Satan says we can live forever. Thankfully, he is not our only option for instruction. There’s also God. Indeed, it was God who spoke first.
GOD’S GUIDELINES. SATAN’S RESTATEMENT
In the beginning God laid out an orientation course for life that disclosed His natural generosity, an all-embracing yet brief and readily comprehensible declaration that lays out the options clearly: “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:16, 17). You may live; you also have the option to die.
Satan’s simple restatement of lines for living contradicts God completely: “You will not surely die” (Gen. 3:4). This restatement would turn God into a liar if found to be true, and establish Satan as a source of reliable information, which is his goal. Living forever is not his original idea. His hope is to persuade us that he is on par with God; that both of them offer viable options for living; that his options are more satisfying than God’s; that there is greater flexibility across his platter of options, with the fundamental characteristic being “grab and go.” Life is grabbing and holding all I can get: fruit, money, sex, power, things, fame, etc.
Moreover, Satan offers a plethora of possibilities beyond the grave. Yes, the grave is a place for decaying bodies. But remember, “You will not surely die”: the immortal self inside the body flies free when the pulse stops beating. Or the immortal being is ever transferring to new bodies. Or manifesting itself in constantly new and higher or lower life forms as its karma determines. Or suffering in the fires of purgatory in proportion to the evil of its time on earth, leading to eventual purgation and promotion to glory. Or one’s evil life on earth may doom them to eternal fire. Or those left behind on earth may communicate with the accessible spirits of those who have gone on before. Satan would love to be considered a reliable source of truth, so that we may accept any of these as a life forever option.
The attractiveness of Satan’s wealth of offers is not their variety—it is the idea that they all offer life. Generating life is utterly beyond him. But eternal life is an option: “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life” (Rom. 6:23). The real issue is not whether eternal life is possible. It is whom we shall believe.
You probably remember playing Simon Says, a game in which what Simon says matters only incidentally, but that Simon says it matters completely. No one was to obey the leader’s instruction, however reasonable, except it was introduced with the words “Simon says.” The only messages that mattered were those from Simon. In the same way, God would have us dismiss every counsel besides that which the Spirit gives to His church, preserved forever from conformity to what Satan says.