March 18, 1997
Imagine going to your bank to make a night deposit and later discovering someone built a replica of it and attached it to the side of the bank. Now they have your money. In effect, that is the latest scam on the computer communication system known as the World Wide Web.
This electronic con game is called “Web Spoofing.” Users connect to what appears to be the home page of their bank, enter information such as password or card numbers, and disconnect. They never realize they were not connected to their bank but an electronic replica of their bank’s homepage. Security experts may already have solved this problem, but this is one reason many people continue banking in person. Who needs another deception to watch out for?
Deceptions abound and along with them, an increase in human capacity to be deceived. Not that this is a new thing. The first book of the Bible tells how God made both man and woman: “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
God placed them in a perfect garden with only one command: they were not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Along came a serpent and said to Eve, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
“The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.”’
“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Get that? He suggested God may not have given the command, but Eve knew better. That trick didn’t work, but the serpent had another one more subtle. He suggested she was not like God, a remark much like saying to someone, “You would be good looking if you dyed your hair.”
Eve fell for it. She was already created in God’s image, but assumed she needed more. In taking the bait, what she hoped for did not happen. Instead, she became less like God. His image in her was now marred by sin.
In the New Testament book of Galatians, the Apostle Paul writes to a church that had fallen for a lie about their salvation. They had started thinking they had to keep it, if not earn it, by keeping the Old Testament law. Paul said, “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?” He warned them and us that many try to deceive us about how a person can have eternal life.
In 1 John and other places, the Bible warns us to “test the spirits” for many would also try and deceive us about the identity of Jesus Christ. He is uniquely God the Son, fully man and fully God. A lesser being is powerless to save, yet some trust an imitation Christ — to their eternal peril.
How can a person avoid spiritual deception? We have only one source of information that gives truth in a black and white format: the Bible. Acts 17:11 gives us a good example of what to do with any spiritual claims we hear: “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”
The Apostle Paul stood the test because what he said matched the rest of Scripture. The same will not be true about the deceptions of spiritual spoofers.