ESV - 22 Then the Lord God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever -
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The three Persons of the one Triune God, speaking among themselves in this verse (as they also had in Genesis 1:26), had created humans in a state of sinless innocence, in which God intended humanity to remain through fellowship with Him and obedience to His commands. God (being both holy and omniscient by nature) knew what evil was (as had been exhibited by Satan and the angels who followed him in his rebellion against God), but that knowledge did not taint God, or compromise His holiness. Humans, by contrast, were (even in their state of innocence) not endowed with this same omniscience, and were also given free will to either obey God or not (which is what gave their love and obedience to God its worth). In this state, they could only acquire a knowledge of evil through direct experience of it that would cause them to forever lose both their innocence and their unique fellowship with God, and would permanently place them in a state of sin and rebellion with respect to Him (as had happened to Satan). Satan had tempted Eve by characterizing this knowledge of evil as a thing to be desired, and implying that God was withholding it from humans out of jealousy or malice, but the result for humanity of acquiring it was temporal death and eternal separation from God. When God said, "The man has now become like one of us," it was not meant as a commendation, or as an indication of a closer communion with God, but was spoken (in my opinion) with a sense of irony. Man had "gotten his wish" to be like God in that he now knew what evil was, but the result had not been at all what man had anticipated, or what God had intended for man, and produced consequences that would forever change man's relationship to God.
In God’s creation, the first couple had pure minds, they had no knowledge or concept of evil. They were unaware what evil was – evil thoughts, speech, and actions were foreign to them. They were naked but felt no shame (Genesis 2:25). With Adam’s fall, however, that immediately changed. The Bible says that Adam and Eve’s eyes “were opened” (Genesis 3:7). God declared, “Man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:22). Their innocence was replaced with the knowledge of evil – their lives tragically from that point on changed. When the first couple doubted God’s word and believed the serpent, through their disobedience they brought death, the knowledge of evil and separation from God. Fortunately, God did not abandoned the human race and immediately put in place the plan of redemption (Genesis 3:15; Colossians 1:13-14; Hebrews 9:12) and all who believe and have faith in Him can have the hope of eternal life (2 Timothy 1:1;Titus 1:1,2).
You have asked a very interesting question, Robert! I often used to wonder about this myself. May I suggest an entirely different answer? I think it could be God’s conversation with His angelic court. God invites the heavenly court to participate in the creation of humankind (perhaps in the role of offering praise, see Job 38:7), but he himself is the one who does the actual creative work (Gn 1:27). –bible.org “God [speaking] to the heavenly court…is well-attested in the Old Testament (Gen 3:22; 11:7; 1 Kings 22:19-22; Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6; 38:7 (already cited); Ps 89:5-6; Isa 6:1-8; and Dan 10:12-13). --NLTPSB
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