Rationalizing Sin
Genesis 3 has been labeled by some as the saddest chapter in the Bible. It is the chapter where sin was first committed in the world. It is where mankind fell from God's grace for the first time and embraced iniquity instead of continuing on the path of faithful obedience to the Lord.

The first six verses read as follows - "Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, 'Has God indeed said, "You shall not eat of every tree of the garden"?' And the woman said to the serpent, 'We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, "You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die."' Then the serpent said to the woman, 'You will not surely die. 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.' So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate."

There is much that could be said about these verses, but our focus at this time will be upon the words, thoughts, and actions of Eve. The mother of all humanity started off well by correctly declaring to Satan what she could and could not do. God had granted Adam and Eve the authority to eat of the fruit of any tree--except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Although Eve knew this, Satan lied to her and sowed the seeds of doubt in her mind. She soon believed that God was withholding a blessing from them and that death would not be forthcoming if they tasted the fruit.

The devil's lies often deceive people and lead them into illicit desires. In Eve's case, she desired the forbidden fruit. The Holy Spirit, through the writer Moses, clearly conveys her thoughts at the time. The fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was in Eve's mind: (1) "good for food", (2) "pleasant to the eyes", and (3) "desirable to make one wise" (3:6).

Do you see what happened back in the garden on this occasion? Eve decided that she wanted to try the forbidden fruit. She attempted to rationalize the sin to herself in three ways. The fruit was food and therefore appealing to her appetite. This was the lust of the flesh at work. The fruit was also aesthetically tantalizing. This was the lust of the eyes at work. Finally, the fruit was desired for what it could impart intellectually. This was the pride of life at work.

Although it was only a piece of fruit, it was difficult for Eve to say no to the enticement. She convinced herself of all the positive qualities the forbidden fruit had to offer and then took a bite in direct violation to God's command. She rationalized her actions to herself but that didn't justify her behavior (or Adam's poor leadership in allowing her to partake and then participating himself at her encouragement).

When we read this narrative, it is so easy to see where Eve went wrong. Tragically, the devil is still hunting down human prey each and every day with this same approach. He tempts us with his lies and hopes that our lustful and pride-filled ways will convince us that sin is not so bad. The words that the apostle wrote in I John 2:15-17 are as true today as they would have been in Eve's day - "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." Friends, learn from Eve's mistake and be warned. Be a doer of God's will; don't fool yourself into rationalizing sin!