Pride Lurks in Beauty (by Len Winneroski)

thHave you ever noticed that when you walk into a room full of people your eyes are “naturally” drawn to the most handsome man or the most beautiful woman in the room? Or if you are walking through a parking lot aren’t our eyes “naturally” drawn to the most expensive and beautiful car in the lot? Isn’t it true that when you open a new box of hot delicious pizza our eyes and noses are somehow “naturally” drawn to the largest piece of pizza with the most pepperoni in the box? I could go on and on but I think that you get my point. Man was created with an eye for beauty and a desire to have and be the best.

My wife and I were talking about our”natural” human tendencies last night. A few years ago I wrote a devotional entitled Knowledge and Life about the fact that Adam and Eve could have eaten from any tree in the Garden of Eden, including the Tree of Life, but they chose to eat from the forbidden tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil instead. I’d be willing to bet (if I was a betting man) that the most beautiful tree in the Garden of Eden was the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. I wonder if this tree was in a high, prominent place in the Garden, and that if you were walking with God in the Garden your eyes would be drawn to the beauty of that tree every time as you strolled by. Why do I think that? Because that’s the tree that Satan apparently chose to hang out in.

Over the years theologians have looked to Ezekiel 28:11-19 and Isaiah 14:12-17 to explain the fall of Satan to earth. According to these verses (which also could be applied to the kings of Tyre and Babylon), Satan was blameless at one time as he walked among the fiery stones on the holy mount of God. According to these verses Satan was a created being of extreme beauty. He was adorned with precious stones and gold and was anointed to be God’s chief cherub. If Satan was in the room with the other cherubs he was the one who commanded the other cherub’s attention. God makes beautiful things and Satan was amongst the most beautiful of His creations at one time. So what happened?

Ezekiel says that Satan’s beauty got in the way.

‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says “‘ You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. All the nations who knew you are appalled at you; you have come to a horrible end and will be no more.’” (Ezekiel 28: 11-19)

Isaiah goes on to tell us that Satan’s beauty sparked sin within him and that this sin was pride.

How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit. Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate: “Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble, the man who made the world a wilderness, who overthrew its cities and would not let his captives go home?” (Isaiah 14: 12-17)

So if these Bible verses indeed explain what happened with Satan, and he was in the Garden of Eden, which tree do you think that he would have picked to slither into? Would it have been the ugliest tree or the most beautiful one?

I also wonder if there was anything wrong with the actual tree or fruit on the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil or if God told them to stay away from that tree because He knew that Satan liked to hang out in that tree because of its beauty. Pride lurks in beauty. If this causes you to recoil let me ask you this question. What if Satan would have left the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and crawled up onto a different tree. Would God have been OK with Adam and Eve hanging out with Satan at that tree? Of course God knows everything and He knew which tree Satan would chose. Was God really protecting his children from the fruit or the deception that dwelt in the tree? Of course I have no idea what that tree looked like or why Satan was in it but it’s interesting to think about.

Why is this important? Because I would suggest that Christians often times blame beauty instead of our own “natural” pride for sin. When a man takes on a mortgage for a beautiful mansion that he can’t afford should we blame the beauty of the home or the man’s lust to have a bigger, more beautiful house than his neighbor? If a man is drawn to study so that he can show off the beauty of his intelligence is the problem the wonderful brain that God created or the man’s prideful motive for gaining knowledge?

God creates beautiful things. Beautiful things aren’t bad. It’s what that beauty can spark in our “natural” sinful hearts that that is the problem. God created eyes to see the beautiful things that He made, He created ears to hear the beautiful things that He made, He created fingers to touch the beautiful things that He made, He created noses to smell the beautiful things that He made, and God created tongues to taste the beautiful things that He made. God made the senses and they were designed to help us see just how magnificent that our Creator God is. He made them to draw us closer to Him and cause us to praise him and experience joy as we behold His Glory and the glory of His creation.

Beauty is not the problem my friends… it’s what beauty inspires us to do that really matters.

3 thoughts on “Pride Lurks in Beauty (by Len Winneroski)

  1. Leonard, I think that the main issue at the tree of good and evil was a matter of “free will”, you don’t really have freedom unless you are able to make a choice (between trusting God, or not, in this case). That choice is within God’s Soveirnty, of course, but that is the nature of the freedom that he provided us with. I believe that free will is in our DNA, intalled there by God himself. The tree was chosen and designated by God, not by Satan. Satan’s role was not to provide “the choice”, if you will, but to convince man to make the wrong one…my two cents

  2. Thanks Jose! I totally agree with your comments on free will. My point was that we tend to blame the beauty instead of how we respond to the beauty when we sin. God knew exactly what was going to happen in the Garden and Adam and Eve had a choice to trust God or trust Satan and we know what happened. God was way ahead of Satan and knew that he would need to redeem man through Christ alone. A child has free will to take a cookie from a jar that he was told was off limits to him. A loving and experienced parent knows that there is a good chance that their child may slip but loves them anyways and will provide punishment and forgiveness for repentance.

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