The majority of mankind will not spend eternity with their Creator. The majority will have been deceived into believing the lie concerning the reality of Christ. According to the Bible, Christ is God in the flesh, Redeemer of mankind, and the only way to know God the Father. Any other representation of the person and mission of Christ is false, and anyone who embraces any lesser role of Christ has been deceived.
Therefore, the focus of the Bible is to present Christ as the only way to attain God’s required standard of righteousness. The Bible is also very clear to describe and define the works of the enemy; the father of lies and master deceiver.
Adam and Eve were created in the image of God. In fact, they were the only created beings made in God’s image. In the Garden of Eden they had everything, including the appointed privilege of having dominion over all other living creatures on the earth.
But God’s arch enemy, who had fallen from grace due to pride, had in his heart the goal to interfere in God’s plan for Adam and Eve by deception.
“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.” Genesis 3:1
Different translations use different words to describe the serpent’s stratagem and purpose. For example, the NKJV uses ‘cunning’ while other translations use ‘subtle,’ ‘crafty,’ and ‘shrewd,’ along with several other synonymous descriptive words.
We all know the story. Eve was enticed to partake of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which God had specifically forbidden.
Her response when questioned about her disobedience:
“The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Genesis 3:13b
That was the beginning of the great deception.
The sin of deception that began in the Garden of Eden will prevail, and in fact accelerate, until the great deceiver is ultimately defeated and cast into the everlasting lake of fire.
And when the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations…and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Thus, deception is present from the early chapters of Genesis through the final chapters of Revelation.
Let’s recount and elaborate on how deception has affected God’s people throughout history.
After Adam and Eve’s initial sin in the garden, all mankind was born without the Spirit of God. Recall, God had breathed ‘life’ into Adam.
Therefore, all mankind was subsequently born innately evil. Such prevails even to this day. A person must be ‘born again’ to receive the Spirit of God to overcome his evil nature.
“The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick…”
The wisest man in the world, Solomon, addressed the issue also.
…Furthermore, the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil, and insanity is in their hearts throughout their lives… Ecclesiastes 9:3
Solomon’s wisdom was similar to the wisdom expressed by Jeremiah the prophet. Both proclaimed that unredeemed mankind is inherently evil by nature.
However, in the current age, there appears to be conflicting viewpoints relative to man’s basic nature. For example, Webster defines one of the major tenets of liberalism as “…a political philosophy based on progress, the essential goodness of man…” Everyone can believe as he/she chooses.
Pride is also a cause of much deceit. For example, any nation that depends on their own strength for survival or victory has been deceived. God will personally bring them down in humility in His timing. Consider Edom’s judgment.
“The pride of your heart has deceived you…You who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’ ‘Though you ascend as high as the eagle…from there I will bring you down,’ says the LORD.”
The challenge of innate deceit was, is, and will be very active through the ages, especially in the present age of the church.