"God Is a Cosmic Sadist"
From Satan's Ten Most Believable Lies
False doctrine is foolish and, if followed, finally fatal. The first appearance of this deadly commodity was in the Garden of Eden. It came in the form of a lie about God and took root when our all-too-easily subvertible parents began to believe the false view about God, themselves, life, and divine purpose. The devils doctrines are that ultimate set of false views that he constantly attempts to insinuate into the thinking of men. Far more than witchcraft or magic, Satan uses almost true intellectual propositions to appeal to reasonable people. His most effective work is donenot in saloons and brothelsbut in the minds of men. He is a destroyer of truth. He is a liar from the beginning. He is a pushernot merely of marijuana or heroinbut of false propositions. He promotes an addiction to lies.
Thankfully, the Bible makes a number of plain statements that quote the devil himself. We are able thereby to know the propositional falsehoods that Satan pushes. Contrasting these doctrines with sound biblical doctrine will equip us more than any other way to resist our hateful enemy.
The first doctrine that Satan categorically expresses in the Bible is found in the opening words of his conversation with Eve, the mother of the human race. With the voice of the serpent, he speaks to her, saying, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? Many hold that Satan is simply casting doubt on the truth of the statements of God. He is certainly doing that, but he is also operating on a deeper level than merely the production of doubt.
Satan is actually making the suggestion that would amount to, Isnt God really saying that you cannot eat of any of the fruit of the Garden? The Living Bible puts it well, saying, The serpent was the craftiest of all the creatures the Lord God had made. So the serpent came to the woman. Really? He asked. None of the fruit in the garden? God says you mustnt eat any of it? (Genesis 3:1).
What a clever ploy! The enemy suggests that God is a moral tyrant, so bluenosed that He has forbidden His creatures any enjoyment whatsoever. The implication is that God filled the Garden with a delightful array of delicious fruits to taunt man, forbidding him to eat of any of these fruits. God is therefore a negativist who made man merely to frustrate him. He is a cosmic sadist, inflicting an impossible set of rules and punishments upon man. God is therefore impossible to please, a total tyrant, so the best thing to do is to chuck the whole thing as of right now.
From her reaction, we see that Eve was ever so slightly attracted to this proposition, partially subverted by the first lying suggestion of Satan. She responds by saying, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
To Eves credit, she correctly recalls the words of God concerning what fruit is to be eaten and what is not. God has been essentially positive about this instruction. He had said, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die. Eve quoted God correctly as to His permission to eat of the trees of the Garden.
But after this, she reaches a critical point and begins to slip. The beginning of her defection from truth follows when she misrepresents God as saying, neither shall ye touch it. This was not part of the original instructions. This statement by Eve represents a concession to the God-is-a-sadist suggestion of Satan. She has moved an inch in Lucifers direction.
What is the truth of the matter concerning privilege and prohibition? The fact is that God had been almost totally permissive in His instructions. He noted the large number of trees and plants bearing delicious fruit that grew across the wide expanse of the Garden of Eden. There are hundreds of varieties of fruits known to man today. We may be sure that each of these and possibly more were represented in their most luscious form in Eden. About all of these and their enjoyments God had said a resounding Yes, they are all yours; go ahead and eat them and enjoy them to the full.
Before Adam and Eve was the possibility of many delicious involvements in eating the fruit of the Garden. The instructions that God had given werewith but one exceptionon the positive, permissive side. God had in effect said, Im for you! I made you with palates to enjoy the exquisite sweetness of the strawberry and the grape. The tart delight of the crab apple, the bananas, oranges, pearsthey all are yours. Every physical gratification was given to the couple in the Garden. Every pleasure, every fulfillment was theirs.
Concerning only one tree in the Garden God had said, But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die. It is clear that almost everything in the environment of Adam and Eve was covered by Gods permission, even His encouragement. One prohibition as against hundreds of permissions is approximately the moral formula of Eden. There was only one way in which Adam and Eve could sin, that, of course, was in eating the forbidden fruit, on everything else all systems were go.
