He is called "the old serpent." Three chapters in from the beginning of the Bible we see him for the first time; three chapters in from the end of the Bible we see him for the last time. He came into the garden of Eden to effect the fall and ruin of the human race. He will end up in the eternal flames of the lake of fire.
His first goal in the garden was to disarm Eve by robbing her of the only weapon she had, the Word of God. The Bible Eve had was small enough—just two brief verses—but it was enough. Sadly, she misquoted it three times. Twice she subtracted from what God had actually said, and once she added to it. After that she was in Satan's power. Satan based his attack on a doubt, a denial, and a delusion, and swiftly carried the day.
"Yea, hath God said?" That was the doubt. "How do you know God said that? You only have it by transmission from Adam. You weren't there when this 'Word' was given. How can you prove it is the Word of God? How do you know it is true?" "Ye shall not surely die." That was the denial. "How ridiculous! Death for eating fruit from a tree! What nonsense! Besides, God is a loving God. Can you seriously believe that God would put you to death just for taking a bite from a piece of fruit? Death? There is nothing to fear about death. Death is the greatest adventure of all. God just wants to frighten you. In any case, you won't die. You'll begin to live." "Ye shall be as gods." That was the delusion. It was the promise of freedom from narrowness and from unacceptable restrictions on one's behavior. It promised access to a wonderful, glorious world of knowledge. Life in a new dimension could be hers. She could become a liberated woman.
Inherent in the temptation was an appeal to "the lust of the eyes," because the tree was "pleasant to the eyes." There was an appeal to "the lust of the flesh," because the tree was "good for food." There was an appeal to "the pride of life," because it was "to be desired to make one wise." This threefold appeal promised access to mysterious and marvelous hidden secrets. Adam and Eve would become like God Himself. The Serpent's wiles were successful. In fact, he has not had to change his approach throughout all the course of human history. All temptation rises from these three primeval appeals. Once Eve had accepted the Devil's lie and rejected God's truth, the rest followed as a matter of course. Satan led Eve from one foolish act to another, each downward step preparing the way for the next one.
First, she "saw." The Serpent fastened Eve's gaze upon the desired object. Soon she could not take her eyes off it. A large percentage of temptation comes to us through our eyes. Satan's plan was to turn the look into a lust. Next, she "took." Now the plan was to turn the desire into a deed. That had to be Eve's decision. Satan can persuade but he cannot push. He could suggest to the Lord, for instance, that He throw Himself down from the temple pinnacle; but he could not push Him down. Then, she "did eat." Now the plan was to turn the choice into a chain. Jesus said, "Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin" (John 8:34). Habits grow. They are flimsy enough at first, but each time we repeat the deed, the power of the habit is increased, until the habit itself takes over the will and we find ourselves in chains. Finally, she "gave." That was the ultimate goal. The sinner became a seducer. It is significant that the Serpent did not tempt Adam; Thus sin entered the world and death by sin (Rom. 5:12). The fall was complete. Satan had won. Death reigned. Satan had won? Not forever! For Jesus came, and the Serpent was no match for Him. His little bag of tricks was scorned by Christ. Satan lost, and now he lives in terror of the return from heaven of the victorious Christ. And well he should.