Rebellion against God in the world today is the fruit of Satan’s fall from grace. His act of defiance brought the eventual disobedience of Adam and Eve. The sin of Adam and Eve brought the fall of humanity and the brokenness we experience in the world today. In a very real way, wickedness and sin in the world now trace back to Satan’s rebellion.
Rape, racism, abuse, lying, cheating, and genocide all have a link back to Satan’s sin. But how did Satan get mankind to follow him in rebellion against God? He doesn’t invite them to insurrection. He deceives them. Satan deceives them by undermining God’s Word. He drags humanity into his rebellious relationship with God by causing us to doubt what God has said.
God casts Satan from Heaven—with a third of the angels who rebelled with him— and he enters the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve live in Paradise. There is no sin in Adam and Eve’s heart. They can obey God or they can choose not to.
Satan arrives in the biblical narrative in Genesis 3. His first question to Eve is, “Did God actually say ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” This is an obvious distortion of what God said. God told Adam in Genesis 2:17-18, “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.” God gave them access to every tree in the garden except one. That is a far cry from eating from none of the trees, as Satan suggests.
Does Satan know that what he is saying is wrong? Of course. He is testing Eve’s knowledge of what God told Adam—remember, she wasn’t there when God commanded this to Adam. But Eve doesn’t fall for it. She restates what God told them. Satan’s response to this was that they will not die (Genesis 3:4). Satan tells Eve that the reason God commanded this was because their eyes would be open and they would be like God, knowing both good and evil (Genesis 3:5). They see that the food is delightful to the eyes and taste, and they take and eat.
This act of rebellion brings humanity into sin and condemnation. But this story replays every day around the world. Satan’s tactic to distort and deny God’s Word is his active strategy against men and women. The question asked in the Garden echoes in the hearts of people in our culture today: Did God really say? Like our first parents in the Garden, we continue falling for this crafty scheme of the Devil.
Our culture celebrates many things the Bible condemns. Sex before marriage and homosexuality are two examples. If a Christian uses the Bible to condemn these behaviors, many contest it by echoing Satan’s question in the Garden. Many argue that God’s Word is outdated. Others argue that the real meaning of these Bible verses doesn’t condemn these practices as sins.
Satan still uses this playbook to help many justify their sins. If Satan can get people to question God’s Word, he can get them to disobey it. When people distort or outright deny Scripture, it leads them headlong into rebellion against God. This is indirectly—if not directly—the work of Satan. He has led countless millions to their destruction by questioning the truthfulness and goodness of God’s commands.
God revealed His will to us through Scripture. He has spoken. The habit of questioning and denying what God has said is not new. It’s been happening since the first people ever walked the earth. It is the root cause of sin, both then and now. As we live in this world, the hiss of the serpent is at every turn, and present wherever we hear someone question the clarity, truthfulness, or goodness of God’s Word.