When I sat down to write up this thought that I had I didn’t intend it to be a political commentary. It very could be if you want to read it that way. I won’t focus on that but if you want to read it once, then reread it with those goggles on, it could have some interesting implications. Thought I’d paste that here before the meat of the thing.
I’m studying for a one-off study this weekend on Jehovah’s Witnesses. Between books I like to hit one or two topical things. Relevant things that have come up and need addressing. A few weeks ago the Jehovah’s Witnesses came by and left a flier on my door. Without going into my whole study here and now, I thought it would make good fuel for a new once-in-a-while-series called, “Hath God Said…” Not an attack series on the evil and wicked cults, but an equipping series to help people out of their deception and into light.
As a lead off I’m going to talk about Genesis 3:1-5 where Satan tempts Eve, hence the name, “Hath God Said…” Part of Satan’s verbal assault is to say that God is just afraid that if they ate the fruit of the tree that Adam and Eve will be like God, “knowing good and evil.” This puzzled me for the longest time as a Christian because, on one hand I thought, “So what?” On the other hand I thought, “What does it even mean to know good and evil?” And here’s the kicker. Satan wasn’t lying when he said that because in 3:22 God confirms it saying that Adam and Eve have “become like us, to know good and evil.” What does it mean that God knows good and evil? If we can figure that out we can know what it meant for Adam and Eve.
The Hebrew word for “know, knowing” used here can mean a few different things. To know as a result of experience. That can’t be it here because if God has experienced something evil first had He would no longer be holy. The word can mean to know because you have learned a thing. That can’t be it either because God can’t learn anything, He already knows all that there is to know. It can mean to know in the sense that you understand the concept. That wouldn’t seem to apply because Adam and Eve already knew conceptually that they were to obey (good) and to disobey (evil) would be bad with consequences.
Then there is this one. To know in the sense that you are able to discern, decide, or discriminate something. Discriminate like sorting colors into bins or boxes or something. “This one is red, this is blue, this is green, this is blue…” You just know. To decide “this one is good, this one is bad.” To discern “I can tell that this one is good, I can tell this one is bad because I know.” I believe this is the kind of knowledge we are talking about when it refers to God, and Adam and Eve. This is what Satan was referring to when he tempted Eve. In other words,
“You will not surely die, but you will be like God, deciding for yourselves, discerning for yourselves, discriminating for yourselves what is good and evil.”
The reality is that God is the one who decides what is good and what is evil. He defines what is good and what is evil. He knows what is good and evil because He defined them for us to live by. Satan’s temptation to Eve was, “You can decide for yourselves what is good and evil.” What happens when what we decide is good or evil contradicts what God decides what is good and evil? Who is right? Obviously God’s definition is the one that trumps all others. When we begin to decide what is good and evil and that doesn’t line up with what God says, the result is always sin. The result of sin is always separation from God. I think you can see where this is going. This is exactly why relative truth is self contradictory.
What does this have to do with the Jehovah’s Witnesses? However good intentioned the originators of the Witnesses were, they bought into the same thing Eve did. They have reinterpreted and reapplied God’s word. They have decided for themselves what God meant. JWs aren’t being deceptive. Rather, they have been deceived, just like Eve. Jesus said we can know the truth, and the truth will set us free. That is the goal of the study this weekend.