Knowledge of Good and Evil

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY….  “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” Genesis 3:4,5 NLT

Good and evil have come to describe one of the great classic human conflicts. But that was not God’s original plan and design. When God created the first man and woman, He placed them in a garden paradise. They were to know God and enjoy Him and His creation forever.

The tree in the middle of the garden was known as the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” It is interesting that it was in the middle of the garden. Because it became a critical marker. A dividing line that would mark mankind and history.

As Adam and Eve ate of the fruit they became aware of evil. But instead of being more “god-like” they became less than what God had made them to be. That is the impact of evil on the human condition. The first ramification is that they became self aware or self conscious. That is the heart of evil that would become pervasive in human history – a focus on self. What I need or want or desire creates actions of evil.

This would be reflected thousands of years later in the words of James, “You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.” (James 4:2 NIV) People seek to fill their own needs and always come up short. From the very beginning it was God’s desire to be the One who provided fulfillment for all of life.

Evil came to characterize the human condition. “The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” (Genesis 6:5 NIV)

Evil was a natural trait and a learned response in life. “Can an Ethiopian change his skin, or a leopard his spots? Then you who are trained to do evil will also be able to do good.” (Jeremiah 13:23 ISV)

Evil would become synonymous with the human condition and goodness with God. That is why Jesus response to the rich young ruler was, “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good–except God alone.” (Luke 18:19 NIV)

God’s plan is for His character and nature to not only transform our life, but to become the restored environment in which we live. The glory of the eternal “Zion” is described by Isaiah, “And a great road will go through that once deserted land. It will be named the Highway of Holiness. Evil-minded people will never travel on it. It will be only for those who walk in God’s ways; fools will never walk there.” (Isaiah 35:8 NLT)

In Revelation we read of the curse being removed and then a verse that reminds us of Genesis. “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” (Revelation 22:14,15 ESV)

Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden so they would not eat of the tree of life in a sinful state. Now we read of the day when those made righteous by faith in Jesus Christ will be invited in to God’s city to eat of the tree of life.

Because of Adam we know evil and its consequences, it is because of Christ (the second Adam) that we can know of a day when goodness alone prevails and the blessing of the Lord reigns. Our lives today are best lived to their fullness and experience the greatest contentment and peace when we live under and live our lives by the blessings of the goodness (righteousness) that the Lord alone can provide.