The Serpent beguiled Eve into discussing God’s dietary restrictions for her and her husband in the Garden of Eden. One commentator suggests “Here’s where Eve made her first mistake—SHE THOUGHT SHE COULD REASON WITH THE SERPENT. She told the serpent that not all of the trees were forbidden and explained the consequences of eating from the tree of good and evil. A big mistake. There’s a time to talk and there’s a time to walk. This was the time to walk. Actually, it was the time to run. In 1 Timothy 6:11, Paul wrote, ‘But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.’”[1] But Eve got carried away with her conversation probably watched the Serpent take a bite out of the fruit (whatever it was!) and smack his lips and say “see it’s perfectly safe to eat.” So it was edible! But it was not only edible, but it was also “delectable.” Maybe she got that from watching the Serpent express great satisfaction and delight in taking a bite. But the next thing that the Text says in Genesis 3:6 is that Eve noticed that the fruit “..was a delight to the eyes…”

Fruchtenbaum points out, “The first phrase of Genesis 3:6: And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, corresponds to the first phrase of 1 John 2:16: the lust of the flesh. The second phrase of Genesis 3:6: and that it was a delight to the eyes, corresponds to the second phrase of 1 John 2:16: the lust of the eyes.”[2] Eve seems to have had a sense of aesthetics already. She knew what was beautiful. According to Webster a beautiful thing is “…possessing qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, think about, etc.; delighting the senses or mind.” Noticing something beautiful arouses a desire in man to possess it.  Beauty all around us is used by Satan to arouse a covetous desire to possess what we see. I see a beautiful flower, I need to pick it. If one sees a beautiful girl, as David viewed Bathsheba, his mind said I “must have this.” This is the phrase that Samson used when pleading with his parents to get the philistine woman for him: “I must have her.”  In the case of “delectable” food, “I must eat it!” The lie is that I must have this to be happy. The truth is the things of this world, no matter how beautiful they are, will not make us happy. Therefore one of the big ten is “Thou shalt not covet.”

Simply put, the lust of the eyes is the sinful desire to possess what we see or to have those things which have visual appeal. This coveting of money, possessions, or other physical things is not from God, but from the world around us. They are physical things we see or experience with our senses. They are not objects of faith. Paul tells the Corinthians in his second letter 4:18, “…we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

[1] Wilson, Jim L. 2009. Fresh Sermons. Fresno, CA: Willow City Press.

[2] Fruchtenbaum, Arnold G. 1983. The Messianic Bible Study Collection. Vol. 21. Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries.