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As I Was Saying is a forum for a variety of perspectives to foster faith-related conversations among our readers with the goal of mutual learning, even in disagreement. Apart from articles written by editorial staff, these perspectives do not necessarily reflect the views of The Banner.

Genesis 3:1-7 tells the story of the fall.

Have you ever considered how the Genesis story of the fall of humanity into sin is a perfect lesson on the nature of today’s conspiracy-saturated world? The devil in the guise of the snake laid out the basic elements of what every conspiracy needs to gain legs and create ruin.

First, to deceive Adam and Eve he told them a half-truth mixed with a lie. Every conspiracy in the history of the world has done that. It’s what sucks people in, the half-truths.

Second, he questioned the legitimacy of the truth they knew by doubting the authority of the source it came from. In this case the source was God.

Third, he seduced them by appealing to their passions and desires to do exactly the opposite of what they knew they should do. Every conspiracy, if it is going to gain a hearing and spread, will always appeal to our passions and prejudices, even when we know better.

The devil is the great deceiver (Rev. 20:10). His game is to distort the truth with lies. He is, after all, the Father of lies (John 8:44). Remember when Satan tempted Jesus on the pinnacle of the Temple by this method (Matt. 4:6-7)? The devil even quoted Psalm 91:1. But Jesus answered him back with God’s Word from Deuteronomy 6:16: “It is written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

In Genesis 3, Satan questioned the trustworthiness of God’s word. He did this by telling Adam and Eve a slanted truth, but not its terrible consequences. The consequence of this fatally wrong choice is what would cause the horrific bloodbath that became the rest of human history. The choice of Adam and Eve to become gods in their own opinions rather than trusting in the perfect judgment of God their creator is what brought about the sinful fall of humanity. And it still does!

Conspiracies always work best when they seduce us by our passions and prejudices. The Apostle James tells us that “each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:14-15).

The Devil purposely uses our passions and desires to deceive us. He knows what buttons to push in each one of us. He knows what will catch our attention and distract us from the way of Jesus and his gospel. Again, the devil is the father of lies and the seduction of a conspiracy is one of his tools. And for many people, the truth doesn’t really matter when the lie fits better with how we’d prefer to see the world. But that’s not the way of Jesus. For Jesus declared that it is the truth that sets us free (John 8:32). In Christ, the truth always matters.

Finally, we are warned by the Apostle Paul that, “for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness” (2 Cor. 11:14-15). This is the great challenge for every Christian in every age and in every culture. The challenge of discerning those who are out to deceive us by the appeal of the conspiratorial lie that suits our prejudicial view of the world around us. We are called to be always watching out for this (1 Peter 5:8). And I’d say that our present day and time in history, with the power of social media, is a time that calls for the greatest amount of diligence in discerning the difference between the truth and the lie (2 Thess. 2:9-12).

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