Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Knowledge of Good and Evil

photo credit: Emma Smart

One of my first memories of struggling with right and wrong was when I was very young... probably not more than three years of age.
I remember having a crayon in my hand and kneeling in front a white chair colouring on a piece of paper.
The thought entered my head that it might feel nice to colour the chair instead. I had a vague feeling that it would be wrong to do it but the urge to do it was stronger. I remember the first stroke. It gave me pleasure. I enjoyed the feeling of the crayon against the smooth white paint and I loved seeing the coloured lines appear.
Part of me recognized a sense of guilt that I knew not quite what to do with and I tried to remember if I had ever seen someone else colour on chairs.
I wondered if my mother would be angry with me, but I couldn't rationalize why it would be wrong if it felt so good to do it - so I carried on.
I did, of course, get into trouble ... and I never coloured on chairs again.
All of us are born with some innate sense of there being a standard of right and wrong.
What that standard is or who has the authority to set the rules that govern it is something that we must at some point determine.
From an early age we are quick to find a way to justify the terms of that standard according to our own reason and/or emotional needs.
It matters not how we twist or redefine to our own advantage - the standard of right and wrong / good and evil is set by God.
It is unchangeable, non-negotiable - it is fixed in His character and eternity.
We have our first example of rebellion against this rigid standard in Lucifer. He was lifted up with pride and saw no reason why he should have to live by God's standards. Why could he not set up his own system of right and wrong and live by his own rules? A tempting heady thought! He tried ... but God's reaction was swift - he was banished from his former estate and condemned for eternity with the angels that fell with him.

When Satan entered the garden of Eden, he understood exactly how to move Adam and Eve out of fellowship with God. All he had to do was tempt them to question God's standard and establish their own.
Satan already understood why they were not allowed to touch the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
He knew that God would never allow any deviation from right and wrong as He defined it. The knowledge of how that standard was set up belonged to God and God alone. If man reached out his hand to touch it in any way ... he would suffer what lay outside of God's 'good'.
Living by any standard or commandment other than the ones God sets will lead to sorrow, pain, hardship, suffering, evil, and physical death in this life. Ultimately, it also leads to spiritual death in eternity.
Stop and think... look around you.
We live in a world today that is infested with wickedness - of man inflicting and suffering pain and hardship. If we examine the root cause -- is it not because someone has 'touched' or disobeyed' a commandment of God ? Attempted to redefine what He has declared to be right and good?
How quick we are to question (at best) or accuse (at worst) God for the difficulties that afflict all of us. But did God not warn us from the very beginning ? Violate my rules/my standard for good and evil or suffer the results? Is man himself -- either directly or indirectly - not responsible for all the suffering man experiences ?
We see every day the resulting evidence of people trying to live by their own code of what is right and wrong. On a personaly level, one's life soone takes a downward turn, affecting those around him in a widening arc.
And when a nation turns away from the 'law' God set forth -- the ten commandments -- that nation moves itself out of God's blessing.
Our society is fast paced, ever changing and the natural response is to adjust our world view accordingly and compromise previously held standards of God's right and wrong.
But we are not allowed to do it. God has warned us and we cannot escape the resulting pain of the consequences of disobedience.
God did not set His standard to make life difficult for us; He set forth His commandments so we would know how to live happy and fulfilling lives that allow His blessings to be poured out upon us.
I have been convicted of late to what extend we, even as believers, have 'touched' the tree of Good and Evil and have adjusted or even rewritten God's standard of good and evil / right and wrong.
What God says and what Jesus taught... were not just valid for the day in which they were spoken .. The same Word speaks today and is just as true as it ever was.
What God says is right and good .. is forever right!
What He says is wrong... is forever wrong.
His commandments are still valid today with no less authority.
God's law IS law and the only law that counts!
"Therefore I love Your commandments , more than gold, yes, more than fine gold. Therefore all Your precepts (standards) concerning ALL things , I consider to be right. I hate every false way." Psalm 119:127,128


Marg said...

Interesting how we all have that early childhood memory, wondering if it's right or wrong, and yet well knowing the truth.
I'm thankful for God's word which gives us the right measures...on how to know right from wrong. God's word is law!

Anneliese said...

I find it interesting that Adam and Eve did not know what evil was until they disobeyed and ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They were curious... just like we all are. I've wished there was no such thing... but having a free will and choice is also a good thing. If we did not know evil, would we know good? I like the thought that God loves us to come to Him because we want to, not because we have no other choice.

James Janzen said... I never realized what a bad little girl you were. And soo early!! :-)

Danmark said...

He is broken spiritually and psychologically, and seems beyond the help of the beautiful woman who is both his psychiatrist and lover. He has to know if he will ever see his parents again, as his religion has always told him. But his religion has also let him down badly and he no longer trusts its promises. He must find the truth for himself, and he discovers a diabolical way to do it. It does not lead him to the answers he expects. It takes him on a harrowing and thought-provoking journey you will not soon forget. I won't spoil the fun by revealing more.