Forbidden Fruit Cocktail - An Evaluation of Persuasion

June 8, 2011
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If you have ever been tempted to do something that is completely off limits, then perhaps you can identify with the famously foolish characters of Adam and Eve and their unfortunate predicament. Yes, the story of Adam and Eve is renowned the world over and, in some religions, explains the reason why we are all cursed with imperfection and death; and it all began with a handful of well-put words. Satan the Devil, described in the book of Revelation as the “Original Serpent,” brought up some points in an attempt to undermine Eve’s loyalty to Jehovah God, and succeeded for several reasons. Satan the Devil succeeded in his persuasion of Adam and Eve because of his crafty use of emotional appeal, loaded words, propaganda, and Attacking the Person.

To begin with, the first reason that Satan succeeded in persuading Adam and Eve was his use of emotional appeal. It is always painful when you feel like you have been duped - and revenge is often a powerful emotion that follows. So said the Devil in Genesis 3:1, “Is it really so that God has said you must not eat from every tree of the garden?” Here he is trying to get Eve to dwell on injustices that weren’t even there. After Eve tells him that God never said that, Satan continued, “You positively will not die” if she ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and bad. Here, not only did Satan become an inventor - the hooligan is referred to later as the “Father of the Lie” - he was telling Eve that she had been duped. He was telling her that God had lied to her, and he did this to spark the emotions inside of her to move her to retaliate in kind. As we can see from the sorry state of the world, hell really hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Next, Satan’s success in his persuasion was rooted in loaded words. When someone has a weak vocabulary, they are certainly less persuasive and not moving; sadly for us, though, it was not so with Satan. In Genesis 3:5, Satan says “For God knows that in the very day of your eating your eyes are bound to be opened and you are bound to be like God”. Satan could have easily said “you’ll be like God,” which would have had, essentially, the same meaning. Instead, however, he used the loaded word “bound,” which expresses that they will, without the shadow of a doubt, “become like God”. Using the word “bound” undoubtedly gave Eve a sense of assurance. Because of his use of loaded words, Satan succeeded in instilling a false sense of security in Eve, which lead to her inevitable downfall proved Satan all the more crafty.

Thirdly, the Devil succeeded in his persuasion of Adam and Eve because of his skillful use of propaganda. The dictionary definition of propaganda is “Information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.” Genesis 3:4,5 contains the biggest example of propaganda of all time. Satan knew exactly what would happen if Adam and Eve disobeyed the direct order of their heavenly father -- “the wages sin pays is death,” says Romans 6:23. Yet, he told her what she wanted to hear; that she would, rather, “become like God” upon eating the fruit, being able to decide for herself what was good and bad. He said that she “positively [would] not die,” and he used his propaganda to deliberately mislead Eve and, in the process, guarantee the death of all humans, “because they all had sinned.” (Romans 5:12) We know that his use of propaganda worked well, through Eve’s reactions. When he first questioned whether God had told them to eat of no trees of the Garden, she defended Jehovah’s law against the misinformation. After the Devil attempted to sway the young woman’s resolve, notice what she does in verse six of chapter three. She looked upon the tree and, suddenly, saw that it was something to be longed for to the eyes, and that “the tree was desirable to look upon.” What changed? The propaganda that Satan spat out at her had changed the way she looked upon the tree, and it wasn’t until she was caught sinning against God that she realized she had been mislead - brainwashed into thinking the tree was fine to eat from. Satan obviously knew that Eve was younger than Adam, less experienced and used his propaganda upon Eve because she was more susceptible to his wily ways - which means that he not only is a master of propaganda, but also Knows His Audience - and that is why he was so successful in his use of persuasion and deception.

Finally, Satan was a masterful persuader and succeeded in turning Adam and Eve against God because he Attacked the Person. If you have ever had a so-called “friend” try and persuade you to do something that you have been told not to do - such as if your parents told you to be home before a certain time, or your school doesn’t allow students to just meander off campus - then perhaps you are familiar with the method. “Well that’s a stupid rule,” your friend might say. Or mayhap it’ll be something like “They’re just always trying to stop you from having fun.” Either way, they are using aggressive methods to bring down the validity of someone’s argument, and in time, you may start to believe it too. Satan didn’t attack Eve, but he certainly bad-mouthed someone else even more important when he said that, upon eating the fruit, “You positively will not die. For God knows that in the very day of your eating from [the tree] your eyes are bound to be opened and you are bound to be like God, knowing good and bad.” Many people casually pass over this verse and, knowing that Satan was lying about the “you positively will not die” part that they don’t understand the deeper meaning behind what accusations Satan was bringing up. What was he saying? “...In the very day of your eating from [the tree] your eyes are bound to be opened...” He just attacked Jehovah God himself, insinuating that he was deliberately holding back good things from humanity. Next, he says that they will be like God, “knowing good and bad.” Now we are all free moral agents, able to do what is right and what is wrong at our own will, and likewise so were Adam and Eve, who, if they did not have free will, would not have been capable to betraying their God and eat of the fruit of the garden. So if it didn’t give Adam and Eve free will, what did it do? Rather than give Adam and Eve mystical powers or make them deities, it was but a declaration - a declaration that was that humanity could decide for itself what was good and evil, not God. This shows that not only did Satan attack God,he also lead those he was attempting to persuade, Adam and Eve, to do the act same. Persuasion success! Yes, Satan instilled it in Adam and Eve’s minds that God’s rule was not righteous or just, but rather that Jehovah had lied to them, withheld good things from them, and that every human had a right to rule himself and decide for themselves what was right and wrong through his use of Attack the Person.

So as we have just witnessed, the Devil was a crafty persuader who succeeded in turning the firstborn of humanity against their Divine instructor through the use of several methods. First, he used emotional appeal to get his prey to stop thinking logically and betray their Heavenly Father no matter the consequences or facts - simply out of spite. Secondly, he used loaded words to instill in Eve a sense of assured victory. Third, he used propaganda, his false information, to deliberately cloud the mind of young Eve and allow him to fill her head with the seeds of rebellion. Finally, he Attacked the Person by saying that God was trying to push his views of right and wrong upon mankind and that humans could decide for themselves what good and evil are and turned Adam and Eve against Him. Things haven’t changed much in the last 6000 or so years since the Betrayal in the Garden of Eden, and the Devil still uses the same tactics today to make us doubt our resolve; he would be doing himself no favors by changing his tactics if they are already working. Now that we know exactly what his methods are, let us ever be determined to stay steadfast and keep ourselves from succumbing to his wily, nefarious, and persuasive ways.

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