Revealer of Evil
showing to mankind the evil of their state
And He said,
“Who told you that you were naked?
Have you eaten from the tree of which
I commanded you
that you should not eat?”
In the previous post, we noted how God was the revealer of good and evil to man. In those first days, there was nothing to hinder God’s dispensing of wisdom for Adam had not yet sinned. However, as we see in Genesis 3, the time came when Adam sinned against God – an action that adversely affected their relationship. But did it affect the relationship to the level that Adam could no longer receive revelation from God?
Genesis 3 opens with the serpent conversing with the woman. What he said ended up diverting her attention from her responsibility of obeying God’s word to a desire for self-improvement. His claim that she could gain wisdom and become like God (Genesis 3:5) persuaded her that eating the fruit would benefit her. Without realizing it, she became confused about what was truly good for herself, thinking it was in her best interest to eat the fruit. After she ate, she offered some to Adam, who also concluded that eating from the tree was a viable choice. And in eating, they surely died as God had warned (Genesis 2:17), although not in a physical sense (see this post for why I believe they died when they ate).
It is interesting to note that they actually received the knowledge of good and evil (see Genesis 3:22). However, we see it was not a perfect knowledge because when they heard God in the garden, they became afraid and thought it would be in their best interest to hide (Genesis 3:8). But the grace God showed them proved that their fear was unfounded.
Clearing the Muddied Waters
With only a few statements, the serpent introduced great confusion to Adam and his wife. But with one simple question, God restored clarity to the situation. The phrasing of His query showed that the core issue was not about the opportunity to gain wisdom, but the responsibility to obey. God asked, “Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat? (Genesis 3:11).” His choice of words illuminated the fact that their Creator had given them a command. Thus, at the fundamental level, eating of the tree was not an act of enhancing their lives, it was an act of disobedience. God’s question made plain that, regardless of any benefits they received from eating the fruit, it was ultimately a bad thing for them to disobey their Creator.
Adam agreed to God’s evaluation of the situation and did not try to argue that the end result of gaining wisdom made his disobedience okay. Ultimately, he admitted that he had eaten from the tree and disobeyed (Genesis 3:12). Likewise, his wife confessed to eating of the tree (Genesis 3:13). Thus, God’s question caused Adam and his wife to recognize that their situation was evil not merely because they were naked, but because they had disobeyed. God revealed to them the true evil (badness) of their situation.
Genesis 3 shows us that God continued to provide the knowledge of good and evil after man had sinned. Furthermore, it shows us Adam and his wife grasped what God revealed and accepted the truth of it.
In an earlier post, we noted that man had the fundamental responsibility to obey his Creator. In Genesis 3, we see that all other activities are secondary to that primary responsibility, no matter what benefits the activity may appear to bring.
In another post, we learned that Man was created without the knowledge of good and evil. We saw that God’s intent was for man to rely upon God as his source of wisdom.
Now, in Genesis 3, we see God continues to be their source of the knowledge of good and evil.