OPINION

God Says Don't Take the Bait

Mark Edmondson
Guest Columnist

Going online today can be risky.  Thieves are out in record numbers to steal people's identities and personal information, and the preferred method of doing so is the Internet.  Even safeguards, such as antivirus software, aren't always 100 percent effective.

In May, Colonial Pipeline suffered a major "ransomware" attack.  Cyber criminals hacked into the company's computerized systems of operation, forcing the prolonged shutdown of delivery of refined fuels to a large portion of the U.S.  The week-long disruption of supply caused panic buying and an abrupt spike in the cost of gasoline in the affected areas.

The cyber hackers said they'd give control of the company's computer network back to Colonial in exchange for five million dollars.  The company paid it.

Cyber thieves have also devised ways of stealing people's information using a method called "spoofing."  Spoofing is a sneaky way of enticing Internet users to click on emails triggering malware (malicious software) that surrepticiously gains access to computers, to capture social security numbers, credit card data, and codes the user inputs to access his bank account.

Even "spyware" can be placed on a computer to track a person's online browsing activity without him knowing it.

Users will fall victim to this type of thing by clicking on emails tagged as "urgent," or as needing immediate attention.

Some will list the names of major corporations, providing links to track shipments, when it's just a ploy to give would-be hackers the chance to upload a virus onto someone's cell phone or computer.

Countless individuals have had their credit ruined, money stolen, and reputations tarnished this way.  This is because cyber criminals always look for systems and devices that are the most vulnerable to attack.

The Bible says that Satan "walks about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8).  Jesus called him a "thief," whose mission is to "steal, kill, and destroy" (John 10:10).

This has been his goal since humans first appeared on Earth.

In Eden, God had given Adam and Eve everything anyone could possibly want:  perfect health, food, water, peace of mind, and the most tranquil of environments.  They lived in harmony with God, nature, and the animals.

Something came along, however, seeking to rob them of their ideal existence.  The "something" was Satan, whose preferred method of accomplishing his goal was showing up as a serpent to beguile Eve into picking fruit from the forbidden tree.

Of all the trees God had created, two were of primary importance:  the Tree of Life, and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

The former represented eternal life.  The latter the consequences of sin and death.  This tree doubtless bore the most appealing fruit, to which Satan called Eve's undivided attention.

God told Adam and Eve to leave it alone, or they would die.

The serpent, however, was sneaky and sought to entice Eve into believing this wasn't so, saying, "Did God really say that?  Will eating the simple fruit from this tree really cause you to die?  Surely not."

The serpent continued, "No way!  God only said that because He doesn't want you being like Him.  You will be equal to God, knowing everything He knows."

Eve took the bait.  She didn't click, but picked.  She picked the fruit of disobedience that brought sin into the world and robbed everyone of the paradise that all could have enjoyed forever.

Sin is the virus that has infected the whole human race, causing everything in the world to go seemingly haywire.

Until Jesus came, Satan had held humanity hostage to sin.  To win back His creation, a terrible price had to be paid.  The Creator would have to suffer the death that He warned Adam and Eve about in the garden of Eden.  He would have to die in their place, and in the place of all transgressors.

Jesus paid the ransom no one else could afford.  He paid it with His sinless blood, and in doing so freed us from the bondage of sin forever!