Half-Truth Consequences

“‘You won’t die!’ the serpent replied to the woman. ‘God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.’”—Genesis 3:4–5 (NLT)

I’ve always felt that the best deceptions are based on truth. This is known as a half-truth. This kind of statement may only be partially true; it’s also possible that the statement itself is totally true but not the whole truth. It may also incorporate some form of deception, such as double meaning or misplaced emphasis. The purpose isn’t to outright lie, but to misrepresent the truth in a way that it fools the listener into believing a false narrative. 

In today’s verse, we see the serpent use half-truths. He says, “You won’t die!” Right now, you may be thinking, That wasn’t a half-truth; it was a full lie. They did die! And you’re right, they eventually died physically 900 years later . . . but the serpent knew they wouldn’t physically die right then and there! So, he gave them a half-truth. 

He didn’t stop there, though, saying, “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” Here’s the thing, though . . . Adam and Eve were already like God! A few chapters prior, we’re told that they were created in His likeness. They were modeled after Him. They were unique and set apart above everything else in creation as the image-bearers of God Almighty. 

And here is where the biggest deception came in: He equated being like God with having knowledge of evil. But that is not what being like God is. You see, God is good. In Him there is NO EVIL. He does not have the kind of intimate knowledge of evil that can only come from experience . . . from doing evil. He intimately knows what is good, right, and true. Anything apart from and opposed to Him and His Word is evil, wrong, and false. And in this case, His Word was, “You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil " (Genesis 2:17 NIV). Up until that point, Adam and Eve were good, like God, never being tainted by evil, never having strayed from God’s Word. 

But then, they knew (יָדַע: yada) evil. This word means to know by experience, to know in one’s heart and soul, to become intimately acquainted. It’s also the same word used for carnal knowledge, for sexual intercourse. Essentially, man who was like God stopped being like God when he got into bed and became one with evil. At that moment, the image of God was stripped away as he laid naked with evil. 

DIG: Why are half-truths so effective? What makes them so easy to fall for? How have you seen this play out in your life? Have you ever been deceived by a half-truth or deceived someone with one?

DISCOVER: Why did Adam and Eve fall for the serpent’s deception when they already had everything they needed and wanted? What did his half-truth offer them that they felt they didn’t have?

DO: For us today, being born again and alive in Christ, I offer this warning: At this moment, the devil is prowling around “like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Do not allow yourself to be swallowed up by his lies and half-truths. Like Jesus in the desert, be ready to fight him off with the good Word of God!

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.