I want to expose the biggest lie ever to have been fabricated in the history of mankind. A lie which deceived Eve in the garden of Eden, a lie that succeeded in convincing Eve that she was immortal.
The deception and the consequent disobedience resulted in the fall, Adam and Eve’s punishment by Almighty God, their being banished form the Garden of Eden and their ultimate death and a curse coming upon the whole world. We see how serious and damaging the consequences of the deception of one person. We all suffer today the consequences of one person being deceived by Satan’s lie that man is immortal.
This lie was in direct contradiction to the clear unequivocal statement of the only true God: “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou may freely eat:” Genesis 2:17 “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it YOU SHALL SURELY DIE.” [Heb: dying thou shalt die] (Genesis 2:16)
God warned Adam that if he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he would surely die. Satan’s plan to deceive was accomplished when he simply added one small word to God’s Holy word, the word “NOT.” I believe that Satan is still saying “not” to every promise of a Holy Faithful God whose word cannot be broken. So let us remind ourselves that, “No matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘yes’ in Messiah. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God.” (2 Corinthians 1:20)
As we have seen the first person to teach the immortality of man was the father of lies himself Satan, who Jesus said had been a liar from the beginning. Yet his outrageous and crafty deception in contrast to the clear unambiguous word of God has been swallowed by millions if not billions of people.
Holy scripture makes it cleat that “only GOD has immortality.” (1 Timothy 6:16)
If man is to become immortal he must seek for it as Paul told the believers in Rome: “To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life.” (Romans 2:7)
And as Paul told the believers in Corinth – corruptible, mortal man must put on incorruption and immortality: “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” (1 Corinthians 15:53)
“So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:54)
Immortality can only be obtained though the gospel: “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” (2 Timothy 1:10)
When Satan deceived Eve, he also attacked the character of a Holy, righteous and just God. “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’”
Satan here implies that God is preventing Adam and Eve from enjoying the fruit of every tree in the garden – Satan implies that God is strict and hard and ungenerous and is keeping Adam and Eve from being like Him by misleading those created by God in His own image.
“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 3:5 “You will NOT surely die” declares Satan.
And this deception still attacks the character of a Holy God, implying that He is a liar, ungenerous legalistic and hard, and doesn’t want the creatures He has created in His image to be like Him.
Satan uses his teaching that man is immortal to plant the error of eternal torment in the heart of man, so implying the God is heartless and cruel, infinitely worse that Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini all rolled in to one, for they could only torment human beings while they were alive – but God is going to torment weak and lost human beings for the whole of eternity. See how Satan has used his false teaching that man is immortal to attack the character of a Holy God.
The story that is most often used to support the doctrine of eternal torment is the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke Chapter 16, but please note that the word ‘eternal’ is never once used in this story to describe the length of the rich mans sufferings. We need to remind ourselves that the story was spoken to the Pharisees, and scripture tells us that Jesus never spoke to them without a parable and the His purpose in using parables was to hide truth from them. (Matthew 13:10-15)
The Pharisees revered Abraham, isn’t it interesting therefore that in the story of the rich man and Lazarus that Abraham refuses the appeal to send Lazarus to preach eternal torment, and he dismissed the appeal with the simple statement: “They have Moses and the prophets; let them listen to them.”
The rich man said “but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.” Abraham replied, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” (Luke 16:30-31)
Here Abraham is saying that if they didn’t listen to Moses and the Prophets they wouldn’t believe if someone rose from the dead (as Jesus in fact did). So Abraham said if they didn’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, they wouldn’t believe if someone rose from the dead (Jesus) which of course turned out to be quite true, they didn’t.
It is beyond refute that nowhere in Moses or in any of the prophets is eternal torment taught. The problem the Pharisees had was that they didn’t know Moses and the prophets properly and therefore swallowed the false teaching of eternal torment brought in by Greek philosophy.
In Moses we read that:
God said, “You will surely die.” Satan said, “You will NOT surely die.”
I know who I believe. Who do you believe?