Today's Little Lift
by Jim Bullington
I remember the day when I learned what contradict means. I did not learn the definition in a dictionary; rather, I learned it in life’s university when I was a young boy. I don’t remember the specific statement of my father that I openly contradicted, but I do remember his reaction! I recall his unambiguous direction that I was not to contradict him. I think he had every right to say what he did and that I needed to learn the principle of respect for one’s elders more than I needed anything else at that moment.
How do you like for someone to contradict you? What if the contradictory statement is about a subject of which you are knowledgeable and for which you have a great passion? What if the contradictory statement pertains to a matter of significant consequence? To take it a step further, what if the contradictory opinion could lead to physical death of someone who listens to the contrary opinion? But, then to take it to the greatest possible consequence, what if the matter involves the eternal welfare of a person’s soul? The Bible almost begins with a situation like this.
God, the greatest authority on the matter of man’s eternal wellbeing, was contradicted by Satan, the greatest liar ever known to man. The greater context and the specific contradiction of which we speak goes as follows: “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.’” (Genesis 3.1-5).
The serpent found a forum to voice his contrary opinion and it was not merely a matter of philosophical difference; it was literally a matter of eternal life versus eternal condemnation. Had the serpent merely wanted to suggest the possibility of God being wrong on the matter, that would have been bad enough, but he went much farther. He made a statement that God was wrong about the imminent spiritual death of anyone who ate of the forbidden tree AND he also impeached the motives of God in setting out His prohibition. Not only did the serpent say that God was wrong, he said that God knew He was wrong! That is, as far as most of us are concerned, the greatest of insults. According to the serpent, God made His statements for the purpose of holding man back and for His own selfish purposes! What an indictment!
Both Adam an Eve knew God's word at one time. Eve was deceived into thinking that God was against her. Adam, on the other hand, knowingly disobeyed God's command. Either way you take it, Eve contradicted God but she did so out of conviction. Adam contradicted God in action but would likely have defended Him in word. In that vein, I am forced to have more respect for Eve than for Adam; at least she followed her conscience. However, in the final analysis, both Adam and Eve were accountable for contradicting God and His word.
"You will not surely die,” was a lie and so is any and every action or statement of man that contradicts God's word regardless of conscience or conviction. When man contradicts God, man is wrong.
1. What motive did the serpent assign to God for the restrictions which He placed on Adam and Eve?
2. What evidence can you glean from our focus text that might have persuaded Eve to believe the serpent and to reject the word of God?
3. Is it more honorable to state forthrightly that the Bible is not the word of God, or to discretely sow the seeds of doubt? Why did you answer the way you did?
4. Why should we always accept the word of God over the opinion of man? For example, Jesus said, “…unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Some say that God will forgive men even if they have never heard of Jesus Christ and the new birth. What is the truth?
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