An excerpt from “In His Image.”

This morning, before I sat down to write, I took some time to respond to emails. This is a classic pattern of procrastination for me on a writing day. In my inbox was an invitation to an event that I did not want to attend. The host, sensing the RSVPs were coming in a little light, had asked the invitees their reasons for not wanting to come. I crafted a response about how my family already had plans that weekend and how sorry I was to have to miss.

This was a lie. Please don’t miss what I am saying: On the morning I set aside to write a chapter about the truthfulness of God, my first impulse was to misrepresent the truth. I deleted the response and sent one that, while still kindly and minimally worded, was at least honest. But I had to wonder if I would have acknowledged the prompting of my conscience had I not just spent several days researching the psychology of why we lie. How many times do I shade the truth without hesitation, even without any real awareness that I am doing so?

Of all verbal skills, lying comes to us early and easily. Researchers even regard it as a sign of normal cognitive development when it first begins to emerge during toddlerhood. Kind speech takes years to develop. Polite speech takes a thousand repetitions to ingrain in a child. But lying? It’s as if we are born with the seeds of deceptiveness ready to sprout in us at the first signs of vocabulary.

Because, let’s face it, that’s exactly how we’re born. Ever since the Father of Lies slithered into the garden and twisted the truth of the Father of Lights, humans have been speaking with the forked tongue of the Serpent.

Not surprisingly, humanity wasted no time adopting the speech patterns of the one to whom they had succumbed. …

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