Knowing Good and Evil

“For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil,” (Genesis 3:5). Satan promises Eve knowledge of good and evil. I recently read a book that pointed out that Adam and Eve already knew right and wrong to some degree. They knew that eating the fruit would be wrong. So, what does Satan mean? Satan is promising they will be like God and be able to decide right and wrong for themselves. But there is another meaning here as well. Eve knew that eating the fruit would be wrong, intellectually, but she didn’t have a deep understanding of what sin meant. The word “know” in Hebrew is laden with meaning. The very next chapter, Genesis says, “Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant.” The Hebrew word for “lay with” is this exact same word, “to know.” To know something in Hebrew is intimate. Eve intellectually knew about evil, but she didn’t know it intimately.
I have always known the danger of touching hot surfaces, but I remember in Jr. High the day that I intimately became aware of the danger. I was wiping down our lab table in science class and happened to get too close to a running hotplate. Before I was able to register what happened, I heard a loud pop, and the skin on my arm instantly blistered. I knew intellectually about heat before that, but now I had the personal experience (and the scar to prove it!).
Eve was promised knowledge. She was promised wisdom. But she received only the pain that comes with experience. We can learn about the dangers of sin through the Bible and wisely avoid the painful consequences, or we can learn the disastrous consequences of sin through personal experience which often results in deep pain and scars for ourselves and those around us. Let’s be people who live holy lives so we can avoid that pain for us and our loved ones.