The Knowledge of Good and Evil

Daniel 12:4: But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

In today’s world, the quest for knowledge has fallen into line according to the revelation written in the last chapter of the prophetic book of Daniel. Knowledge shall be increased and indeed has increased exponentially in our days. But this quest for knowledge where many country’s economy has geared towards knowledge based and in anticipation and preparation for the dawning of artificial intelligence to become part of our reality in this present world, is not to be confused with the primary desire that caused the fall of man in the Garden of Eden.

It was the quest for the knowledge of good and evil that resulted in our sad and sorry state today. The knowledge of good and evil was one of the very first instructions communicated to Adam that he was expressly forbidden to partake.

Genesis 2:9: And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 2:17: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

The fall of man is history. The knowledge of good and evil has become a present reality in this world. No one can turn back the clock to avoid this pervasive and condemning repercussion of the knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 3:5: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Genesis 3:22: And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

Not having acquired the knowledge of good and evil is in fact a blessing. Remaining in innocence will spare one from responsibility of wrong doing. Acquiring the knowledge of good and evil via transgression of God’s law results in damnation. Hence acquiring eternal life by means of the tree of life under this fallen condition has to be forbidden. It is tragic that the tree of life that gives life becomes a forbidden tree.

When the children of Israel refused to obey God’s commandment to enter the promised land giving excuses their children could be come prey during the war, these children who had no knowledge of good and evil were spared and they inherited the promise of entering Canaan Land.

Deuteronomy 1:39: Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.

So without the knowledge of good and evil can be a good thing. However, when a person grows old, he eventually loses his ability to discern between good and evil. The aged Barzillai, who took care of king David and his people during the rebellion of Absalom conceded losing such faculty of senses.

2 Samuel 19:35: I am this day fourscore years old: and can I discern between good and evil? can thy servant taste what I eat or what I drink? can I hear any more the voice of singing men and singing women? wherefore then should thy servant be yet a burden unto my lord the king?

Since the fall of Adam, little children born into this world though born dead in trespasses and sins are born without the knowledge of good and evil, reminiscence of the pre-fallen state of man. They are born in innocence.

Unfortunately, the knowledge of good and evil will eventually dawn upon them as they grow. They become responsible for transgression of God’s laws. Even after these children have grown old losing the faculty of good and evil, this will not absolve them of sins committed after acquiring knowledge of good and evil.

In addition, a man having acquired knowledge of good and evil does not translate to spiritual discernment. King Solomon acknowledged this truth and asked God to grant him discernment between good and evil and to be able to judge God’s people as a king.

1 Kings 3:9: Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?

Hence, the knowledge of good and evil is more of a liability than an asset. Having knowledge of good and evil and yet lacking discernment and ability to do good is a very bad deal. Had only Adam and Eve knew the Devil had lied to them, history would be so different.

Jonah was so angry with God not destroying Nineveh because the Lord had compassion on those little ones who had yet to discern between their right and left hands. These children who had yet to come to terms with knowledge of good and evil were one consideration for the Lord sparing the city where those sinners from the king to the peasants had repented after hearing the preaching of Jonah.

Jonah 4:11: And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

Even the Lord’s people have to learn to discern between the righteous and the wicked and those who serve the Lord and those who don’t.

Malachi 3:18: Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.

Under the fallen state, having acquired the knowledge of good and evil does not necessarily mean one can discern between good and evil even for born again Christians.

Hebrews 5:14: But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

A child of God must grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and exercise his senses of discernment. He will then eventually be able to partake strong meat of the doctrines of the words of the living God to discern between good and evil.

The apostle Paul spoke about his pre-law experience without the benefit of having the knowledge of good and evil.

Romans 7:9: For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.

He was alive once. This was when the law had no effect on him. Eventually, the law caught up with him and he died. He further revealed how this phase of innocence works.

Romans 5:13: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

Sin was in the world. Though born dead in trespasses and sins, sin is not imputed when there is no law. No knowledge of good and evil means no breaking of God’s law. Law is inactive and the man is alive. Once knowledge of good and evil has come, everything changes and man becomes liable and guilty before God and sin is imputed.

This is consistent with the Psalmist’s claim.

Psalms 32:1: Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

Psalms 32:2: Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.

So the apostle Paul took up the same proclamation.

Romans 4:8: Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

There are certain category of people the Lord will not impute sin. These are blessed people indeed. They are guilt free without knowledge of good and evil living in the pre-fallen state of Adam in this present fallen world.

As such, the Lord places a lot of emphasis on little children when teaching His disciples concerning the coming kingdom.

Matthew 19:14: But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

Mark 10:14: But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

Luke 18:16: But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

These innocent little children are the foundation of the kingdom just as when Adam and Eve lived before their fall. The requirement to be fit citizens of the kingdom of heaven is to become as little children.

Matthew 18:3: And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

So that is why the Lord insists on a rebirth before anyone can enter the kingdom of God. Anyone who has acquired the knowledge of good and evil has to undergo a rebirth to become little children in the Lord without which the gate of the kingdom is forever closed to such sinners.

John 3:3: Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

John 3:7: Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

The Lord’s emphasis on little children cannot be underemphasized. The value the Lord places on these little children is immense and for those who dares to offend one such little ones, their fate is going to be horribly tragic. Their condemnation is a terrible certainty.

Matthew 18:6: But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Mark 9:42: And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.

Luke 17:1: Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!

Luke 17:2: It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

The knowledge of good and evil is not an asset but a liability. This knowledge of good and evil does not equate to having discernment, particularly, spiritual discernment and ability to do good.

Innocence is a blessing. Unfortunately, innocence is a passing phase after which knowledge of good and evil becomes a reality and guilt and sins condemn the sinner to a Christless eternity, unless this sinner becomes born again in the Lord as a little child, trusting in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ to take away his sins.

The knowledge of good and evil gets the sinner no where but grief, guilt, sorrows and condemnation. On the other hand, we should seek after the Lord and find, acquire and increase in the knowledge of God and be free from the terrible and ill effects from the knowledge of good and evil.

Proverb 2:1: My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;

Proverb 2:2: So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;

Proverb 2:3: Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;

Proverb 2:4: If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;

Proverb 2:5: Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.

Colossians 1:10: That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;


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