In this study I would like to present, how the initial lie of the serpent affects our understanding of the salvation, which in turn affects some of the doctrines, which have much to do with salvation.
Let's look again at the lie, which was brought up by Satan through a serpent in the Garden of Eden:
"And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." (Gen. 3:4-5)
We all know the impact of this lie: creature started to believe, that he has an inherent life power, apart from God. We also know, that after all this happened, Adam and Eve disconnected themselves from God, and they would be dead, if it wasn't for Christ, through Whom they still had life. Yet the fact is, that direct communication between God and man ceased to take place, and that it was Christ, who was speaking on behalf of His Father with Adam, Abraham, Moses and others in the Old Testament.
Still there may be more to the story, because Satan's lies are full of paradoxes. It seems that one of the natural consequences of the inherent life source idea, is the idea, that relationship with our God (and with anyone else for that matter) isn't too much important for us to live. Let's turn this idea around: if we can live by ourselves, then the ceasing of direct communication between the Father and man would actually be pointless - in fact, this connection would be desirable for our salvation. So it may seem, that the original sin committed by our first parents actually didn't destroy our relationship with God.
This is a very specious argumentation. You see, Satan not only wanted to destroy our relationship with God, he also wanted to put a false feeling, that men still had a direct relationship with our Father, regardless of the sin. This idea diminishes both the importance of sin and the sanctity of God's relationship with us.
Satan puts this deception on most of the Christians. At first glance it may seem, that the above idea brings some importance to our relationship with God. But it has grave consequences in the whole plan of salvation.
First of all, if direct communication between God and man didn't broke, then it was still functioning. That's why many Christians today believe, that the God of the Old Testament is the Father alone, who is being regarded cruel and ruthless, in contrast to the God of the New Testament, Christ. In this view, the Father's character is actually under attack.
(I should also note, that the doctrine of the Trinity also plays a role in this - maybe it was the Trinity-God [therefore also the Father], who spoke to Adam and Eve, and later to Moses? - but this is a little different subject and I would like to omit it for now)
Secondly: the above idea diminishes the importance of Christ's sacrifice on the cross. How? We believe, that sacrifice of our Lord has reconciled the world with God, that is, reopened the communication with the Father again. But if we already had direct relationship with our Father, what was there to do? What was Christ's sacrifice primarily about? The Christian world has an answer: it was about freeing us from our punishment.
Don't get me wrong - I believe our Lord did took on Himself our sins and our punishment for them. But the more important question is: why did He do it? This leads us to our Father in Heaven, who sent His own Son to be the propitiation for our sins (John 3:16, Rom. 3:25, 1 John 2:2, 1 John 4:10). This tells us about the love, that the Father and Son always had for us and that we were made again the children of the Father. The main aim was to reestablish our relationship with the Father, and our sonship and daughtership in Him (Rom. 8:14-17, Gal. 4:4-7).
But in the performance-based Christianity, the fact itself, that Christ released us from the punishment we deserve, is the main focus. The doctrinal consequence regarding righteousness is, that in order to be saved, you only have to believe in Christ, and that's it! Of course, in the conservative view, you're saved as long as you believe and try not to sin - in the liberal view focus is more on the faith alone, yet still many liberals actually try not to sin (too much), so it's all the same legalism.
The "only believe (and maybe try not to sin)" idea actually brings us to a next set of consequences - this time eschatological. Because if you only need to believe in order to be saved, then it may seem, that the majority of Christians will be saved (only the most wicked would go to hell). And most of Christian denominations believe in this semi-universalism. Even the Catholics - only most people would have to go through the purgatory, but after this they end up in heaven.
This idea also has connection with what the majority of Christians believe regarding the end of the world. The ideas of "conversion of the world" and of the earthly Kingdom of God immediately after the coming of Christ, very much correspond to this semi-universalist inclusive salvation idea - since if most Christians will live, they will have to live on Earth. Yet the idea of an earthly Kingdom of God is very dangerous, since it can bring about the Sunday laws.
So this is, where the initial idea of "inherent life source" bring us. If we could make a sequence of these ideas, it would look like this:
1. false views on the life source ("Ye shall not surely die", inherent life source)
2. false views on the relationship with the Father by using specious logic (Father still having direct relationship with sinful men as the cruel God of the OT)
3. false views on the purpose of Christ's sacrifice (focus on freeing us from Father's punishment, also from at least part of cruel God's law - the Sabbath)
4. false views on righteousness and salvation ("just believe and try not to sin")
5. false views on eschatology (semi-universalism - that most Christians will be saved)
6. false views on the future Kingdom of God (earthly kingdom, actually "the image of the beast" culminating in the Sunday laws)
This is probably one way of achieving a connection between the initial lie and the last deceptions. Other ways may involve the Trinity doctrine and not only. We need to be aware, that false beliefs are actually a whole false systems of faith, with doctrines having connections with each other. If we want to be successful in our evangelism, we need to start from the root of the false system - I believe that the initial lie "You shall not surely die" is this root.
Praise to the Father and His Son, for Their grace, that They have opened for us the true system of faith, which involves indirect but real relationship with our Father, through His Son, Jesus Christ. Amen!
PS. The word "semi-universalism" was invented by me :) , never saw it elsewhere. It maybe isn't a good choice, but I think it serves the purpose.