Journey to Oz-4: Where Do Lies Come From?

June 21, 2007 by · 2 Comments 

How can we be courageous and brave? We’ve already said that we need to BELIEVE THE TRUTH and REJECT ALL LIES. But as Joel indicated in his comment that is easier said than done. Sometimes it is difficult to identify the LIES. They are often “half-truths” that sound right and feel right but are not right.

I tend to agree with Joel. The half-truths are the killers. To understand half-truths, I think we need to understand where they came from.

In our last Journey to Oz I mentioned that Satan—the Father of Lies—initiated this confusion about Truth. As a destroyer, he began his work on God’s creation in the Garden. In Genesis 3, the Deceiver—in the form of a serpent—initiates his attack on Truth. And he does it with a question:

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1—NIV)

What is the focus of his question? God’s Word… He begins his attack by creating some doubt about what God has said is true—he’s creating doubt about God’s Word. And notice, the assault is not a blatant reversal of God’s word. That would be too easy to reject. The attack is more subtle. The attack is camouflaged in a half-truth. He takes what God says and changes it ever so slightly. Look how Eve responds…

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, [3] but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” (Genesis 3:2-3—NIV)

Eve corrects the Deceiver. She answers (accurately) that God said they could eat from the trees in the garden—except one. (Hooray Eve—how to go!)… But then look at what she does: she adds something to what God says. Eve says that she and Adam can’t even touch the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden. Did God say that? (If you are not sure of the answer, see Genesis 2:15-17).

Eve takes it upon herself to add to God’s Truth.

Let’s stop for a moment. Because I think this is a pretty big point. What do you think of Eve’s addition here? On one hand, it makes sense. I mean, if they don’t even touch the fruit they will never eat it. The rule that Eve adds will help Adam and Eve avoid breaking God’s command.

It’s kinda like this (Here is a wonderfully vivid illustration). If I don’t want my children to play in the street, I can make a rule—issue a command: Thou shalt not play in the street. If thou playest in the street, thou shalt be grounded. (I often speak this way while issuing edicts to my children)

Now, that’s a pretty good rule. Streets are dangerous. My children could get hurt. I want to protect them. I do, however, want them to play. I want them to enjoy our beautiful front lawn. I want them to run and jump and frolic (I think we all need a good “frolic” every now and then).

So my kids play. They run, jump, and frolic. They’re having a ball. While they are playing one day, however, a person walks by and asks, “Did your dad really say you can’t play out front.” My oldest daughter responds, “No, we can play out front. We just can’t play in the street—in fact, we can’t even cross the sidewalk—or we’ll be grounded.”

Now here’s the question: Did my daughter tell the truth? She kinda did… but she added something—and in doing so, she has altered the truth I originally gave to her.

Although she may be adding to the truth in an effort to obey, she is also limiting the freedom I had given my kids to play in the whole front yard (including the area between the sidewalk and the street—an incredibly fun place to play).

Okay, maybe that illustration is not “wonderfully vivid” as promised. But you get the point, right? By questioning God’s Word, the serpent has created some doubt and the truth is altered.

So now, the trap is set. Eve is willing to alter God’s truth (even with good intentions) and Satan moves to phase two.

“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. [5] “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5)

Because the truth has already been changed once (“and you must not touch it, or you will die”), Satan goes with a big lie (“You will not surely die,”) and he follows it up by creating some doubt about God’s goodness. Basically, he is saying that God is holding something back from Adam and Eve. He doesn’t have their best interests at heart. He is keeping something from them. He can’t be trusted. He is not for you.

I wonder how long it took. I wonder how long Eve pondered this lie. I wonder if she thought about her situation much. Did she look at all the other trees in the garden? Did she walk around and eat from all the other trees that God had provided so graciously. Did she think about everything she knew about God thus far—how he had given them everything?… Did she see the beauty of the garden? The beauty of Adam? The beauty of God?

Scripture doesn’t answer this question. But we do know this. She didn’t reject the lie. She believed it.

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Genesis 3:6

And then everything changed. Truth became fuzzy or squishy or gray. And with that came a flood of new feelings and emotions and actions. Things that up until this point were nonexistent in creation: shame (Gen. 3:7), hiding (Gen. 3:8), separation (Gen. 3:9), fear (Gen. 3:10), anger (Gen. 3:12), blame (Gen. 3:12, 13).

