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Scripture Reading: Genesis 3:1-7

Knowing Good and Evil


1.   Conflict between good and evil is as old as mankind (Gen 2-3).

2.   God created man:

   a.   Morally pure (innocent), Eccl 7:29; Deut 1:39.

   b.   With freewill (like God), Gen 2:16-17.

3.   God did not create man and woman ignorant of what sin is and what it would do, Gen 2:16-17 (Rom 4:15; 5:13).



   A.   Defining what it is to “Know” (Heb. yadah).

      1.   “used in a great variety of senses, figuratively, literally, euphemistically and inferentially (including observation, care, recognition” (Strong).

      2.   “to know, learn to know…to perceive…to perceive and see, find out and discern…to discriminate, distinguish…to know by experience…to recognise, admit, acknowledge, confess…to consider…to know, be acquainted with…to know how, be skilful in…to have knowledge, be wise” (BDB).

    B.  What is Meant by “Knowing Good and Evil”? Gen 2:9, 17; 3:5, 22

*     1.   Possessing the moral capacity to choose good and evil, Deut 1:39 (Rom 7:9); Gen 3:22; the ability to make moral choices.

       2.   Knowing good and evil can occur:

         a.   Intellectually: Knowledge is an exercise of the intellect, Gen 3:22.

         b.   Experientially: When they ate, they experienced a knowledge of good and evil by doing what was evil, Gen 3:5; when they tended the garden they experienced good, Gen 2:8-9, 15.

         c.   By faith, cf. Rom 10:17. We can know good and evil by obeying God and accepting what God says about good and evil:

            1)   What sin is, 1 Jno 3:4; 5:17; Jas 4:17.

            2)   What sin does, Rom 5:12.

            3)   Sin is chosen, not inherited, Ezek 18:20; Rom 5:12; Acts 5:3-4; Josh 24:15.

      3.   God knew good and evil through His very nature; Man learned good and evil all three ways.

      4.   God’s will for man is that we know good and evil by trusting and obeying Him! Psa 119:104, 130


II. THE LIES OF SATAN, Gen 3:1-7 (Jno 8:44).

   A.   Satan Lies about God, Gen 3:1, 5.

      1.   Injected doubt about God’s law, 3:1. (“God’s law is evil” Rom 7:7-12.) Questioned God’s integrity.

      2.   God’s blessings were diminished (cf. Matt 4:3-10).

   B.      Satan Lies about Sin:

      1.   “You will not surely die”, Gen 3:4.

         a.   God said they would, Gen 2:17.

         b.   God was right! Satan lied! Cf. what died that day: Fellowship with God, their innocence and purity…their souls, Rom 5:12.         

      2.   “Your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil”, Gen 3:5.

         -What really happened: Deceived by sin, cf. Rom 7:9-11.

   C.   Satan Lies about Man and Woman, Gen 3:5.

      1.   His lie about man is that we cannot know sin (or know what is good) without committing sin. Cf. Jesus, Heb 4:15

         -cf. LDS doctrine of man and sin.

      2.   How can you identify temptation to sin unless you also know sin?! Jas 1:13-16

*    3.   Adam and Eve knew good before they ever committed sin, Gen 1:28-31.

      4.   Satan’s lie turns evil into “good”! (Isa 5:20)



   A.   When we Believe the Devil’s Lies we will Fail to See the Seriousness of Sin, Rom 12:9. A distorted view of sin results.

   B.   When we Believe the Devil’s Lies we will not See the Good in Obeying God (Gen 2:15), Mal 1:12-13; 1 Jno 5:3.

   C.   We Easily Convince Ourselves and Others that Sin Produces Good Results:

      1.   Eve saw, took and ate, Gen 3:6.

      2.   The pleasures of sin are viewed as our right! Heb 11:25


IV.  DEATH AND REDEMPTION, Gen 2:17; 3:10, 22-24.

   A.   Sin Produced Spiritual Death, Rom 5:12.

   B.   Sin’s Consequences: Guilt, shame, trials, sufferings and physical death, Gen 3:10, 16-19.

   C.   Redemption and Eternal Life, Gen 3:15, 22-24; Rev 2:7.



1.   Our understanding of good and evil should come from faith in our God and not from the lies of Satan. The first leads to life everlasting while the second leads to eternal death.

2.   Love the Lord and hate evil, Psa 97:10; Amos 5:15.




Mormonism on Knowing Good and Evil (


3. Adam's Sin Was A Blessing For Mankind.

a. LDS: Enabled our life and joy in this life.

   “And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained for ever, and had no end. And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin. But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things. Adam fell that men might be; and men are that they might have joy.”      (2 Nephi 2:22-25)
b. LDS: Man would never have known good and evil.

   “And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed by the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God. And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.” (Moses 5:10-11, Pearl of Great Price)



a.   Spiritual death, Gen 2:17 (Rom 5:12).

b.   Shame, trials and sufferings, Gen 3:10, 16-19.

c.   Physical death, Gen 3:19.

d.   Man could have known good and experienced joy w/o sinning -

   -Faith in God’s word as He told them what was good and what was evil! (Just as today!)