I recently heard someone say, “If I felt any better it would be sinful.” Now I know what he meant, that he was feeling really good. But his expression shows how society has come to accept one of Satan’s greatest lies: that evil is good and good is evil. God warns against such a world-view:
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;
Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Is. 5:20, NASV
Satan started this deception with Eve. Eve knew what God had said regarding eating the fruit from the tree in the centre of the Garden of Eden. She also knew that there was a consequence attached to disobedience - which would, in fact, also be traitorous rebellion. Yet, after softening her resistance, Satan presented her with an audacious lie.
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Gen. 3:4-5, NIV
Satan convinced Eve that doing something she knew was wrong [disobeying God] would result in a greater good without any negative consequences. Evil is good and good is evil. And that lie has spread around the globe.
In North America we have things like Devil’s Food cake [chocolate cake - my favourite] as if the Devil’s food is somehow sweet and good-tasting. We have expressions like the one above and “sinfully delicious” or “sinfully delightful.” “Forbidden pleasures” are somehow the best kind. And so on…
We have bought the lie that what is evil is good, fun and desirable. And that the consequences - if there are any at all - will be minor.
But consider the deception of Eve. What was Satan really offering her? What was he trying to get her to sell her soul to achieve? The knowledge of Good and Evil? That’s how it was wrapped up, but that wasn’t the whole truth. She already had the knowledge of Good. She already walked in the Light, in perfect love, acceptance and fulfillment. What did she lack? The knowledge of Evil. She didn’t know the dark side, she didn’t know hatred, fear, pain, lust and self-loathing.
And so the lies of Satan paint a false picture. They show temporary shallow sensations as if they were permanent healthy pleasures “to make one wise” and happy. But like a drug high, the “pleasures” of sin always crash into the reality of pain and suffering. Trying to escape the pain by indulging another “high” is only a further deception.
Are there consequences? Of course, there are consequences to our actions. Even common sense tells us that. You put your hand on a hot stove, there are consequences - a burnt hand! What is the consequence of sin? Death.
However, we need to understand the Biblical concept of death. We tend to think of death as physical death when our body dies and our spirit departs. That is only one aspect of death.
God is Life itself. Life in its fulness. God is perfect in righteousness [i.e. no sin] and perfect in justice. What that means is that God cannot be in relationship with anyone who is not perfect. It would be a violation of His nature and purity.
Adam and Eve were created perfect. They had a relationship with God, His Life had made them and flowed to them to give them life in its total fulfillment of love, joy, peace, fulfillment, satisfaction, etc. But when Eve sinned [and later Adam] she cut herself off from the Source of Life. She entered into separation from Life which is how the Bible views death - separation from God. Being separated from “God Life” means experiencing pain, suffering, sickness, self-hatred, hatred of others, abusing others and being abused and so much more leading to physical death and then ending in eternal death - separation from God and all that is life forever. [We will all exist forever but we will either be living Life or suffering Death unending. At physical death we are locked into our choice forever.]
Eve [and Adam] felt this more than anyone else ever has because they knew what it was like not to be in a “living” dead state. Since that time everyone of us has been born a “dead person” [i.e. separated from God] who physically exists. We cannot enter into Life - relationship with God Who is Life - because we are no longer perfect. We are trapped in the realm of the dead.
The Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that we can escape from the realm of the dead permanently. We can enter into Life. We can enjoy the presence of the God Who Is Life itself. We can know Life the way it was intended to be lived. This is possible because Jesus Christ entered into Death, took the punishment for our rebellion and then returned to Life. If we will accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour then God looks on us as being “in Christ.” In other words, He sees us as perfect because Jesus is perfect. We can have a joyful relationship with God and enter into living Life.
So Satan, who is pure evil and hates God, tries his best to make us think that Life is bad, boring and restrictive and that Death is good, exciting and liberating. He wants us to believe that evil is good and good is evil. The world has bought into this twist of reality and the mountains of crushed lives, shattered dreams and doomed hopes testify to its true source. And yet damaged and hurt people refuse to come to Life because Satan has ingrained into them that the God of Life is bad and that the God of Life is the deception!
Even as Christians we war against this idea. We know the God of Life and are growing in our relationship with Him, but it is easy to slip into seeing the illusion and thinking that people walking in death are the ones really having fun. We have to guard against the snake’s hissing whisper that evil is good and good is evil. The closer we walk with the God Who is Life, the more this lie is exposed.