Satan tempted Eve with a question. He knew his query would arouse the woman’s thought. If she were completely under the spirit’s control she would reject such questioning.
By trying to answer she exercised her mind in disobedience to the spirit. Doubtless Satan’s question was full of errors, for his prime motive was merely to incite Eve’s mental exertion. He would have expected Eve to correct him, but alas, Eve dared to change God’s Word in her conversation with Satan. The enemy accordingly was emboldened to tempt her to eat by suggesting to her that, in eating, her eyes would be opened and she would be like God-knowing good and evil.
That was how Eve viewed the matter. Satan provoked her soulical thought first and then advanced to seize her will. The result: she fell into sin.
Satan always uses physical need as the first target for attack. He simply mentioned eating fruit to Eve, an entirely physical matter. Next he proceeded to entice her soul, intimating that by indulging, her eyes would be opened to know good and evil. Although such searching for knowledge was perfectly legitimate, the consequence nonetheless led her spirit into open rebellion against God because she misconstrued God’s forbiddance as arising from an evil intention. Satan’s temptation reaches initially to the body, then to the soul and lastly to the spirit.
After being tempted Eve gave her verdict. To begin with,the tree was good for food.” This is the “lust of the flesh.” Eve’s flesh was the first to be stirred up. Second, “it was a delight to the eyes.” This is “the lust of the eyes.” Both the body and her soul were now enticed. Third, “the tree was to be desired to make one wise.” This is “the pride of life.” Such desire revealed the wavering of her emotion and will. Her soul was now agitated beyond control. It no longer stood by as a spectator but had been goaded into desiring the fruit. How dangerous a master human emotion is!
Why should Eve desire the fruit? It was not merely the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes, but also curiosity’s urge for wisdom. In the pursuit of wisdom and knowledge, even of socalled “spiritual knowledge,” activities of the soul (me – me ) often can be detected. When one tries to increase his knowledge by doing mental gymnastics over books without waiting upon God and looking to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, his soul is plainly in full swing. This will deplete his spiritual life.