When Adam and Eve rejected the council of God and ate the fruit from the tree in the midst of the garden, which God told them not to eat, by their willful action they unwittingly said “we do not know or love God well enough to take Him at His word alone.” By this distancing action they pushed God off His rightful place on the thrones of their lives, moved away from the bond of friendship with God built upon mutual trust, and thereby damaged the basis of their relationship with God. In unspoken words, Adam and Eve said loudly by their action: “we will trust the word of this seemingly better informed serpent instead.” This fundamental, ill-fated decision left mankind “high-and-dry”, having eyes now opened to the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:8), but without having the divine character capacity to independently be able to cope with the new position of being our own gods.
Lucifer successfully got mankind to join his rebellion, by cleverly tempting us with the seeming allurement of the power of possessing an upper management position over the destinies of our lives, which we are not qualified to occupy. Because none of us comes with the Operator’s Manual of how we are individually and uniquely supposed to function, the knowledge of good and evil without the Manufacturer’s Instructions is essentially worthless. The long, sad history of mankind struggling unsuccessfully to achieve peace, harmony, security, and happiness as the sole managers of the purpose and direction of our lives is a manifestation of the unbalanced spiritual condition of mankind trying to live above ourselves as gods, instead of as the potentially wonderful and remarkable human beings that God created us to be.
The Genesis 3:5 temptation in the Garden of Eden had pinpoint accuracy. Lucifer crafted a cleverly designed temptation of mankind that is still functioning well even today. Sitting atop the thrones of our lives is still as strong a temptation as ever. Lucifer knew where to attack non-divine human beings created with free-will. Intellectually convince someone today that the gospel is true, and at the end of the discussion that person can still decide to reject Christ because they do not want to give up control over their lives.
The in-built drive for excellence that God placed within each one of us, lies at the center of the enticing temptation Lucifer offered in his deceptive short-cut around God to obtain the position of being gods onto ourselves. If our God-created inner drive for excellence was not so strong, this temptation to eat the forbidden fruit would never have gotten traction with Adam and Eve. If the opportunity to jump at the chance to possess a knowledge of good and evil as our own gods was not so appealing, Adam and Eve would have brushed off this whole encounter with Lucifer in the Garden as nothing immediately important, and would have simply remarked that they would discuss this issue with God and then get back to Lucifer in the near future.
The temptation in the Garden of Eden was a brilliantly aimed, well-executed assault using genuine insight into the nature of superbly crafted human beings made in the image of God, possessing free-will. This is why spiritual rebellion on earth is as alive and well today as ever.