The story of mankind is an epic tale of truth versus falsehood. Eden, the perfect garden that God planted for Adam, was home to a beguiling serpent whose chief desire was to undermine God’s truth. The fact that the serpent was allowed in the garden that God had declared “good” shows us that He always intended the people He created in His image to be discerners of good and evil.
God’s way of dealing with Adam was straightforward. He created him, provided for him, gave him dominion over the earth, and gave him all the wisdom he needed to do it. Then God gave him a wife, a partner made from his own flesh, to rule with him. Their responsibility was blessedly simple, just believe God’s words and respond accordingly.
We can only speculate as to what kept Adam from entrusting his wife with all the wisdom God had given him, but her response to the lies of the serpent make it clear that he had not. Eve was not stupid. She was inadequately educated. When confronted with alternative “facts” her partial truths could not withstand them. She was deceived. Her husband, in turn, used her failure as an excuse to reject God’s word wholesale.
Without truth everything seems possible, except moral certitude. Setting aside God’s truth opened the floodgates of deception. The effects were far-reaching. The damage began in the first marriage, spread to the first child, and from there touched every relationship on earth and permeated every culture.
Christian discernment has never been more necessary than it is today. With media so diverse, so unaccountable, and so difficult to track, the responsibility for God’s people to discern truth from falsehood feels overwhelming. But the responsibility is the same as it was in Eden. We are responsible for what we take in and from whom. We are responsible to listen carefully to both sides of a matter. As a wise man once said, "The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him." (Proverbs 18.17)
In Scripture God has given us all the wisdom we need to reflect His image in this world. He gives us that wisdom, not to hide away from the world, but to go out into it wiser than Eden’s serpent yet as innocent as doves.
(This article was previously published at www.chicogb.com and has been edited for use here.)