Satan’s Lies; the World’s Religions
Last Sunday during the message, I promised a blog on how Satan’s initial lies to Eve are the foundation for the
world’s false religions. Here is that blog.
In the Garden of Eden, Satan
seemed to win an impressive victory. Little did he know that it was foreseen by
God, and God would use it to serve His purposes. However, in the temptation and
fall of humanity, Satan laid five lies upon Eve either directly or indirectly that
form the foundation for false religion. Not only did Satan not want humans to
worship God, he wanted humans to in some form worship him. Let’s track the five lies and their resulting religious impulses.
God told Adam that if he ate
from the tree, he would “surely die.” Genesis 2: 17, Satan promised Eve, “You
surely shall not die.” Satan blatantly contradicted God with this lie. He
continues this lie in modern religion with a lie called “reincarnation.” This
false teaching is that souls play a game of musical chairs with various bodies
in this world. In this life you are one being, but after death you return as
another. The hope is that one moves upward in this cycle and becomes better and
better with each new habitation. Reincarnation is based on the teaching of
“Karma,” that everyone gets what he or she deserves. Evil is punished in the
next life; and good is rewarded.
Hinduism is the most extreme of
this reincarnation/karma system. Everyone is believed to be in one of five levels.
There are four castes followed by the outcasts, which are those who were so evil
in the previous life that they don’t merit any status in one of the four hierarchical castes. Don’t be fooled, Christians. Reincarnation and karma are
cruel hoaxes of the devil. Imagine saying to the poor or the abused, “You are
getting what you deserved from your past life.” Imagine the wealthy and
powerful saying, “Our position is deserved because of our past lives’ goodness.
The lowly are here to serve us. They must do what we want.” Jesus says, “Love
one another as I have loved you.” The Bible teaches tenderness toward the poor
and outcast. It also teaches the responsibility of those blessed with resources
and/or poor to share and care.
Reincarnation is the devil’s
lie made believable. We don’t want to die. Satan says, “You won’t die.” You are
reincarnated according to karma.
In the temptation, Satan
encourages Eve to set aside God’s word for a substitute word from Satan. He
promises that “her eyes will be opened.” Genesis 3: 5, He promises her an enlightened
experience. According to Satan, he came to rescue her. Satan claims that God
had been holding out. Satan is promising a counterfeit religious experience. He
wants humans to encounter him and think they are in touch with him as the real
god. This is a belief in a transformation of consciousness that initiates us
into “true spirituality.” In Greek and Roman culture it showed up as a theory
of “secret knowledge.” This secret knowledge teaching turns up in the Bible in I Timothy 6:20-21. “Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away
from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called
knowledge, 21 which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the
In our era, “secret knowledge”
is a New Age specialty and is often referred to as “enlightenment.” This
knowledge is gained by searching one’s soul. What it really is is an encounter
with a spiritual being sent by Satan. One has this encounter either through
transcendental meditation or hallucinogenic drugs.
CS Lewis wrote of these
encounters in Screwtape Letters where fictional demon, Uncle Screwtape gives
instructions to nephew, apprentice demon Wormwood, “I have great hopes that we
shall learn in due time how to emotionalize and mythologize their science to such
an extent that what is, in effect, a belief in us (though not under that name)
will creep in while the human mind remains closed to belief in the Enemy
Satan offers religious
experience that is counter to an experience with Jesus Christ through God’s
word and the Holy Spirit. Spiritual experiences are not necessarily good
things. They may be of Satan.
The third of Satan’s lies is
“you will be like God.” What a thought! And there is some truth here. We are
created in God’s image, so there is resemblance. However, most humans easily
recognize that we are not God. So how can Satan adjust this lie for human
He extends the idea of divinity
to everything that exists. “Humans are god. Nature is god. Why, everything is
god." This is the heart of pantheism, that “all is god,” and “god is all.” For a
pantheist, final reality is spiritual, and matter is illusion. Pantheists deny
the existence of the material world to escape.
In II Thessalonians 2, the Apostle Paul writes that the antichrist will “exalt himself over everything
that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple,
proclaiming himself to be God.” Nikos Kazantzakis, the author of The Last
Temptation of Christ, wrote, “It is not God who will save us—it is we who will
save God, by battling, by creating, and transmuting matter into spirit.”
Christianity teaches that humanity fell into sin and needs rescue. Pantheism
teaches the opposite, god fell and needs rescue. Matter and mind were at one
time united in an entity called god. But matter and mind separated. This breach
must now be healed by humans putting it back together again.
The Bible also teaches that God
created the heavens and the earth. He declared it “good.” Matter is good. It’s
a creation of God. Pantheism contends that matter is illusion, all is
spiritual, and everything is god. According to this false belief system, we
need to focus our souls on the wonderful connectedness of all things, and
escape the material realm.
“You will be like God, knowing
good and evil.” Satan trolled. (Genesis 3:5) Satan promised an experiential
knowledge of good and evil. Humanity would now be able to choose between what
is good and evil instead of a god imposing a code of right and wrong. The
serpent was right that eating the fruit did give an experiential knowledge of
good and evil, but what horrible knowledge it was.
In our age, this lie takes the
form of relativism, "what is true for me might not be true for you.”
Philosopher John Dewy believed morality like language is relative to a culture,
and therefore no one has superior morality. Eastern religions too believe in
relativism. If it’s true that God is everything, it follows that God is also
evil. So Hinduism teaches that good and evil are only illusions. Yen-Men, an
Eastern teacher, writes, “If you wish the plain truth, be not concerned about
right and wrong. The conflict between right and wrong is the sickness of the
mind.” If evil doesn’t exist, then man’s real problem is ignorance. The
solution is enlightenment.
With no objective standard for
right and wrong, hideous crimes can be justified. When the objective standards
of God are thrown out, “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” shouts
repeatedly the horrifying refrain of the book of Judges.
Genesis 3: 6, "When the woman saw
that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and
that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate;
and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.” This is the subtle
result of Satan’s lies. Eve is tempted and is attempting to sort out the
temptation within herself without referring to God’s word. When we ignore God’s
word in moral choices, our human inclination is to think and to feel, not obey.
God’s word was specific. “Do not eat.” But Eve liked the looks of the fruit and
Adam caved to her desire. The words of God were not as important as the right
sensation and Eve’s own logic. We hear this philosophy today in the words of
Woody Allen, “The heart wants what it wants.” Satan deceives with pleasure as
the highest good and human thought as reasonable, while targeting God’s word as
limiting, unreasonable, and/or false.
Some have sought to adjust
hedonism by suggesting that we should maximize not individual happiness, but
happiness for the greatest number. This too is dangerous. The problem is that
90 million Germans believed 6 million Jews limited their happiness. The Nazis
then gassed the Jews.
Satan is a liar. The religions
of this world, to this very day, turn on the lies he began in the garden.
*I’m in debt to Erwin Lutzer
for this framework. Lutzer is one of the best teachers on Satan that I’ve