subtle deception. He misquotes God and turns a positive statement: “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat…” (Genesis 2:17,17 NKJV, emphasis added) into a negative statement: ‘”You shall not eat of every tree of the garden”. Satan wanted Eve to view God as setting limitations on her and not as setting a standard for her safety.
Satan then openly lied about the consequences of violating God’s standard and intentionally deceived Eve. “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.” (Genesis 3:4 NKJV) The whole point of the Satan’s statement was to take away the consequences that came with violating God’s standard. With the consequences gone the boundaries God had set were meaningless and Eve was free to do as she pleased. Satan has misled her in to believing there were no consequences for her actions.
Satan has not changed his tactic today. He still seeks to mislead people into believing there are no consequences for their actions. With God and His standard of truth out of the picture there are no fettering boundaries or no unpleasant rules to restrain us from following our base desires. Satan wishes to effectively remove God and His Truth from our lives and replace it with a lie.
Satan also promised a reward of mental freedom to Eve if she violated God’s Standard. “…the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” He intentionally led Eve in to believing she was missing something in order to entrap her in sin. She viewed having her eyes opened and being like God as a good experience while God intentionally kept the knowledge of good and evil safe from Adam and Eve. His intention was not to deceive or mislead them, but the keep them safe from the things that accompanied such knowledge; pain, suffering, and evil.
Satan again does not change his tactic. His desire is to cause people to lose focus of their Creator. He wants people to believe that they must commit intellectual suicide to believe in and follow God’s standards. The exact opposite is true. God’s Word is full of truth that can guide a person in everyday walks of life and keep us safe from the evil of this world.
Deviation from the Standard of God
Eve reasoned with the Satan instead of disregarding him and recognizing the deception. When Satan originally misquoted God, Eve knew that the truth of God’s standard was being distorted. She responded to the misquotation by saying: “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.’” She restated the standard God had set but continued the dialogue with Satan. She knew what he was telling her was false because she weighed the words of Satan against the words of God. Satan’s words did not match up so she should have disregarded him altogether as false.
Eve intended to and did go against God’s standard of truth by eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil despite His command. She allowed herself to be deceived and acted on the lie that Satan had told her. “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.” (Genesis 3:6, NKJV, emphasis added) Before the conversation with Satan the tree was already “good for food” and “pleasant to the eyes”. Only after the dialogue with Satan did Eve’s perception of the tree change so that it look to be “a tree desirable to make one wise.” She acted on the basis of her perception and therefore violated God’s truth standard. She then shared the fruit with her husband and continued the chain of events that began with a lie.
The consequences for violating the standard of God’s Truth were high because Adam and Eve were entrusted with all of God’s creation and they failed. “…let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26, NKJV, emphasis added) God specifically states the reason He now must punish Adam and Eve for their violation of His standard: “Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it.” (Genesis 3:17, NKJV)
The consequences Adam and Eve faced were physical as well as spiritual. First as a result of the curse they had to fight nature for their food until the day they died. “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it, all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread ,till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:17b-19, NKJV)
Second Eve would have to suffer through childbirth and be subservient in status to her husband. “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.” (Genesis 3:16, NKJV)
Third they were removed from the Garden of Eden and never allowed to return. “Therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.” (Genesis 3:23-24) Adam and Eve had to face the physical consequences of their action because they violated God’s truth standard.
There were also spiritual consequences to Adam and Eve’s violation of God’s Truth Standard. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” (Romans 5:12, NKJV) Because of the first sin of Adam and Eve (violating God’s Truth Standard) all men and woman have inherited sin. Adam’s sin was imputed to us and we face the consequences for that sin today.
Just as in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, God requires us to hold to His Standard of Truth. The original violation of God’s truth standard was a lie and a lie continues to be one of the main things separating man from God today. “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. (Romans 1:24, NKJV, emphasis added). Every lie told today, every intentional deception, every misrepresentation of truth all relate back to the original lie.
God hates lies because they are at the source of a broken relationship with His creation. Satan is the father of lies. Jesus made that clear as He was talking to the Pharisees in John 8. “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. (John 8:44, NKJV, emphasis added). Satan’s purpose is directly opposed to God’s. Satan attempts to disrupt the relationship between God and man. God wishes the relationship between Himself and man to be reconciled.
Jesus Christ came as the Truth to fix the relationship that was broken with a lie. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6, NKJV, emphasis added) There was no deception in the ministry of Christ. He came to conquer sin in the world and died to accomplish His purpose. He became the new Truth Standard by which everything is judged. He spoke words of truth to a deceived and confused world and He did it with a love that we did not did not deserve.
As Christian leaders we must present the fact that Christ has come to fix the broken relationship with His people. Many people have been hurt by a lie in their lives and it is our responsibility to present them the truth that can heal their hurt. We must also make God’s truth standard clear to His people and require that they hold to that standard. We need to root out the age old lie and expose it for what it really is, Satan’s attempt to disrupt our relationship with God. We must implore them to find new roots in the truth of Christ and live their lives accordingly.
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