Genesis 3:22 – Like One of Us, Knowing Good and Evil

Yahweh God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil. Now, lest he put forth his hand, and also take of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever…” — Genesis 3:22, World English Bible translation.

The claim is made that in this verse Yahweh God declares himself as “US” and not “me” and that this verse shows that God had known by experience good and evil and is not one person, and thus corroborates the trinitarian claim that Yahweh is three persons. The question is raised: Who are the “us” and how is that man is ashamed in knowing that good and evil is an attribute of God?

There were, of course, others with Yahweh in the spirit realm at the time of the creation of man. One of these spirit beings had become evil in heart, and acted upon that evil by communicating through the serpent in order to get Eve to disobey God. Therefore, the knowledge of evil was known in the spirit realm before it was known to Adam and Eve. — Isaiah 14:12,13; Revelation 12:9.

We can also scripturally reason that Yahweh knew intuitively of the principle of evil before anyone ever disobeyed, or before any moral evil had come about. The very fact that He gave a command concerning eating of the tree(s) of the knowledge of good and evil shows this, for if He did not have such intuitive knowledge, why would he have provided such (a) tree(s) and have given a command concerning such that He Himself had no knowledge? — Genesis 2:9,17.

Yahweh himself, however, has never had an experiential knowledge of moral evil. God, to this day, has not, nor will He ever have such an experience with evil. “God can’t be tempted with [moral] evil.” (James 1:13) Habakkuk 1:13 tells us of Yahweh: “You who have purer eyes than to see [moral] evil, and who cannot look on perversity.” And we read: “Yahweh is righteous in all his ways.” — Psalm 145:17.

The prehuman Logos of God (Revelation 19:13), was also there, being in the form [external appearance] of theos (John 1:1,2; Philippians 2:6), having a glory with the only true God before the world of mankind was made, and would have known of the disobedient one and thus had knowledge of Satan’s evil by observation. — John 17:1,3,5.

The matter of their shame is a little different, however, than just knowing of good and bad, but their shame is not concerning an alleged recognition that God has an attribute of knowing good and evil. The scriptures show that they became ashamed because of their own disobedience, and as a result of thier own experientially knowing evil in their act of disobedience. Paul’s letter to the Romans deals with the bondage of corruption and the subjection to futility that came upon mankind due to Adam’s sin, and corresponds well with the description of fallen man as given by Solomon in Ecclesiastes. We can start by looking at:

Romans 1:28 – Even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting. — World English Bible translation.

Paul shows that Adam and Eve had a knowledge of God; they knew God (Romans 1:21), but they failed to give him glory for what he had done, and they did not prove themselves thankful to the One who given them life and the good that they enjoyed. Instead of serving the Creator, Eve served the serpent by obeying the serpent; Adam, in turned served Eve instead of the Creator. They disobeyed the One they should have shown supreme love and obedience to, and as a result God gave them up to a reprobate mind.

The Greek word from which the word “reprobate” is translated is Adokimos. This word means:

not standing the test, not approved properly
used of metals and coins
that which does not prove itself such as it ought
unfit for, unproved, spurious, reprobate

The New American Standard renders the word “Adokimos” as “depraved,” thus a “depraved mind,” a mind that has become lowered from its original design.

Of course, Yahweh knew the exact moment that Adam and Eve disobeyed; nothing is hidden from Him. Thus, at the moment of disobedience, we have reason to believe that Yahweh turned them over to a reprobate mind, so that, as a result, they felt shame.

As such, in Romans 1:28, we find the the condition of mankind in Adam, which, as far as our flesh is concerned, includes you and I, and every other descendant of Adam. This can be seen from Paul’s statement in Romans 2:1: “Therefore you are without excuse, man, whoever you are who judge. [whether Gentile or Jew] For in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself. For you who judge practice the same things.” At one time or another we all have practiced the things that we should not practice, and have fallen short of the glory of God due to sin. (Romans 3:23) Paul is laying the background for what he presents later, as he states: “We previously charged both Jews and Greeks, that they are all under sin.” (Romans 3:9) All mankind are under the condemnation of sin, and, and because of such, have been turned over to a mind also that falls short of the glory of God, falling short of proving itself to be as it ought to be. (Romans 3:23) This includes both you and I, and everyone else who has descended from Adam. We are born into this world under the subjection to its present sun of futility/vanity in an unjust, crooked, condition. (Ecclesiastes 1:2,3,13-15; Romans 8:20), under the bondage of corruption. — Romans 8:21.

