Q&A: Double-Tongued Truth?

Double-Tongued Truth?

Question

In Genesis 3:5 the serpent told Eve that she and Adam would become as gods, knowing good and evil. In Genesis 3:22, God himself confirmed the truth of this statement. Why do most preachers say that the serpent lied?

Answer

It sounds like you are saying that you have heard preachers say that the lie was: "Your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Gen. 3:5). This statement in Genesis 3:5 is not a lie in and of itself. The fact is that when Adam and Eve ate of the fruit, their eyes were opened (Gen. 3:7) and they came to know good and evil (Gen. 3:22). The lying aspect of this particular statement was the spin that the serpent put on it. Specifically, the serpent implied that eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would somehow benefit man, that it would somehow improve his condition. By all accounts it did not, just as God had warned. Some may prefer to call this a "trick" rather than a "lie," but the effect is the same. It was a deceitful use of language.

There are also various other aspects of the serpent's words that qualify as lies. For example, God said that if man ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, man would surely die (Gen. 2:17). The serpent, on the other hand, proclaimed that man would not die (Gen. 3:4). Also, the serpent might be accused of lying in his question, which purposefully misrepresented what God had said (Gen. 3:1).

Answer by Ra McLaughlin

Ra McLaughlin is Vice President of Finance and Administration at Third Millennium Ministries.