This is an original featured guest article written by J. T. Anderson from SavingEve.net. It covers a simple, yet profound theory of game strategy based on an exegesis of Genesis 3 (the temptation of Eve, which led to the fall of mankind). An emphasis is placed on the destructive nature of this particular game strategy. This deconstruction serves to expose the works of darkness, according to Ephesians 5:11-13:
“11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.”
In this post, I’m going to tell you how studying Satan will make you a better husband.
Specifically, I’m going to show you how Satan leads women astray and spoils your happiness. But once you’re able to recognize the early signs of satanic deception, you’ll be prepared to counter it.
Whether your wife is a feminist, a cold fish in the bedroom, or just an all around pain-in-the-ass… it’s probably the result of satanic rhetoric that’s quietly slipping in past your radar.
Sadly, I haven’t seen much serious discussion on this topic in the church, so I’m hoping this article might be a tiny spark that will help trigger a larger discussion.
So let’s dive right in. The text we’ll be examining is Genesis 3:1-6. The pattern of the first deception has been playing out over and over throughout history.
The process of deception unfolds in four phases…
Phase #1: The Restrictive Re-frame
“And he said to the woman, ‘Indeed, has God said, “You shall not eat from any tree of the garden?”’”
Christians often misread this text and miss the point entirely. (The serpent is a crafty one.)
I’ve heard multiple preachers and bloggers teach that the serpent was asking Eve if God really said what he said. Something akin to a Bible trivia game.
So Christians mistakenly think that the way to counter the serpent is simply by knowing what the Bible says. We point to the Bible and say “See! God DID say that!”
But both the serpent and Eve knew about the commandment. There was no point in debating that.
What the serpent is doing is re-framing the command.
What was once a worldview of abundance (“From any tree of the garden you may eat freely”), is now reframed as a worldview of scarcity and restriction (you can’t eat from any tree).
In Robert Cialdini’s book, Pre-suasion, he defines an important persuasion concept called “target chuting.” In response to how a question is phrased, the brain will instinctively create a “chute” to pull up information that confirms the question.
For example, one man could ask another, “It sure is great to have a woman, isn’t it?” And, unless the other was currently frustrated with his wife, he would naturally agree “Yes, I am glad that I have a woman.” And his brain would pull up all kinds of good memories about his wife.
But if a man says to another man, “Women sure are a pain-in-the-ass, aren’t they?” He would, again, agree and his brain would provide him with plenty of examples to confirm the assertion.
This is precisely what the serpent is (maliciously) doing with Eve. He prompts her to focus on what’s missing rather than on the abundance of good things in her life.
And this framing is the perfect set up for the next phase of deception…
Phase #2: The Consequence Denial
“The woman said to the serpent, ‘From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’”
“The serpent said to the woman, ‘You surely will not die!’”
The serpent has aroused Eve’s curiosity, but there’s a problem:
What about that whole dying thing? That doesn’t sound too fun. Maybe we better not…
But the serpent maintains the frame by denying the consequence.
Fear is the strongest motivator for human behavior. If the serpent is going to lead Eve astray, he must alleviate her fears about this new opportunity he’s pitching.
Of course, he has no proof. But, as any keen observer of politics knows, what one lacks in facts can be made up for with audacity!
The serpent’s denial is so brazen that Eve instinctively submits to his frame. One who is that confident surely must know what he’s talking about.
Of course, truth always wins over falsehood in the long-run, so the serpent has to shift her focus to something more interesting…
Phase #3: The Conspiracy (Status Suppression)
“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
It’s natural for human beings to want to increase their status. We all want to be more intelligent, more beautiful, more powerful, etc.
And there’s nothing wrong with these instincts. That’s why they can be used so effectively in deception.
The serpent has a tough sell here. The stakes of deviance are high and all the evidence is on God’s side.
So what does he do?
He changes the focus away from the facts (which are boring) and onto Eve’s personal interest… namely, increasing her status.
The serpent suggests that the fruit will make her wise. Who wouldn’t want to be wise? There’s nothing wrong with that!
And now that we’ve recognized this source of wisdom, who is preventing you from gaining it? Why, it’s God himself of course!
Really, God’s commandment is holding you back from reaching your potential!
This is far more intriguing than discussing the nature of death and whether or not God actually meant what he said.
Now, with Eve’s attention held captive, the serpent is ready to make his offer…
Phase #4: The New Opportunity
And luckily for the serpent, the fruit is just the thing:
“When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate.”
Immediate pleasure with no fear of consequences? Done deal!
Now that the decision is made, the serpent can slip away and let the consequences unfold. His job is done.
In summary, the satanic persuasion formula is:
- Restrictive Reframe – prime her mind to focus on what’s missing or on what is restricted
- Consequence Denial – confidently deny the consequences of deviance and change her focus to…
- Status Suppression – suggest that she is being held back from reaching her potential by the oppressive authority placed over her
- New Opportunity – with her fear alleviated, offer her a new opportunity that gives her immediate pleasure and a (supposed) immediate boost in status
You can observe this pattern play out over and over. It’s about all that Satan can do. He has no truth of his own and the path of death is a tough sell.
The only thing he can do is make the path of life seem so restrictive that any alternative with an element of immediate pleasure is attractive.
Often, Christians are unable to recognize Satan’s deceptive work until it reaches Phase 4. We then respond by doubling down in preaching against the dangers of short-term pleasure.
But by then it’s too late. The response is reactionary and misguided. And all the preaching against the “pleasures of the flesh” only serves to reinforce the restrictive frame that Satan wanted in the first place.
Religious Oppression and Temptation
The most prominent arena of Satan’s craftiness is in religious rhetoric.
Most Christians are taught the Bible through a restrictive filter. Instead of seeing, “you may freely eat of anything except…”, we can only see, “you may not eat…”
Clever people then take these restrictive interpretations and pass them along as catchy religious slogans, further cementing the restrictive view of God’s word in the minds of God’s children.
If you’re familiar with the nature of deception, it should be obvious why this restrictive rhetoric is so dangerous.
- The daughter who believes God only cares about a woman’s ‘modesty’ and ‘chastity’ is primed to embrace the ‘sexual liberation’ of the modern age, or else assume a frigid, prudish stance on sex.
- The son who believes God hates wealth is primed to be led astray by materialism, or self-inflicted poverty.
- The wife who believes God only wants her to be a ‘housekeeper’ is primed to be led astray by feminism, or else ‘do her duty’ with the abject hopelessness of a slave’s mentality.
- The husband who believes God just wants him to ‘control’ his sexual urges is primed to neuter himself and let his family be led astray by more confident men, while simultaneously succumbing to lust and a guilty conscience.
The more restrictive one believes God’s word is, the more likely he or she will be led astray.
And Satan delights in this.
But God is a God of abundance. And his yoke is easy.
Scripture, in its proper frame, is never burdensome. It is liberating and sensible.
But that frame will be constantly attacked and tested by the serpent’s rhetoric. Dealing with this rhetoric is what I like to call a ‘spiritual fitness test’.
In a follow up post, I’m going to describe a framework I believe Christian husbands can use to counter this Satanic deception.
But the first step is awareness:
Can you see how God’s word is being reframed all around you? How what was once liberty has been flipped into a restriction?
If so, you are witnessing the work of the serpent.
For the “how to’s” of countering Satanic deception in your marriage, check out J.T.’s blog at SavingEve.net … a sexual strategy blog for Christian married men.