Serpent in the Garden
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” – Genesis 3:1-5
Relativism is a philosophical concept that says: “All truth claims are subjective and relative to the perception of an individual.” Without us knowing it, we are practicing and being ensnared by this concept. Moreover, it’s present even inside the so-called evangelical church. Ever heard of someone saying; “This is my stand and that is your stand, my conviction, your conviction. Let’s just respect each others’ conviction”? Most of the time, relativism disguises arrogance with humility, lie with obscurity, and accusations with so-called curious inquiries. It is the serpent lurking in the Eden of our being.
The serpent started out with a question; “Did God actually say…?” This seemingly innocent question is suggesting more or less to what has been said by God. It questions not only whether what God says is true or false, but also whether can we know if that is true or false. It could be true to you or false to me, and the only way to know is to try.
Then the serpent says; “You will not surely die.”. Now let’s give the serpent the credit for telling “a true” statement. Because it is true that they will not surely die, at least not in the physical sense immediately. But notice that I didn’t say that he told “the truth”. “The truth” is an objective reality that unites all true propositions in a coherent whole. Nothing is left out. You can’t mixed it with lies. Satan will only give you a half truth but not the whole truth. The serpent disguised the lie with obscurity and vague statements, and not say what he meant by not dying.
Relativism disguises arrogance with humility, lie with obscurity, and accusations with so-called curious inquiries.
After misrepresenting what God says, he then accused God of hiding something from them. The serpent deliberately withheld some of the facts, and now shifts the blame and goes on saying; “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil”, as if God is the one who withholds the truth.
There is a sense that one of the effects of the fall is relativism. Defining what is good and what is evil for ourselves. If there is no absolute truth, no one is in charge, we are in charge. But the only way to fight relativism is to expose the system. Clear the fog of lies with the Word of truth! God did not stutter, He has spoken clearly and not vaguely.