Satan the liar or truth teller part 2

Satan the liar or truth teller part 2

We have been looking at Jesus’ words in John 8:44 which says that there is no truth in satan.  We are comparing this to satan’s words through the serpent in Genesis 3:5 and God’s words in Genesis 3:22

Genesis 3:5 “For God knows that in the day that you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and  you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Genesis 3:22  Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; …”

Let’s compare the words in these two verses.

Genesis 3:5 the serpent said that God knows.  God knows what?  The serpent gives a time frame “in the day that you eat from it”.  What will happen on that day?  Their eyes will be opened (this is presented as a good thing) and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

Here we have the serpent saying that Adam and his wife will become something that they are not now and it will be a good thing.  It will make them “like” God.  The implication then is also that God experiences both good and evil.  But does he?  The word for “knows” and “knowing” is the Hebrew “yada” and its primary meaning means to know relationally and experientially.  What the serpent is saying is that God experientially “knows” evil as well as good.

Now let’s see what God says that is different from what the serpent has said:

In Genesis 3:22 the English is opposed to the original Hebrew and the most authentic versions.  The Hebrew “hayah” (English translated as “has” become) is the third person preterite tense, and signifies was, not is.  The same tense is translated in the Samaritan text, the Samaritan version, the Syriac, and the Septuagint.  Adam Clarke says that “These lead us to a very different sense…”  God is saying “Behold the man was like one of us…”  God is not agreeing with satan that the likeness with God came on the day of their eating the fruit but the likeness started on their day of creation.  They were like God in the beginning.

The distortion here is in the time frame and the grammar.  The serpent said that they will become like God on the day they eat the fruit.  That is a lie. God said they already were like him…until they ate the fruit.

Adam Clarke says that there is “an ellipsis of some words which must be supplied in order to make the sense complete.”  This apparently is not uncommon with Hebrew where the basic information is given and you complete the sense.  Adam Clarke goes on to quote a very learned man who fills in the blanks this way:

“And the Lord God said, The man who was like one of us in purity and wisdom, is now fallen and robbed of his excellence; he has added “ladaath” to the knowledge of the evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live for ever in this miserable state, I will remove him, and guard the place lest he should reenter.”

The deception was that there was something more in store for them to be like God.  But God does not experience evil.  Instead of finding themselves like God, they became very much unlike him because they added evil to their experience of good.

So it is true what Jesus said that there is no truth at all in satan.  Even though he comes as close as he can to the truth, he twists it and distorts it so that it says something completely different.  Adam and his wife did not become like God on the day that they ate the fruit.  Their sinless existence was shattered and they became very much unlike God in their experience.  Their eyes were opened as the serpent said they would be, but the opening of their eyes was to evil and not to a new dimension of Godhood.

21 thoughts on “Satan the liar or truth teller part 2

  1. As Spock would say, “Fascinating!”

    The typical “rebuttal” is, “There’s a reason everybody translates it as “has become” (the way they do for everything else egals point out is mistranslated). It’s just that the “reason” isn’t a good one!

    Looking at the interlinear, we notice that the literal English below each word is mostly rendered in the present tense, but when we come to “eie” it’s past. Should be obvious, even with some tense ambiguity in Hebrew, that God is not speaking of Adam’s “like us” as something he just achieved.

    Or as Data would say, “Curious!”

    Also note that God says all this about “the human”, not “they”. It would appear that only one of them had ceased being “like us”. Hmmm…

  2. Every translation involves interpretation, and it is wise to remember that.  This happens quite a bit, it says X; but I think it “means” Y, so I will translate it as Y, esp. as that is similar to what KJV did, it is clear to me that God does not want women leaders, etc.

  3. Excellent scholarship and critical thinking Cheryl and Paula.  The last thing traditional hierarchalists want is for their people (especially women) to dig into interlinears and the original languages of the Bible.

    What they want is an unquestioned authority structure based on what they say the Bible says.