Satans trick was to reverse all of this and turn the permissions of God into prohibitions. Everything is a no-no, Satan is implying. God doesnt love you; He hates you and toys with you. He gave you an appetite so He could starve you. He gave you life only that He may better enjoy your death. Satan, his own mind already distorted with the workings of sin, successfully stamped this perverted view of God into the thinking of Eve.
An understanding of this doctrine (that God is a prohibionist) is most useful information in the situation in which we find ourselves. Is Satan still pushing this doctrine? Indeed he is.
In our time, both the world and the church seems to have conspired to present the gracious Creator of the universe as a tyrant. The image that many have of Him is that of a despot in heaven looking down at people having fun, quickly moving to break up the game. Believing this satanic distortion, modern Adams and Eves quickly turn from grateful appreciation of their wide privileges to a fatal resentment of the few things that are forbidden to them.
For instance, I have often talked with a college student and listened to the philosophy that he has developed under the influence of his educational environment. He has opportunities most young people have never known. His university has millions of dollars in building and equipment, libraries full of books, air-conditioned classrooms, and knowledgeable professors who pass on their wisdom and experience to him. His education is funded by the taxes and contributions that come from thousands of people who he will never see. As a result, he is given leisure time and educational resources from which, if he chose, he could become a worthy scholar. God and society are saying yes in a thousand ways to him. Go! Do! Be! Expand your mind! Increase the breadth of your vision and ability. The world is yours; go and take it! Society is pouring privileges upon this student almost beyond measure.
Then I have sadly noted that a new voice is heard within this young mind. It whispers like it has done before, Youre nothing but a patsy. Privilege? Ha! This is a trick to make you a pawn of the establishment. God doesnt love you; He hates you, and so does society. All of these gifts and opportunities are the crumbs that fall from the table of the rich. You are the object of a vicious conspiracy. You are a fool to believe that anyone gets so much for so little. With frightening predictability, our young student believes this. The devil has subverted him, He listens with keener interest to the voice that says, So look, revolution is the way to go. Smash the establishment! Liberate! The way to build is to destroy! Ashes are the steps to the future.
So the author of all evil, whose own heart is filled with violence, seduces legions to follow him. With neat finesse, he is often able to introduce drugs, illicit sex, and even violent crime as authentic moral symbols of that righteous rebellion. Only too much later does Satans hapless victim realize, as he stands amid the wreckage of his life, that he has been duped by the devil. He has been consumed by the fire that he started when he began to listen to the whispered suggestions of the evil one.
Rejecting a hundred permitted things and reaching for one forbidden thing is a common characteristic of the human race from earliest childhood through all of life. How many a loving family circle has been blasted apart because of a foolish father who was tricked by the devil into a mistaken attitude about the delights and privileges available to him. With Satans help, he fantasizes that the lust of a moment can somehow be better than these. He believes the devils doctrine that God is a moral tyrant whose law deserves to be broken. So the devil makes a fool of him.
Even the little child experiences Satans doctrine. Forbidden to reach into the flame of a candle but given a dozen toys to play with, his furtive glance turns from his toys, and he looks with desire at the beckoning flame. In some simple but perverse way, he believes that the candle flame is a joy that he really deserves. His parents have said yes to a hundred things and no to one. And all of these present toys are inferior to that. When his parents back is turned, he reaches for the flickering flame. The results are sharp and immediate.
The searing results of sin are not usually so painful and immediate. The normal results of most kinds of sin in our present world are progressive in time and achieve their final fatality in eternity. Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death (James 1:15). It is true that the wages of sin is death, but God in His mercy often delays the final payoff in order to give us time to repent. This temporary period of reflection that is given to us by the grace of God, following an act of sin, is misinterpreted by some. They argue from the lack of apparent consequences of a given sin that nothing really happened and, therefore, of a given sin that nothing really happened, and therefore, the prohibitions of God were not really that serious. Under this foolish line of logic, many have interpreted the patience of God as inefficiency, weakness, or inattention on His part. As against this, we have the clear warning of Scripture, My spirit shall not always strive with man (Genesis 6:3).
