The Scam of the Serpent
[Excerpt from Protecting The Flock: Church Fraud Prevention and Education]
It seems that fraud is thought to be a new thing, but it has been around since Bible times. From the Fall of Man to now, fraud has continued to morph. And yet still, one of the best examples is the Fall of Man itself. When you search for the greatest scams of all time, there are many big names tied to billions of dollars. Names like Bernie Madoff, Charles Ponzi, Frank Abagnale, and others come up. Throughout history there have been a lot of swindlers, bamboozlers, and cheats. Their schemes range from simplistic to overtly complex; from snake oil and penny stocks to multimillion-dollar investments gone awry. These pale in comparison to the biggest hoodwink in human history; the Fall of Man.
The first two chapters of Genesis show God creating the world as well as making man in his own image. He provides Eve as a companion for Adam. They are one with God, one with each other, and one with the rest of creation. There is no pain, envy, malice, deceit, or any other evil. He places Adam and Eve in a perfect place with only one rule; not to eat of the fruit of one tree.
Enter the scammer. The devil, in the form of a serpent, perpetrates the biggest scam in human history. He targets Eve, convincing her that God is holding out on her and Adam. Like the human snakes of today, he leads her to believe in a false rate of return; that by eating the fruit she will become like God. She believes the lie, eats the fruit, and convinces Adam to do the same. As a result of this, their lives are changed forever. They are now living in a fallen, sinful world outside of Eden. The first conflict in human history is the largest scam ever.
It doesn't end there; the effects are still in play today. You and I have been swindled. Every person since Adam and Eve has been involved in it, which is massive. So just how many people is that?
One theory from the Population Reference Bureau estimates that over the course of 50,000 years (estimate for the beginning of modern homo sapiens), there have been over 106 billion people to have lived. A lesser number could be considered for those in the camp of Young Earth Theory. 106 billion people scammed thus far. The financial loss would be staggering if you consider that the price of sin is a human life.
The most recent estimates I could find on the value of a human life were from the EPA ($9.1MM) and the FDA ($7.9MM). Using the average of the two I then multiplied that by the number of people from the Population Reference Bureau study to get an approximation for the potential financial impact of the serpent’s con.
$8,500,000 X 108,000,000,000 = $9.18e17 or $918,000,000,000,000,000 or 918 quadrillion dollars.
Enter the redeemer. Scam victims are rarely reimbursed due to their involvement. They are fooled and initiate activity that often leaves them at a loss. The same was true in this scenario until Jesus came and redeemed the world. We were duped out of oneness with God for a life of sin but redeemed with a payment from the Cross. The Fall of Man shows us the corruption of an entire race while the Cross shows us the ultimate redemption of that same race. And as much as the above number is, we are infinitely valuable to God.
There are a lot of evils in this world and the serpent is still out there. The scam is still as simple as it was then; that we know better than God. We can either continue to buy into it and lose our lives or we can accept God’s priceless redemption. The choice is ours.