It’s painful to read this chapter of the Bible, because it is so real. I understand this struggle. I understand these feelings and emotions and actions. I understand all this because I live it. This chapter is so painful because it is about me and about how I have often dealt with truth. It shows how I can doubt God’s Word and God’s goodness. How I, like Eve, add to his truth. How I, like Eve, question his goodness. How I, like Eve, ignore all that God has given me and, instead, focus on what I think I am missing or deserve or need.

So, how can I BELIEVE THE TRUTH and REJECT ALL LIES if I can’t even recognize the truth!

Well, here’s the cool part of the story from Genesis that we can’t miss (so keep reading). After Adam and Eve succumb to the Deceiver’s attack on Truth—after they disobey—look at what God does.

But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9)

He comes for Adam (remember Adam is hiding from God at this point—in fact, he’s covered in fig leaves and crouching in the bushes!). God comes for the one who disobeyed. He comes to affirm Truth. He comes to renounce lies. He comes to Adam in Genesis 3—in spite of his sin.

And he came for us. Not to a garden, but to a stable. God entered into the fuzziness and squishiness and grayness of our world. God came for the ones who disobeyed. He came to affirm Truth. He came to renounce lies. He came to us in Matthew and Mark and Luke, and John—in spite of our sins.

John says this about the coming of Jesus…

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

Jesus talked a lot about “truth”. He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life” John 14:6) and in the gospels, Jesus says, “I tell you the truth” 78 times (in the NIV). Then he says that his followers will receive the Spirit of Truth (Holy Spirit) who will live in us (John 14:17) and guide us (John 16:13).

What does all this mean? It means that perhaps the first TRUTH TO BELIEVE is that God will actually reveal Truth to you through his Holy Spirit—and that you will actually be able to understand that Truth! With that in mind, the first LIE TO REJECT is that you can’t understand because you are such a mess.

God’s Truth is bigger than Satan’s Lies—and it’s bigger than your limitations.

Your Father wants to teach you about TRUTH. Trust him. Believe that the Holy Spirit will really guide and direct you into Truth. And sit back and enjoy the ride.


Grace and peace,


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2 Responses to “Journey to Oz-4: Where Do Lies Come From?”
  1. Sandra says:

    This is excellent Doug. God is so very good. He comes in spite of ourselves and makes Himself known. In the process we begin to understand TRUTH. I am enjoying the ride. Thanks for letting us journey with you.

  2. jsolomon says:

    so i wonder if i believe in the lies and half truths because its just plain easier. maybe its easier to continue on believing and living life according to these half truths and lies than to change my thinking or life. maybe its just easier to not really truly check EVERY thought (that whole take captive every thought thing) and every fact through God’s Word to really search to see what is truth and what is false.

    so as i’m reflecting on the this story the writer describes Eve’s mindset after the encounter with the serpent, “and eve saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes and a tree desirable to make one wise.”

    i find it interesting enough to God never said that the tree wouldn’t look good, He certainly didn’t say it wouldn’t be good for food, what he did say was to not eat it.

    i wonder in this story was eve douped because the serpent was so clever or because it was just easier for eve to go along with the story that the serpent was giving her than to really process what was happening. it was just simply easier to disobey than to really delve into what was takign place. after all, the tree was good to the eye and good for food.

    i wonder how many times adam and eve walked by that tree and thought about eating it. thought about wondering WHY God would tell them not to eat.

    so here comes this talking snake and eve goes along, hook line and sinker for the serpents half truth and finally his outright lie. is it easier for me to at times just go along with something allow a certain thought or “truth” to go by unchecked because it goes against something i either don’t want to do or don’t understand. and rather than really dig into it, do i accept it because it has enough truth in it to pacify the Holy Spirit warnings going on inside of me?

    does it take TOO much inward looking both into my thoughts, motivations, and this supposed statement. i wonder if adam questioned the fact that they were eating this apple?

    did adam ask eve where the apple came from? or did he just accept it because it was right there in front of him? and if he did know, did adam question eating it or just go right along with it because eve (someone else) was also.

    how many “truths” do i begin to believe because a preacher or mentor said so. how many things have i accepted and quoted to someone else simply because someone said it and i didn’t take the time to really unpack it with Scripture and the Holy Spirit’s guidence?

    how many “half truths” have i believed due to someone else’s commentary on my life experience. as i have coffee or lemonaide with friends and share life and they make a statement about a situation that i’m going through that reflects God’s character — do i just take that to be who God is and what He’s about cause its easier than processing it out myself?

    sometimes i think that rejecting lies and discovering truth is harder work than what i want to put into it.

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