My son, the self-professed video game geek, has been playing a video game called Portal in which the player is trying to solve various puzzles to escape from a testing facility. Throughout the game there is a computer named Glados who talks to the player and tells him he is testing a portal gun, a device that creates a portal in a wall leading to another room somewhere else in the facility. Glados seems to be very friendly and promises that at the end of the tests there will be cake and a party in the player’s honor.
As play progresses, the player encounters rooms called the Ratman’s dens where there is written on the walls “The cake is a lie,” referring to the cake that Glados has promised. Eventually, the player discovers that Glados intends to kill him after the testing of the portal gun is complete and before he can escape from the facility. He discovers that the cake is, indeed, a lie, a false promise to try to prevent the player from realizing Glados’ real intentions.
My son and I were talking about this game the other day and he commented that “The cake is a lie” reminded him of Satan and his promises. Just as Glados promises cake at the end of the testing, Satan promises great things. But just as the cake is a lie, the promises of the devil are a lie. He promises that happiness is found in fame and fortune, in partying and drugs, in business success, or in any one of a number of worldly options. Satan makes promises to try to keep us from even trying to escape his grasp and to prevent us from realizing his real intentions of claiming our souls as his own. Just as Glados tries to distract the player from his true purpose of escaping the testing facility, Satan tries to distract us from our true purpose and goal in this life, which is to seek freedom in Christ.
As I thought about this, I realized that the apostles who came before us are like the Ratman who came before the current player in Portal and wrote the warning “The cake is a lie” on the wall. The apostles wrote the Gospels and epistles of the New Testament to warn us that “The cake is a lie.”
Speaking of the devil, Jesus said, “He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44 (NLT). As part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warned of liars who would come: “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.” Matthew 7:15 (NLT).
Paul warned that “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness.” 2 Corinthians 11:14-15 (NIV). He also warned about those who had believed the devil. “They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.” Romans 1:25 (NLT).
Peter also warned of false teachers. “These false teachers are like unthinking animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed. They scoff at things they do not understand, and like animals, they will be destroyed.”
John, the beloved disciple, warned that some who claim to speak for God would nonetheless be liars. “Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.” 1 John 4:1 (NLT).
Finally, Jude warned of those who would perpetrate a great lie upon the church itself, leading many astray:
Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Jude 1:3-4 (NLT).
We have seen the warnings. The cake that Satan and those who have been deceived by him offer is a lie. Just as the player of Portal would be well to heed the warnings of the Ratman and disbelieve anything Glados says, we would be well to heed the warnings of the apostles and disbelieve the lies of the devil.
It is possible to escape the Portal testing facility, though the player must dodge the attempts of Glados to kill them and must ultimately destroy Glados to do so. Thankfully, we do not have to destroy Satan in order to escape his grasp. Jesus has already done that for us when He died on the cross in full payment for our sins, and rose again defeating death. Once we understand that all Satan’s promises are lies, and trust in Jesus only, we are home free.