|Volume 20 Number 2 February 2018||
Brian R. Kenyon
When Satan finally got Eve to seriously doubt both the goodness of God and His instruction to eat of every tree in the Garden of Eden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he said to her, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5). Satan explained that Eve would not actually die, contradicting what God said (Genesis 2:16-17). Satan went on to explain that God did not actually want good for Eve. After all, according to Satan, God knew the benefits she would gain from the fruit, and He did not want her to have anything good.
Adding to the deception, what Satan explained seemed to be true. Adam did not physically die until over 500 years later (Genesis 5:5). Adam and Eve did become like God, in the sense that they did know “good and evil” after eating that fruit (Genesis 3:22).
However, what Eve thought was a bargain did not work out very well (Genesis 3:6-24)! She and Adam were taken by the Satan explanation! We must not let anyone talk us out of what the Bible plainly teaches, whether it be on salvation, the necessity of baptism, church organization or marriage-divorce-and-remarriage.
Most Bible doctrines are very easy to understand. We need help to misunderstand—and plenty of that kind of help is available. However, let us stand on God’s Word and not be taken by the Satan explanation!
Another year has gone, and that is another reminder of just how fleeting our time on earth is. As James said, “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). The brevity, the frailty and the uncertainty of life ought to check the vanity and presumptuous confidence of every individual. However, almost all people go about with the evident expectation of continued living in this passing world, without realizing that the human life is like a vapor that appears for a while and then vanishes away. We may plan what we intend to do in the next few weeks or months, but anything may happen to prevent us from doing that. The point is that we have no certainty of life. We know nothing of tomorrow, and certainly not of a year into the future (Proverbs 27:1).
While man’s physical life is uncertain (1 Peter 1:24), his spiritual life is certain. Having been created, in the beginning, in the image and after the likeness of God, His Creator (Genesis 1:26-27), man is destined to live forever, like His Maker. The end of physical life for man on earth is not the end of man’s existence. There is no power on earth that can obliterate man’s spiritual existence. The physical life of man vanishes away as to this world, but there is a life that will continue in the other, spiritual world.
Yet, since this life is so uncertain, it concerns us all to prepare and lay up in store for eternity. The irony, however, is that man is trying to save the one he cannot save, and in the process, he is losing the other, the spiritual and the eternal, which he must save. The need for preparation of the life to come is of no importance to earthly and materialistic men. Nonetheless, compared to eternity, we are here on this earth for a precious few moments. When Christ was on this earth, He taught, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15). The material things of this world are not as important as eternity, where every person must enter and live forever after the life of this earth is over (Matthew 25:46).
So, “What is your life?” Is it focused on the things of this earth, or on things heavenly in preparation for eternity? The apostle Paul warned, by saying, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” (Galatians 6:7-8). Wasted years of seeking the earthly and temporal thing, wasted opportunities of choosing the physical over the spiritual, characterize the majority of human existence.
Yet, Christ taught, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). The soul of man, which man in the beginning received directly from God (Genesis 2:7), is the most precious and valuable commodity on earth. That’s why to redeem man from sin, God allowed His Only Begotten Son to leave Heaven and come down to Earth to save man from the wages of sin. He gave Him to suffer and die for us as the great propitiation for the sins of the world (John 3:16; 1 John 2:2). Man’s life in this world is uncertain, but eternity, where every person will enter to live forever, is sure and certain. Why not accept God’s gift of eternal life in Heaven (Romans 6:23) by believing in His Son and obeying His commands (Mark 16:16)? Thereafter, live in Him by a faithful life to Him until death (Revelation 2:10). Act while there is still time and opportunity!