Before the fall of Adam man lived in perfect harmony with God. His whole heart pursued pleasure and was satisfied in God alone. Unfortunately, after the fall, the world was plunged into sin and darkness. Man’s affections were twisted and depraved. Instead of loving and serving God as the Creator of all things, man began to worship the things that had been created. Paul gives us the gory details in Romans 1:21-25:
“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”
Paul says that men know God, but they simply choose to ignore him. Because they choose to live with out him they become foolish and exchange living for God’s glory for living for their own glory. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie. What is this “truth” and “lie” exchange? The key to understanding what truth is exchanged for a lie, is in the subsequent phrase “and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” What would cause men to exchange this truth for a lie? What would cause men to turn from worshiping an eternal God to worshiping temporal things? Sin certainly plays a role, but how? What men exchange is the truth that God is all that man will ever need or want to find soul satisfying pleasure and delight. And what they believe instead is the lie that status and stuff can satisfy just as much, if not more, than God.
This precedent was set for us in Genesis chapter three:
“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’?” And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 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.”’ But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.”
Satan’s line of reasoning was simple. “God is a liar; he is holding out on you. He is not everything you need for your soul to be satisfied. There is something else, something created that can give you real joy.” Satan convinced Eve that God was not enough, and Eve fell for it hook, line and sinker. She exchanged the truth that the paradise, which God had created for her with its rules to protect her and keep her best interest in mind, was no longer enough. God was no longer enough. Instead she gave herself completely to the lie that by eating the forbidden fruit she would become like God; perhaps she could make a paradise that was even better with her own rules of right and wrong and where she could look out for her own interests. She wanted to be the god of her world; that would be just as good if not better than obeying God, right? We’ve been feeling the effects of that kind of thinking ever since.