    In a macabre sort of way it’s almost like the sayers of the law in H.G. Wells’  The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896)

    No wonder Jesus told them “Ye are of your father the devil…”

  4. ““Behold the man was like one of us…” ”

    Wow, ‘has become like one of Us’…..is not a good translation is it? Wonder why it is used?

    So, Satan did tell a complete lie.

    Yes, this is great stuff and thanks for unpacking it for us. I do have to ask…Who is’us’ in this passage. ;o)

  5. “The implication then is that God experiences both good and evil.  But does he?  The word for ‘knows’ and ‘knowing’ is the Hebrew ‘yada’ and its primary meaning means to know relationally and experientially.  What the serpent is saying is that God experientially knows’ evil as well as good.”
    Now here is something I have never understood. God must ‘know’ about evil, right. You are saying He does not experience evil? And that is the difference?

  6. Lin,

    Some say that the “us” is called “honorific plural” or something to that effect. It was common in ancient times to use the plural when referring to deities.

    But if that were the case for the Bible, then we’d expect God to *always* use the plural when using a pronoun to refer to himself. Yet that isn’t the case. Granted it’s used more than we know about in English, since it isn’t typically translated as plural, but the exceptions argue against this honorific plural.

    Some then theorize that “us” means the angels, but I think that’s pretty easy to dismiss.

    The other possibility, to which I agree, is that “us” is the Trinity. The word there for God is “Elohim”, which is the plural of “Eloha”, so it literally reads “And he says the Lord Gods,  ‘Look, the human was as one from us…’ ”

    The word “was” is the same root as that used in Gen. 1:2– “And the earth she was chaos and empty…” (In the young/old earth debate, old earthers prefer “the earth became chaos…”) So there is considerable debate between “was” and “became” on more than one topic.

  7. Lin #4,
    The “us” that the man is no longer like is the Trinity.  While most of the Bible talks about God as “I”, the book of beginnings (Genesis) reveals God in the plural as three persons.  All three have the same nature so the holiness of God needs to be stated for all three.  Man is no longer in a sinless state while God is “Holy, holy, holy”.

    In my mind when the way that the bible is translated contradicts Jesus’ words (Jesus said that there is no truth in satan) then we need to dig further to see where our understanding of scripture is wrong when we see satan telling what appears to be “truth”.

  8. Lin #5,

    Yes, I believe it means to intimately know but even more than that.  It is something that isn’t even connected to his nature at all.

    Remember Jesus said that “in him” (satan) there is no truth?

    On the other hand, what is said about God is that “in him” there is no darkness at all.  1 John 1:5.

    One has no light and no truth, the other is light and has no darkness and is truth and cannot lie.  God then is good and in him is no evil or experience of evil.

  9. It seems that was/became is a matter of grammar and context. Here is an argument against “became” in Gen. 1:2:

    5 tn The disjunctive clause (conjunction + subject + verb) at the beginning of v. 2 gives background information for the following narrative, explaining the state of things when “God said…” (v. 3). Verse one is a title to the chapter, v. 2 provides information about the state of things when God spoke, and v. 3 begins the narrative per se with the typical narrative construction (vav [?] consecutive followed by the prefixed verbal form). (This literary structure is paralleled in the second portion of the book: Gen 2:4 provides the title or summary of what follows, 2:5-6 use disjunctive clause structures to give background information for the following narrative, and 2:7 begins the narrative with the vav consecutive attached to a prefixed verbal form.) Some translate 1:2a “and the earth became,” arguing that v. 1 describes the original creation of the earth, while v. 2 refers to a judgment that reduced it to a chaotic condition. Verses 3ff. then describe the re-creation of the earth. However, the disjunctive clause at the beginning of v. 2 cannot be translated as if it were relating the next event in a sequence. If v. 2 were sequential to v. 1, the author would have used the vav consecutive followed by a prefixed verbal form and the subject.

    In Gen. 3:1 we see was/became again: “And the serpent was/became crafty from all of animal…” Same exact form as was/became in 3:22.