The apostle Paul, speaking of mankind as represented in the first parents, Adam and Eve, says that “knowing God, they didn’t glorify him as God, neither gave thanks, but became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and traded the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed animals, and creeping things.” (Romans 1:20-22, WEB) As a result, God “gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to uncleanness” (Romans 1:24, WEB), and thus God subjected the creation to vanity under the bondage of corruption, the corruption that is now in the present evil age through lust. — Romans 8:20,21; Galatians 1:4; 2 Peter 1:4.

Being made crooked by God (due to  the sin of Adam), all mankind are dying by means of Adam’s sin. (Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22) According to Ecclesiastes 1:15; 7:13, however, that which God has made crooked, unjustified, cannot be made straight. Does this mean that there is no hope at all for mankind, that all mankind, made crooked in Adam, can never be made straight? As dying in Adam, this is true: none can be made straight, and it from this standpoint, the standpoint of the present sun and its vanity, that we read the statements in Ecclesiastes. But God sent his son Jesus to take Adam’s place as an atoning sacrifice (Romans 3:25; 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; 1 Timothy 2:5,6; 1 John 2:2; 4:10), and thus he becomes to us the “last Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45), the means by which God can bring regeneration to man. (Matthew 19:28; Titus 3:5) Thus, the promise is of a new sun, a sun of righteousness (justness, straightness), who arises with healing in his wings, through whom all things are made new. (1 Corinthians 5:18; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Revelation 21:5) This new sun of righteousness will provide new life, whereas under the present sun of crookedness/vanity that is spoken of in Ecclesiastes 1:9, there is nothing new. – – Malachi 4:2.

Man’s nature was not originally sinful. God originally made man with a design to be morally upright, straight, righteous, in perfect alignment [justified] with God’s righteousness. (Ecclesiastes 7:9) He had no flawed character, but his character was in perfect accord with likeness of his Creator. He was “crowned with glory”, and had not at that time fallen “short of the glory of God.” (Psalm 8:5; Romans 3:23) Nevertheless, although Adam was created incorrupt, he was corruptible, that is, there was a possibility of his becoming morally corrupt, which he did, and thus he brought mankind into a “bondage of corruption.” (Romans 8:21) It is only after Adam disobeyed, in serving the creature rather than the Creator, that God “gave them [mankind, as represented in Adam and Eve] up to a reprobate [depraved] mind.” (Romans 1:28) Ever since then, mankind, alienated from God, are, by nature, children of disobedience, children of wrath, whose flesh by nature is sinful. — Romans 8:3; Ephesisans 2:2,3.

The first judgment upon mankind was represented in Adam. For man’s own good and harmony, God gave a simple command by which Adam could prove his loyalty, his love, his obedience to his Creator. The command, in effect, was a covenant with Adam, and by extension, Eve. Had they obeyed, they could continued to live on forever; if they disobeyed, they would die. Such a command would be needed in order for the intelligent creature, having been given the ability to choose to disobey, to acknowledge the source of power, the source of righteousness, etc. Such a command was necessary for mankind’s own good, so that harmony and peace could be maintained. Without such a command, creatures with freewill would be forever in chaos, with many claiming the right to rule over mankind.

Most know the Bible narrative. One of the angels decided that he would exalt himself to be “like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:14), and proposed witchcraft, cunning (crafty) wisdom, by means of a different covenant with Eve, with the thought that such disobedience would not bring her death, but that she would become wise like the ELOHIM [probably referring to the angelic spirit beings] if she ate of the tree, and also with the claim that the Creator was deceiving her, and keeping her from something that she should be seeking to have. Thus he sought to promote a desire [lust — 1 Peter 1:4] in Eve for that which God had commanded against. Eve could have thought many things, but she pondered over what the serpent had told, until she developed in herself the lust to eat that fruit. (James 1:14,15) Eve ate, thinking thereby that she had done something good, and had become wise. Professing to be wise, Paul says, they became fools. — Romans 1:22.

