Good and Evil; December 1, 2017

Genesis 3:5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

It’s fascinating that the devil’s temptation in the Garden of Eden is still operative today. The desire to know is part of how we are created, and as such is a good thing. However, Adam and Eve didn’t need to know the difference between good and evil. They knew God, and that was enough. In a sense we know good only in the context of evil, so that is why the two are paired. That’s why a search for good that is divorced from God will always result in evil. That seems paradoxical, but it is operative in the world today. Those who profess not to need God always wind up espousing things that are harmful to mankind, all the while proclaiming things like “social justice” and “save the planet.” Genuine social justice is certainly a desirable goal, but it is possible only in the context of God’s justice as expressed in the Bible. Likewise, we are to be good stewards of the world in which we live, but leaving God out of the picture totally distorts our perspective and priorities. In other words, nice-sounding goals become tools for personal power. People who deny the existence of God sometimes say things like, “I know evil when I see it,” but they still espouse things like abortion and euthanasia and sexual relationships that destroy the family. They are sadly deceived. As has been pointed out many times in recent years, the only firm basis for morality is the awareness of accountability to God. The devil was here tempting Eve to violate that accountability, and she took the bait, as did Adam when she offered it to him. The root of this temptation is pride/ambition, to “be like God” by our own actions, when He has provided for us to be transformed into the likeness of His Son. (Romans 8:29)

Pride has been a major pitfall for me all of my life. Looking back, I can see that it would have been possible for me to have developed into a serial killer, had God not graciously guided me. The root of such a thing would have been seeing myself as superior, so other people wouldn’t have the “right” to oppose me. I have heard the voice of the devil far more than I want to! Actually, he tempts us all, but the only way to defeat him is to choose God. Just trying to choose good, without seeking God’s will, leaves me open to all sorts of deception, just as it did for Eve. That’s why James’ admonition is so true: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) If I try to set my own standards of good and evil, rather than submitting to God, I have surrendered to the devil, whether I realize it or not.

Father, thank You for this reminder of Your incredible grace toward me. Help me seek You as the standard for every decision, every value judgment, in full and joyful submission to You, so that I may indeed resist the devil and see him flee, from me and from those to whom I minister, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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