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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First lets consider what it does not mean. - It does not mean that man now has a fuller knowledge of good and evil that is more like God in that before eating the tree he only had intellectual but now he has experiential knowledge. While this is a very common interpretation of this passage it is utterly unsupportable from Scripture. This would imply that fallen man is more like after he sinned God than he was before the fall in the sense that his nature has grown in something positive. Is it not a good thing to know as God knows in this sense it makes him more like God? The first problem with this interpretation is, it implies that God has an experiential acquaintance with evil, this cannot be 1 John 1:5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. Therefore it isn't an experiential verses an intellectual that makes us more like God, because God has no experiential acquaintance with evil at all. Evil is what God is not. Evil is the condition of the absence of God. Malicious, diabolical, spirits, both human and angelic traffic in this sphere of darkness and except for the restraining grace of God unimaginable evil would prevail. What has happened is man has not gained something he has lost everything, he is left in a condition that is describe in the rest of scripture. Genesis 3:22 Then the Lord God said, “ Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— Addition by subtraction: He has become something he was not before. When they partook of the fruit they died spiritually Genesis 2:17 "for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Being dead in this biblical sense is described in the N. T. As alienated from the life of God, under the dominion of sin, of your father the devil, without God in the world. Gods Spirit communing with mans spirit is no longer mans reference. His orientation is now self centered. He is a hater of God, views God as his enemy, a suppressor of the truth of about himself and God. This is only a small sampling of what biblically it means to be dead to say nothing of the final sentence that all who are outside of Christ will endure. This is not knowing good and evil experimentally the way God does. This is setting up your own standards calling evil good and good evil. Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! It is in this way this rebel alienated from God now asserts his idea of what is good and what is evil. He though a finite miniature replica of the altogether glorious infinite righteous eternal God has the brazen audacity to determine for himself what is good and what is evil. He is no longer subject to the law of God neither indeed can be. But is dominated by his enmity to defy God at every point. The illustration of this is seen 1. Determining that being naked was evil. 2. Blaming God for his plight " this woman YOU gave me. Then blaming the woman. At the core of the alienated spiritually dead sinner is a determination to kill God because God dares to defy him. Luke 20:14 But when the vinedressers saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, ‘ This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours. This is what it means that man has become like one of Us!
This question emanates from an interpretation coming from Genesis 3:22 "And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil:" (KJV; KJ 2000;AKJ; ASV;Darby; Webster) What does the narrative in the garden of Eden convey? Did Adam and Eve actually "know good and evil" after eating the forbidden fruit? And how did "eating the forbidden fruit" make one to be "God"? Was their motivation to be "God" per se or be like that "specific God in Genesis"? What does it really mean to become "like God", "as one of Us"? And why was having "knowledge of good and evil" forbidden when, after their experiential sin, God gave Moses, through a mediator, "knowledge of what is good and evil" embodied in the "Decalogue"? To start with, one has to know what "God" is, before one understands what it is to be "like God", whether a specific God or not. Going back to the original word gives us a rational perspective. Using the Touch Bible (free download), touch on this English word translated as "God" to see that it comes from the O.T. Hebrew word "Elohim" and from the N.T. Greek word "Theos". Using the Strong's Concordance, Elohim (O.T) in general refers specifically to YHVH Elohim or Lord God (as in Gen 2:4 "These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens"), and "Theos" (N.T.) to Father God, in contrast to Lord as "Kyrios" (as in Eph 1:3 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ"). Also, in Strong's Concordance, the word "elohim" is a general term that may refer to the Supreme God, but also to angels, man (magistrates, judges, kings). We all know that Lucifer/Devil/Satan is "god of this world" (2 Cor. 4:4), but also there are other 'gods' and 'goddesses' (1 Sam 5:7; 1 Kgs 11:33; 18:24; 1 Kgs 11:5). Moreover, even Jesus himself confirmed and defined that humans are "you are gods" (John 10:34; Ps 82:6). Polytheism is a reality. For an extensive exposition of the word, and to save space, please see also, http://www.hebrew-streams.org/works/monotheism/context-elohim.html To be specific as to what particular “elohim” is referred to, the word "YHVH Elohim", "Lord God" was used to identify the Supreme God, the God where worship is due and not to any other gods, as in “Shema Doctrine” (Deut 6:4). Even with 'many gods', this YHVH Elohim is above all gods (Ex.15:11;Ps135:5) and the only one commanded to be worshipped. This particular YHVH Elohim was the Creator God as in Gen. 1:1, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth". But notice further delineation of the identity of this Creator in John1:1" In the beginning was the Word... All things were made by him (Creator God)..." And in v-14, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us"... In v-16 specifically identified as "Jesus Christ". Clearly, this YHVH Elohim in Genesis, the Creator of all, the Word according to John, had incarnated into man as Jesus Christ. It is most important to understand who Jesus was at creation. He was the "Supreme Deity" the YHVH ELOHIM in Genesis, not the Father God. So, in answer to the question in the narrative at the garden of Eden, Adam was not actually aspiring to be "god" per se since as a human being he was already classified by Jesus Christ as "god" (John 10:34; Ps 82:6). Instead, Adam wanted to be like that "specific God in Genesis", the YHVH ELOHIM. Yes, to be "like him/Christ". Now, to become or how to be "like YHVH ELOHIM/Jesus" has been explained in the Gospels of the New Testament. And, witnessed specifically by the Spirit through the writings of Paul. That the way to "be like him" was not "by our own works" or acting out on our own as in "eating", but through the process that Jesus/incarnate YHVH has gone through, on faith by grace as a gift of God and as an expression of love (John 3:16).
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