Adam could have passed the test. He had the means to pass. He could have chosen to obey, but he didn’t have enough faith and love for his Creator. He didn’t have enough experience. He didn’t have enough confidence in his Creator. Adam was created “good” — in the full glory of God until he chose to disobey; when Adam disobeyed, mankind then became “vessels of wrath made for destruction” (Romans 1:25-31; 9:22), became by nature “children of wrath,” “sons of disobedience,” (Ephesians 2:2,3) and all mankind in Adam fell short of the glory of God, and are condemned as sinners and to its penalty in Adam. — Romans 1:25-31; 3:23; 5:15-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22.

Paul indicates that Adam was created with a knowledge of “good,” but not evil. He does this when speaking of the Gentiles, saying that they do “by nature” the things of the law, and that they are example of the law being written in the heart of man. (Romans 2:14,15) Paul is showing that this law written in the hearts of man who do not have the Law of Moses serves to condemn them because of sin, for he says: “we previously charged both Jews and Greeks, that they are all under sin.” (Romans 3:9) “for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.” — Romans 3:23.

Adam, although he was incorrupt before he sinned, was corruptible. Adam became corrupt, unjust, crooked, unstraight, when he sinned. On the other hand, Jesus, as a man, proved himself incorruptible; he proved his love and loyalty to God beyond any shadow of a doubt, and thus he put on incorruption, bringing life and incorruption to light for mankind. (2 Timothy 1:10) As such, he is the incorruptible seed, the Logos of Yahweh who lives forever (1 Peter 1:23), for Yahweh said: ” I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I shall command him.” (Deuteronomy 18:15-19) He is now the life-giving spirit, and father to the human race in the sense of his taking Adam’s place as the “last Adam.” — 1 Corinthians 15:45.

When one becomes a follower of Jesus, and receives the holy spirit, he, in a sense, has two minds, the depraved mind of the flesh is still with him, but as a new creature in Christ he also has the mind of the spirit. (Romans 8:5-7; Colossians 2:18; 3:2) The new creature, the new man (2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 4:24; 6:6; Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:9,10) is walking after the spirit, not the sinful flesh. Nevertheless, a battle of the minds takes place, whether to be in subjection to the mind of the spirit, or whether to be subjection to the mind of the flesh, carnally minded. (Romans 6:19; 8:6,7; 1 Corinthians 3:1,3;4; 2 Corinthians 10:4) It is the new creature, the new man, with the mind of the spirit, not the body of flesh with its depraved mind, that God recognizes and deals with, although the blood of Jesus covers the sins of the flesh, by whose death the old man is reckoned as dead, it is the new creature that is alive, and the new creature is expected to rule over the body of flesh and its depraved desires. — Romans 6:6,11; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Galatians 2:19,20; Colossians 3:3-5.

However, God subjected his human creation to a bondage of corruption, crookedness (the opposite of justified), vanity, and futility, that the lessons of such a subjection might be learned once for all time, but not without hope. (Ecclesiastes 1:2,13; Romans 8:20,21) To keep this from getting too long, I will sum up by saying that the Bible account reveals that God created man sinless and upright, an earthly image of himself; that man sought out various inventions and defiled himself (Genesis 1:27; Romans 5:12; Ecclesiastes 7:29); that all being sinners, the race was unable to help itself, and none could by any means redeem his brother or give to God a ransom for him (Psalm 49:7,15); that Yahweh in compassion and love had made provision for this; that accordingly, the Son of God became a man, and gave mans ransom-price; that, as a reward for this sacrifice, and in order for the great work of atonement to be completed, he was highly exalted, even to a plane above the angels; and that in due time he will bring to pass a restoration of the race to the original perfection and to every blessing then possessed. These things are clearly taught in the Scriptures, from beginning to end, but this theme is reiterated from different standpoints several times in Paul’s letter to the Romans, and harmonizes well upon the present sun under which we have vanity, crookedness, injustice, that Solomon spoke of in the book of Ecclesiastes, as contrasted with the promised sun of righteousness (straightness, just), as Malachi spoke of. — Malachi 4:2.

         
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