“The devil made me do it!” Ever heard that excuse after catching someone red-handed? Looking into the creation story we find the same excuse coming from Eve after God confronted her (Genesis 3:13):
“Then the Lord God asked the woman, ‘How could you do such a thing?’
‘The serpent tricked me,’ she replied.”
“The serpent made me do it!” is Eve’s way of defending herself, serpent and devil being used interchangeably here.
What would the devil have to say in his defense if asked the very same question? – “Devil, how could you do such a thing?” – It appears that the devil does not have anyone to blame but himself. However, if we’re honest, we are in the same boat with the devil. We really have no excuse for our bad behavior, and hiding behind the devil when we’re caught trespassing doesn’t help at all.
So, what does God do in situations like that? He resorts to punishment. Following His conversation with Eve, God addresses all guilty parties one by one (Genesis 3:14-17):
- Serpent’s judgment: “So the Lord God said to the serpent, “This is your punishment: You are singled out from among all the domestic and wild animals of the whole earth—to be cursed. You shall grovel in the dust as long as you live, crawling along on your belly. From now on you and the woman will be enemies, as will your offspring and hers. You will strike his heel, but he will crush your head.”
- Woman’s judgment: “Then God said to the woman, ‘You shall bear children in intense pain and suffering; yet even so, you shall welcome your husband’s affections, and he shall be your master.’”
- Man’s judgment: “And to Adam, God said, ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate the fruit when I told you not to, I have placed a curse upon the soil. All your life you will struggle to extract a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, and you shall eat its grasses. All your life you will sweat to master it, until your dying day. Then you will return to the ground from which you came. For you were made from the ground, and to the ground you will return.’”
Notice that God does not punish everybody equally. His punishment seems to be tailored to one’s individual learning needs. This approach gives me reason to hope. He could have wiped out all of His misbehaving creatures, including the devil, his followers and naturally also God’s latest species – Adam and Eve, aka mankind. Did He do that? Obviously, He did not. If He had extinguished His rebellious creatures right then and there, caught in the act of disobedience, then we would not live to talk about God’s amazing grace!
Anybody going through the arduous loss of an important relationship can probably relate to God’s lament illustrated in Chapter 14 of the book of Isaiah. Here we read God’s journal entry about the loss of a dearly beloved son. He affectionately named him “Son of Morning”, aka Lucifer. His name reflecting the beautiful rising Sun is a love declaration in itself. However, at the time of this writing this relationship is broken. God and Lucifer are no longer together. Loss of a child is a sore wound in any parent’s heart. Those of us who have lost a child share in God’s profound grief.
I have heard people ask the question why in the world would God still put up with Lucifer after all the damage he has done? – I’m turning this question around and say, good thing God hasn’t given up on Lucifer yet. The fact that Lucifer is still around is another walking and talking sign of God’s miraculous love.
Far be it from us to completely understand God’s mysterious ways; but when in doubt we can always default to His tried and true identity: if God had a DNA, then love would be written all over it, because God is love; Love is who God is, it’s the engine of all His thoughts and actions.