Worldly lusts oppose God’s will. Those who yield to them are never satisfied, just as hell is always hungry for more inhabitants. Lust can never be satisfied. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:16-17).
Satan tempts us in three areas of lust; by using the same lie he told Adam and Eve. We can benefit from studying how this hostile fallen angel struck at God through the man and woman He had created and loved: “…And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat” (Genesis 3:4-6).
Notice Satan’s method of tempting Adam and Eve. First, he challenged God’s Word and cast doubt upon His judgment and goodness. Next, he placed three temptations before her through the lust of the flesh (Eve saw that “the tree was good for food”), the lust of the eyes (it was “pleasant to the eyes”), and the pride of life (it was “a tree to be desired to make one wise”). Our desires for the things of the world tempt us today as stated in James 1:14: “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” The “world” consists of the systems of fallen human society without God: education, science, arts, religious systems, politics, etc. This “world” is controlled by Satan. Many of us do not realize that when we touch the things that make up fallen society, we touch the power of Satan. Therefore, we become independent in the way that we use them, if we do not put them under the power and direction of God. God does not want to deny us these things, but if we do not allow Him to rule over us as we partake of them, they become like forbidden fruit to us.
I do not believe that God intended to forever deny man access to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, but He had a plan that would have opened his eyes to good and evil in time; when human beings had matured enough to be able to live with that knowledge. By eating prematurely from that tree, it brought death instead of wisdom, just as God warned. Physical death did not come immediately, but spiritual death did, as man could no longer face God. Fear and shame is the fruit of sin. If we fellowship with God on a daily basis, we find that there is simply no guilt that troubles us. However, when we sin and do not repent, we run from the presence of God just as Adam and Eve did.