Jump Start # 3131
Genesis 3:22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”
Our verse today comes from what is commonly known as the fall of mankind. The serpent spoke. Eve listened. Adam ate. And, with that, everything good that God had established unraveled. Sin was not part of God’s plan. Disobedience was not part of the plan. Dishonoring God was not part of the plan. And, now, as our verse indicates, man has become like God, knowing good and evil.
And, with that simple statement, we are introduced to a much larger concept than we have thought of before. God knows evil. Man, the Lord says, has become like Us, knowing good and evil. Now, this thought troubles some. They would assume that God only knows good. God is completely unaware of what evil is. Yet, it is God who declares that He knows both good and evil.
Knowledge of evil does not mean that God participates in evil, accepts evil or encourages evil. Without an awareness of wrong, how could things be declared wrong? If there is no out of bounds marker, one could not say that something is out of bounds. Sin is a violation of the will of God. It is God who declares what is unlawful or sinful. It’s not the church, nor you and I that determine what is sinful. Only God can do that.
Knowing what is wrong is necessary to bring about the recovery of what is right. A person will not turn and flee from wrong unless he understands that what he is doing is wrong. This is the first step towards repentance and returning home. When the prodigal came home, his words recognized the wrong that he had chosen. “I have sinned against Heaven and in your sight,” were the remorseful words of a broken spirit that understood evil.
Although God knows evil, He does not participate in evil. Mankind now knows evil and has spent years dropping deeper and deeper into the sewer of evil. Just a page after our verse today, evil rises up and Cain offers an unacceptable sacrifice to God and then kills his brother. Then just a couple of pages more in Genesis and we come to the flood. The thoughts and intent of man was evil continually. Man not only knew evil, but man chose to dwell in evil.
Here are some thoughts:
First, some spend a lifetime in evil. It’s the only world that they know. The people they surrounded themselves with are evil. Their thoughts are evil. Their plans are tainted with deception, cheating and dishonesty. They tell lies without any regret or sorrow. They devise, plan and engage in wicked, evil and selfish endeavors.
Second, the Bible warns about envying the wicked. Hollywood has built a fascination around the gangster, the outlaw, the bad guy. On the screen, there is an adventurous attraction to the evil, but in reality, there is a path of pain, destruction and heartache that follows them. They are not walking in righteousness and their deeds reflect a wasted mind and wasted talent that was given to them by the Lord.
Third, even among the people of God, we can spend far too much time in studying what is wrong rather than what is right. Religious history is a sad story of departures from the simple plan of God. Man thinks he has a better way than what God has devised and authorized. Evil comes in many forms and it wears many masks, including, the devil who can appear to be an angel of the light. We are told to be innocent as doves. The Ephesians were told that it was disgraceful to even speak of the things that were being done by some in secret.
Fourth, knowing evil and what evil can do to a person, ought to compel us to share the good news of Jesus Christ. We do not have to engage in evil. We do not have to participate in evil. The mocking of God and His way ought to bother us. There are some things that we just need to steer clear and not engage in them. They will not build up our hearts and strength our souls. Poor Lot felt his soul vexed daily by the unrighteous conduct of the citizens of Sodom. The evil was all around him. It bothered him. It ought to bother us. When we get to the point that we no longer are embarrassed or no longer can blush, as in Jeremiah’s day, then we have spent too much time among the evil. Worship, prayer and spending time with the righteous God will open your eyes.
We know good and evil. We know what evil can do. We see that every day in the broken lives of those who are trying to find joy and purpose. But, we also know good. We know what works. We know what pleases God.
This world is not my home…how true that sounds more and more each day!