The first nine of the Ten Commandments seem to deal solely with our external behavior. But the last one is different. Francis Schaeffer says, “After all the external commandments come the commandment on which all the others rest. Coveting, wanting that which is not properly mine as I stand as a creature before the law of God, is really the basis of all sin, for it is the internal attitude which leads to the external breaking of the other nine commandments.”[1] But Satan gained access to Eve’s will by employing the same tactic he used with Jesus in the wilderness and with each of us in our everyday lives. 1 John 2:16 seems to be John’s commentary on the temptation that Eve underwent at the hands of the Serpent. He writes, “ For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.” Elwell explains the connection, “He (Satan) gained access to her will by a three-fold attack (1) ‘good for food is the lust of the flesh; (2) ‘a delight to the eyes,’ is the lust of the eyes; and (3) ‘to be desired to make one wise,’ is an appeal to the pride of life.”[2]

Genesis 3:6 goes on to say, “…she took of its fruit and ate….” I’m not sure what her thinking process might have included. Still, I can’t help but wonder if Sproul is right, “The hidden agenda was doing its work, suggesting the idea that the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre formalized: If man is not totally free if he does not enjoy autonomy, he is not truly free at all. Unless freedom is absolute, it is but an illusion, a facade hiding the reality of servitude. This was the innuendo of the serpent, a hint received not only by Eve but by all her children. If we consent to our children’s requests fifteen times in a row, then break the streak with one no, the response is immediate: “You never let me do anything!”[3]

Ryrie has something to say about this thought process as well. He writes, “She began to examine the forbidden fruit and to notice all the ‘good’ things about it. After all, she reasoned, wasn’t it good for food, and doesn’t God want us to eat? And shouldn’t a woman want to set before her husband good food for his nourishment? Then she reflected on its beauty, and the same line of argument applied in this respect too. God created a lot of beauty in this world. Why should he withhold this beautiful fruit? Finally, she reasoned that since wisdom is desirable (and it is), and since the fruit would make her wise, it must be desirable to eat the fruit. Gone from her mind was the central fact that God had expressly forbidden the eating of this particular fruit. Quickly forgotten was His specific command. Gone from her thought was the promise of death for disobedience; her mind was filled only with the rationalizations—the fruit will give me physical sustenance, it will cultivate my aesthetic tastes, and it will add to my wisdom. And having pre-justified her action, she ate in flagrant disobedience to the revealed will of God.”[4]

[1] Schaeffer, Francis A. 1982. The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer: A Christian Worldview. Vol. 2. Westchester, IL: Crossway Books.

[2] Elwell, Walter A., and Barry J. Beitzel. 1988. “Genesis, Book Of.” In Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, 1:853. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

[3] Sproul, R. C. 2009. Who Is Jesus?. Vol. 1. The Crucial Questions Series. Lake Mary, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing.

[4] Grace Seminary. 1998. Grace Theological Journal.