Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Father of Lies


17 And I, Lehi, according to the things which I have read, must needs suppose that an angel of God, according to that which is written, had fallen from heaven; wherefore, he became a devil, having sought that which was evil before God.
18 And because he had fallen from heaven, and had become miserable forever, he sought also the misery of all mankind. Wherefore, he said unto Eve, yea, even that old serpent, who is the devil, who is the father of all lies, wherefore he said: Partake of the forbidden fruit, and ye shall not die, but ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil. (2 Nephi 2:17-18)

I noticed as I was reading these verses that Lehi has just given us a little about premortal life, and even more interesting, he says some of this is according to what he has read. So the brass plates had some info on them about premortal life, particularly the origin of the devil as 1) once being an angel of light, 2) had fallen from heaven, and 3) his fall made him miserable forever, and 4) his goal became to make mankind miserable as well.

Lehi emphasizes the devil is the father of all lies, and reiterates the arguments used to get Eve to partake of the forbidden fruit. It’s sort of an interesting challenge to think about where the lies are.

“ye shall not die” – It is true Adam and Eve did not physically die immediately. Their lives were prolonged so they could repent. But they did die spiritually at once. Did Adam and Eve know that? They may not have, in which case Satan was exploiting terminology and lying in a way they would not have understood yet.

“ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil” – What did Satan mean by “know” here? Know intellectually? If so, Adam and Eve already knew they should not eat the fruit, and Satan was trying to convince them they didn’t really know. Did Satan mean “know by experience”? But you don’t have to do evil to experience it. Sooner or later it will be done to you. Know by doing evil? Does God get to be God by doing both good and evil? By doing good, yes.  By doing evil, no.  Jesus hasn’t done evil, and He is part of the Godhead. So that’s a lie about what it takes to become like God.

In Genesis there is an additional wrinkle thrown in, an implication that God knew eating the fruit would open their eyes, implying He forbade it to keep them out of godhood. The lie there is a malicious slander against God’s motives for forbidding the fruit.

I can see Satan was already attacking what must have been a very visible desire in Adam and Eve to become like God. He was trying to turn them out of the right way.

Another thought I had is about that title “father of lies.”  I wondered who first thought of it, and how they came up with it. In what way was Satan a father of lies? I realized they were comparing how Satan works to the conception process. Satan injects little thoughts/lies in our minds. If we believe those lies, sin conceives in our hearts.  

So now I’ll ask you: how does knowing this help us?