It is interesting thinking about Satan’s temptation to Eve (and Adam) in the garden in regards to his strategy. In essence it is, I think, three-fold. First, in his query about eating fruit from any tree in the garden he questions God’s goodness (his character) by implying that God is not good, not generous, and is withholding things of pleasure from Adam and Eve. Second, he denies God’s rule (his word) by saying that God has lied. And third, he offers a new god, new words, and new counsel to listen to; namely his own. Rather than have God and his word rule over them, Satan offers his own rule and words to reign over Adam and Eve.
If you consider Satan’s strategy today, it doesn’t seem very different. If you were to ask someone one the street if they think God is good and generous, I doubt you’d get an affirmative answer. No one believes what is true about the character of God. When we think about God’s word and rule very few, if any, see any amount of authority in it. It holds no sway over people’s lives. So what are we left with? A myriad of new gods to serve and follow since the true God has been rejected and replaced. God’s character is marred, his rule denied, and he is replaced with something/one else. People will have anyone over God.
Well, what is our hope in all of this? It is Jesus, the 2nd Adam. He faced temptations strikingly similar to those in the garden when he was in the wilderness. In Matt 4 we see Satan questioning God’s goodness and generosity as he questions Christ’s lack of food. Surely if God was good he would have provided for his Son so that he was not hungry. He then moves on to deny or challenge God’s rule by tempting Christ to put God to the test. Rather than God sitting as judge over you, put God on trial. And thirdly, Satan offers Christ a new god and supposed blessing and joy along with that. Christ’s response to these temptations is to trust in God’s goodness, to submit to his word and rule, and to worship God alone.
Christ our righteousness!