Nevertheless, despite every evidence of the grace of God, man again and again feels rising within him the sense that all is forbidden and everything is sin, therefore whats the use! His attitude amounts to the familiar bromide, Everything I enjoy is either illegal, immoral, or fattening.
When man starts to think negatively about God, he finds himself in the beginning of his real trouble. In his bitterness, he no longer feels Gods warm sunshine or His gentle rain. The beauty and blessedness of all that is permitted to him gradually turns to the ashes of resentment. He becomes a total cynic. He feels it is a ridiculous proposition to suggest that the best things in life are free.
But it is still true; the best things in life are free. Take another look! Is it not true that each of us is surrounded with a thousand potential fulfillments that we could miss because of a sick preoccupation with a single fascinating garbage heap? How long since we rejoiced in the budding newness of springtime? What pornographic movie can compare to three nights of Kansas sunsets? What stick of marijuana can bring a natural high like jogging in the surf? What floor show in Las Vegas can reproduce a turn-on comparable to a single reading of C. S. Lewiss Four Loves?
The things freely given to us by God are infinitely greater than the necessary and protective prohibitions of life. The problem is that Satan inflames our resentment about how wrong it is for God to say, Thou shalt not commit adultery, or, Thou shalt not steal, or Thou shalt not kill. These simple prohibitions are obviously made for our own good.
Every parent has been accused, You never let me do anything! when he was imposed upon by what he considered a minor prohibition. Satan wants us to accuse God of the same thing.
In this first doctrine, then, Satan promotes a lie. He changes a specific law to a general prohibition. Any person who believes that God is a tyrant and that He is against us has been subverted by this first satanic doctrine. Notice the contrast in the promise of the Bible, Delight thyself also in the lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart (Psalm 37:4). No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11). If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:31-32). All things are lawful unto me, says Paul, but all things are not expedient (1 Corinthians 6:12). God is the God of permission, not prohibition. The Scripture says that God giveth us richly all things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17). God say yes one hundred times for every one time that He says no. Even when He says no, He still allows us to disobey Him, providing of course, we are willing to pay the consequences, which is also an evidence of His grace.
Notice, however, by the nature of these promises, that there has been a subtle change in the order of things since the days of Adam and Eve. When they sinned, they brought into the world a spiritual infection, a moral imbalance that makes it necessary for us to sound a warning about the nature of permission and prohibition in our time. While it was possible for Eve to sin in only one way, it is possible for us to sin in a thousand ways. Therefore, by infecting the world with sin, his infernal majesty has almost brought to pass what he suggested to Eve as being true. In contrast to the Garden of Eden, it is true in our present age that almost everything is indeed wrong. Even the plowing of the wicked is sin (Proverbs 21:4). The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord (Proverbs 15:8). All those things that are not of faith are sin (Romans 14:23). We who are the heirs to Adam and Even are under the nearly total prohibition of God, and we do not move from prohibition to permission until we disavow the kingdom of darkness and move into the kingdom of light. We must go back to innocence before the first permissions of God can apply in our lives.
The only way then for us to reenter that state of spiritual innocence is by receiving Jesus Christ as Savior. The call from the slavery of sin into the freedom from which we were created is implicit in the invitation of Christ, Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out (John 6:37). God makes clear the utter necessity of receiving His grace and permission by receiving Christ. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life (1 John 5:12). He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him (John 3:36). He that believeth on him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3:18).
When our parents sinned, they moved all of humanity into the horrible slave market of sin. In this slave market, we were born in it, we live; and in it we die, unless we are purchased from these sinful environs. When we receive Christ, we are set free from the bondage of sin, and we move from total prohibition to wide permission under the umbrella of the grace of God. Obviously, only the Christian can see God as He really is, a gracious and loving personal Being!
Satan is a liar when he continues to insist that God is a tyrant and all is prohibited. There are a few people who know and can prove that his satanic doctrine is a lie. These few are growing in number every day. They are called Christians.
Satan's Ten Most Believable Lies