During a period of my writing, I had a thought that ran through my mind—which has no basis of fact at this moment. I began to think about this subject of good and evil that is described in the book of Genesis. As I was contemplating this issue, I realized that others may also be thinking about certain issued that are described in the Bible. Although I have not completed my thought process on this subject, I considered that I might publish a list of articles which contain thoughts for speculation. Not that I would endorse or fully believe these things at the present time—but simply write these thoughts down for the time being and think about them.
If you have come across this particular article, and the subject heading: “Thoughts for Speculation,” perhaps you will add your own ideas or observations to this article and together we might discover a truth that has yet to be found.
I should say, these thoughts and conclusions must remain in the realm of the word of God and be balanced and framed within what has already been written in the Bible—before they could be seriously considered by myself. If you are prone to speculate outside of the Old and New Testament scriptures, I would not be interested in considering those thoughts. The content of the Bible is sufficient to keep any man busy for eternity—discovering the treasures that God has hidden within its pages. The wisdom of the world and human insight, apart from God—does not interest me.
My first subject for inquiry and further thought is:
What is the “knowledge of good and evil,” and how does it affect the conscience of man?
Before Adam fell, he was innocent of evil. This is to say, he had no knowledge of evil. He had never seen it, committed it, or personally experienced it. A greater question is why God determined to create us in the beginning, without this knowledge.
It is apparent by the language of Genesis that God determined that the best environment for human beings, was the absence of this knowledge—understanding the different between what is good and what is evil.
Later, when Adam had sinned and had a consciousness of his sin, the Lord described Adam as “like one of Us, to know good and evil.”
Was Adam without a conscience? Was God seeking to protect Adam from things that would destroy his innocence and simple joy?
The conditions of the earth and the garden which Adam inhabited, were perfect in every way. Adam did not have to worry or be concerned about anything. The evidence of his complete innocence is observed by his nakedness and complete unawareness of this condition. Even as a small child will frolic in the water unclothed and walk about amongst adults, with no awareness of their nakedness as being sinful or inappropriate. Adam lived in complete unawareness of anything evil. He lived in the freedom of a child, while inhabiting the body of a grown man, full of wisdom. We know that Adam was extremely brilliant, for he knew how to name all of the animals that were present on the earth.
One has to admire this condition, being unaware of evil. But what of the good? Did Adam not understand what is Good? I think that he did. It seems to me that the reason that the term: “knowledge of evil and good,” is listed in this manner, is to clarity the difference between the two. Not that Adam did not know what was Good, but now he understood the difference between what is good and what is evil. Formerly, all he knew was that everything was good and anything that he wanted to do, was not evil.
Once Adam sinned and obtained immediately, a conscience—which gave him the ability to know the difference between right and wrong, then he understood the difference between the two.
When Adam became like God and obtained the knowledge of good and evil, is this an element of his consciousness that God possesses, which can be a great danger to man—if it is not balanced with complete righteousness and holiness? In other words, knowledge is power. Knowledge of what is right and what is wrong, is only useful if this knowledge is used in a manner that continues a life of righteousness. In the case of Adam, satan implied that man could use this knowledge for evil and prosper—even to be like God himself. God has imparted this knowledge of good and evil to man now, but given semi-unrestricted knowledge, only to those who are perfect—even as God is perfect.
In the present age, while man is a sinner on earth, this knowledge is used for evil purposes. There are a few who have obeyed the Gospel of Jesus Christ and use this knowledge of good and evil, for good purposes. These people earnestly seek to be conformed into the image of Jesus Christ, to be sinless and perfect in all their ways. In this case, this knowledge of good and evil can greatly benefit these individuals. There is a discernment that comes with following Jesus and being filled with the Spirit of God. This discernment allows the believer to see the errors of those who assert that there is no proof for God, and that the Christian Gospel is a myth.
I have observed on many occasions, the complete ignorance of those who claim that God does not exist—in matters of fact that are clear and obvious. They have a knowledge of evil, but lacking the Spirit of God, they also lack a knowledge of what is truly good.
It appears to me that since the fall of Adam, God is seeking to develop a group of human beings, who posses the abilities of God, but as yet—remain tainted by sin and corruption. As Jesus as fully redeemed those who place their trust in Him, He has also removed their sins and made them perfect once again. Upon the death or Rapture of these believers, they will be set free from the body of death that they formerly inhabited and possesses a new eternal body—incorruptible and eternal. This gift of discernment—the knowledge of good and evil, can now be used exclusively for righteousness. In this way, man will now be “like God.”
The following are the complete list of scriptures which contain the phrase “good and evil.”
Genesis 2:9 And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Genesis 2:17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Genesis 3:5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Genesis 3:22 Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—
Deuteronomy 1:39 “Moreover your little ones and your children, who you say will be victims, who today have no knowledge of good and evil, they shall go in there; to them I will give it, and they shall possess it.
2 Samuel 14:17 Your maidservant said, “The word of my lord the king will now be comforting; for as the angel of God, so is my lord the king in discerning good and evil. And may the LORD your God be with you.’
1 Kings 3:9 Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”
Hebrews 5:14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
The New Testament describes a wisdom that is imparted to those who receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior—which is not available to the rest of the world.
1 Corinthians 2:14-16 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 6 For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
The reason that this supernatural knowledge is not given to the unredeemed, is obvious. Those who would appose God and seek to impugn His authority in the universe, would use this knowledge imparted by the Spirit of God, for evil and not good.
A person who has not entered into a personal relationship with God—through Jesus Christ, cannot understand the things of God. The Bible and the deeper meaning of the scriptures, will be hidden—until this person is “Born Again,” by the Spirit of God (John 3:16).
So, the subject of “good and evil,” and the knowledge or lack of knowledge of these things…
This is an important subject, worthy of further thought and discussion.