Genesis 3: 1-5 (King James Version = KJV)
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
It sounds pretty appealing — gaining godhood just by doing what someone says to do. Being a god, one could control their own destiny and maybe even the destinies of others. The very idea appeals to humanity’s intellect and ego, and that’s one of the best ways to manipulate people: offer something of great value in exchange for what seems to be a small thing. It’s a classic bait-and-switch. You never get exactly what you were promised, and there’s always a high cost.
This tactic is still being used on humankind today. Except it’s not a fruit in the Garden of Eden being used. It’s personal identity. People are being told and even encouraged to choose an identity other than what they already possess and the traits they were born with. They declare these new identities before their family, peers, and even the world via social media and the internet, seeking affirmation and justification for their choices.
New theories (or in some cases, old theories that are getting new traction over social media and from academia) abound. These theories proclaim that various identity-defining traits are social constructs that can be redefined by anyone at will. It sounds good at first and I can understand why such ideas appeal to people. Why be constrained by things like biology, expectations, rules, and even facts sometimes? It’s easier to ignore those things and make a new fluid reality.
Except that isn’t reality. It’s wishful thinking at best. These theories are being pushed through peer pressure, affirmation from like-minded people in internet groups, and the feeling of missing out on something that appears popular right now. Choosing a new identity is an easy way to get attention, feel important, accepted, and even loved.
Unfortunately, sometimes real mental health issues and their underlying causes get overlooked or ignored along the way. Sadly, a surface-level bandage (of a new identity) is literally being sold as a cure for many ills.
But reality has a way of overcoming any challenges to it. Biology runs deep. If the only way someone can attain their identity is through surgery and a permanent regimen of hormones and chemicals, then it is a very expensive and physically damaging illusion. And even though one may choose not have surgery or take drugs, if they have to disguise themselves to maintain a new identity, then that also is an illusion.
Like the serpent’s words in the Garden, an illusion is just another word for a lie. And lies are meant to hide the truth. In Genesis, the serpent wanted Adam and Eve to disobey God. That original sin forced Adam and Eve from paradise in the Garden of Eden. They lost their immortality and so much more, eventually dying as God had said. They didn’t heed God about the price they would pay for their disobedience. As a result, sin entered the world through Adam and Eve and their descendants. Sin became a part of everyday life unto this day. That is why evil exists on Earth.
So, why today are people hiding behind illusions and allowing themselves to believe lies? I believe it’s because the real world is scary, unpleasant, and often harsh because of sin. Bad things happen to both good people and bad people.
In Matthew 5: 43-45 (KJV), Jesus said “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”
I wish more people could see God as He is, a more complete picture than is usually depicted. God shared much about Himself in the Bible.
Isaiah 45: 18-24 (KJV) reads:
For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.
I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.
Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save.
Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.
Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.
I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.
God does not make mistakes. He created the heavens, the Earth, and all of us. God is outside of Time itself. He made Time. And through His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, God made a way for all of us to be redeemed from sin and made new creations in Him. His Holy Spirit can dwell with us and help guide us through the trials of life.
God can make a way where there seems to be no answers. He can intervene on our behalf. He can comfort us, bringing peace and surety in the midst of a dark, depressing, violence-filled world. He is God. Nothing and no one else can compare to Him.
Look to God for truth and answers instead of people who might only say what we want to hear. People may have ulterior motives and let us down, but God honors His promises. God is eternal. He is full of mercy and love, but He also has a wrath.
He has given us free will and He wants us to choose Him. Ultimately, that choice is an individual one we must all make. Will we choose to believe a truth that may be hard to hear but brings peace or a lie that sounds good but can only bring ruin?
Joshua 24: 14-15 (KJV) reads:
Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
About the author
Allen Steadham is a nondenominational Christian. Happily interracially married since 1995 and the proud father of two sons and a daughter. He and his wife have been in the same Christian band since 1997. He plays electric bass, she plays strings, they both sing. It's all good.
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