Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” Genesis 3:1
This passage raises a lot of questions. Some people become curious and ask, “Well, why did God permit Satan to lure Eve into sin? Why did Satan appear to Eve in the form of a serpent instead of some other animal?”
No one can explain why God permits things to happen. No one understands what he does or why he does it. So we should remember the lesson that Job learned: no one can summon God into court to account for what he does or allows to happen. We might as well argue with him about why the grass and trees aren’t green all year long. It’s enough for us to know that all these things are under God’s power. He can do as he pleases. Idle curiosity causes guessing and questioning. Since we are merely clay in God’s hands (Isaiah 64:8), we should avoid debating these matters. We can’t sit in judgment over the all-knowing God. Instead, we should allow him to judge us.
The only satisfactory answer to these and similar questions should be that it pleased God for Adam to be tempted in order to test his ability to resist. That is how God still works today. After we have been baptized and brought into Christ’s kingdom, God doesn’t want us to become idle. Instead, he wants us to pay attention to his Word and make use of his gifts. So even today, he allows poor, weak people like us to be sifted and strained by the devil.
Edited by James C. Galvin
Timeless insights from one of the most important people in church history. Resounding across the centuries, Martin Luther’s prolific writings as a pastor, theologian, scholar, Bible translator, father, and more, remain powerful and richly relevant. Faith Alone is a treasury of accessible devotionals taken from Luther’s best writings and sermons from the years 1513 through 1546. This carefully updated translation retains the meaning, tone, and imagery of Luther’s works such as this gem:
Some people value good works so much that they overlook faith in Christ. Faith should be first. It is faith—without good works and prior to good works—that takes us to heaven. We come to God through faith alone. —Martin Luther
Through daily readings, Luther’s straightforward approach challenges you to a more thoughtful faith. Read one brief section a day or explore themes using the subject index in the back of the book. Faith Alone will deepen your understanding of Scripture and help you more fully appreciate the mystery of faith.