    And another thing: the word for “one” in “was one of us” is echad, which denotes one group, e.g. “one nation”. (more detail at my blog)

  10. How appropriate! The anti-spam word is “help” and I’ve tried to post something twice and it just won’t take it.

    Cheryl, I emailed my “despised and rejected” post to you.

  11. Well the shock of the opposed translation did not feel very good. Ofcourse I have feelings of disappointment over translations but I’m am lifted up by coming to know the original meaning.  

  12. ‘Yes, I believe it means to intimately know but even more than that.  It is something that isn’t even connected to his nature at all.
    Remember Jesus said that “in him” (satan) there is no truth?
    On the other hand, what is said about God is that “in him” there is no darkness at all.  1 John 1:5.
    One has no light and no truth, the other is light and has no darkness and is truth and cannot lie.  God then is good and in him is no evil or experience of evil.’

    I don’t understand this all with my mind, but all I know is that what I’m hearing and reading makes be full of joy. These are ‘concepts’ I knew as a child, but ‘my idea’ of God has become distorted over time for various and multiple reasons.

  13. Pinklight,

    Be encouraged because all of us have had distorted views of God because of tradition and satan’s work.  Satan hates God and wants him to be viewed in a bad light.  I remember when I came to the place in my life where I gave myself fully to Jesus.  I had been viewing him as the God who wanted to make me miserable because I saw his will as only wanting to control me.  My eyes were opened when I read a book that showed how my perception of God was completely wrong.  The view that I had of God was instead satan’s false testimony and not the truth.  God loves us so much and desires that we come to know him.  He is also willing to work in our hearts so that we desire the things that he desires.  God is not a spoil-sport as satan portrays him.  All of satan’s words are lies and distortions.  We cannot believe a single thing he says.

    Years ago when I was doing a lot of studying in old JW books in order to understand their theology so that I could better serve them as teaching them the truth in Christ, I came across an odd statement in the Watchtower that said that a truth spoken by satan is just as true as a truth spoken by God.  They said that we are to embrace truth wherever we find it.  Apparently they didn’t take seriously Jesus’ words that there is NO truth IN satan.  There is no such thing as a truth spoken by satan because he is incapable of truth.  He is an example of one who has been turned over to his sin.  He is fully and completely in darkness.  He is the complete opposite of God.  Where God has no darkness in him, satan is only darkness.  Where God is fully light, there is no light in satan at all.  Our goal is to find what God has said and embrace it, believe it and practice it.  God’s word is truth.

  14. Two cents:

    John8:44

    Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

    Who did the devil murder? The man and the woman, or just the woman? Adam was not deceived.

    The devil was a deliberate deceiver, so these who Jesus accusses of being of their father the devil, knew better?

  15. Satan deceived only the woman so we could not blame his deception on Adam’s sin.

    With the Jews being of their father the devil, they are steeped in sin as he was, and follow his path.  They are of their father the devil because even though they knew the truth of scripture they didn’t stay in that truth and they practice deception by teaching as doctrine the traditions of men thus invalidating the word of God.  Yes, I do believe that the Jews knew better since Jesus said that they didn’t stay in the truth.  That means that they had to have known the truth to begin with.

    Make sense?

  16. “Behold the man was like one of us…”

    Cheryl,

    I’m wondering, could this mean that Adam alone became unlike “one of us” because he alone and not the woman ate while not deceived? So Adam alone experienced evil (unlike God) because he ate while not being deceived?? Or am I way off base here?

  17. “What the serpent is saying is that God experientially “knows” evil as well as good.”

    God does not experientially “know” evil. So Adam alone, and not the woman experientially “knew” evil because Adam alone ate willfully??

  18. “God is saying “Behold the man was like one of us…” God is not agreeing with satan that the likeness with God came on the day of their eating the fruit but the likeness started on their day of creation. They were like God in the beginning.”

    So God was saying this about Adam but NOT the woman and which has to do with why God did not bannish the woman from the garden – because she did not experience evil like Adam did because she was deceived. So it could not be said by God that the woman “was like one of us” because she did not sin the same way Adam did.

    So while the woman was still like “one of us/God” Adam no longer was???

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