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 1-2 gives no word of the battle. We see God's creation. It was good. God creates Adam. Then he creates Eve. The creation narrative ends with Adam and Eve naked and unashamed. There is trust and transparency in paradise. Things are very good.
But wait! Genesis 3 opens with a crafty snake, subtly suggesting that God is not good and he cannot be trusted. There is an enemy in paradise, an opponent of God. There is attack, a subtle, insidious attack.
It will become clear that this is no normal snake but it is Satan, "that ancient serpent" (Revelation 20:2), who is behind the snake. Apparently, Satan had already been created sometime prior to Genesis 1.
First, in eternity past, there is only God. The triune God. The uncreated God. That is Act 1.
Then, God creates the angelic beings. Sometime later some of these spirit beings rebel and they are judged. That is Act 2.
Next, God creates the world as we know it, including humans. That's where the Bible begins in Genesis 1. That is Act 3.
One day in the future Jesus Christ will return and bring in the Kingdom. "Thy Kingdom come!" All opposition will be put down and God will establish a new heavens and a new earth for eternity future. That is Act 4.
We live in Act 3. We live our lives in the context of battle, raging spiritual battle. A cosmic battle. The Great Battle.
We see the battle at the beginning of the Bible, beginning with Genesis 3, and we certainly see it at the end of the Bible, filling the pages of Revelation. We see it all through the Bible but especially in the Gospels and in the New Testament letters.
Not for one moment must we lose sight of the battle. It rages all around us, real but unseen. Our spiritual enemy is out to destroy us and devour us and ruin us. Satan's strategy is seen at the outset: "God is not good and God cannot be trusted, so look out for yourself and go your own way."
Moreover, Satan attacks us in disguise, just as he disguises himself in Genesis 3.
When Satan comes to you, he does not come in the form of a coiled snake. He does not approach with the roar of a lion. He does not come with the wail of a siren. He does not come waving a red flag. Satan simply slides into your life. When he appears, he seems almost like a comfortable companion. There's nothing about him that you would dread. The New Testament warns that he dresses as an angel of light ... One point seems quite clear: when the enemy attacks you, he wears a disguise. As Mephistopheles says in Faust, "The people do not know the devil is there even when he has them by the throat." ... He does not whisper to Eve, "I am here to tempt you." ... He doesn't come and knock on the door of your soul and say, "Pardon me, buddy, allow me a half hour of your life. I'd like to damn and destroy you. (Haddon Robinson)
Satan slides in. He slithers. He comes to deceive us, accuse us, condemn us, tempt us.
Recognize his schemes. Resist his attack. Refuse to listen to his voice.
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:11-12).
This is battle! Don your armor! Stand your ground! Fight in God's strength! Serve the true King!