Door of Faith – Lesson Three

Man Has Become as One of Us


Assuming, as Christians, we have understood why and how God created us, we can make a decision, by our own intelligence, to have faith in the scriptures we studied in Lessons One and Two.  Each time we practice this cycle of learning; that is, reading scriptures in context, understanding the content and deciding to trust the messages from God, we open our door of faith a little wider.   This will merge our lives with God who created us (I John 4:15).  At the same time, we are being freed from a “dependency on the wisdom of man” in our Bible studies (I Cor. 3:20, 21).  With faith in God’s word for answers for the “why and how” questions about human life “under the sun,” we are ready to investigate the dark side of life on earth.  The question we often hear asked after a tragedy strikes is “what went wrong?”  Sowe ask, “What went wrongwith God’s creation of mankind?”  Why do so many “living beings,” even though endowed with a spirit made in God’s likeness, exist in a “box of life” God describes as “sin reigning in death?”  Rom. 5:21.  Why did God subject the creation He called “very good” to decay (Rom. 8:18-23)?  God arranged for us to hear His side of the story:

God saw all that He made, and it was very good.  And there was evening, and there was morning – the sixth day.  Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.  Gen. 1:31-2:1

The Lord took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.  And the Lord commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.’  Gen. 2:15-17

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord had made.  He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, you must not eat from any tree in the garden?’
Gen 3:1

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.  She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.  Gen. 3:6

And the Lord said, ‘man has now become like one of Us, knowing good and evil.  He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.’  Gen. 3:22

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.  Rom. 5:12

Adam and Eve became like Deity in respect to knowing good and evil; therefore, Satan attained the power of death (Heb. 2:15).  Satan knew all about why and how God created mankind.  He knew Adam and Eve had an innate need to achieve honor and enjoy the glory of achievement.  The devil works with people the way God created us, but he lies (John 8:44).  Jesus Christ works with people the way God created us (John 10:14).  He is “the way, the truth and the life.”  John 14:6.  Christians must learn to deal with ourselves the way we have been created.  See Lesson Two.  However, since we have come from Adam and Eve, we have an added capacity with which to consider.  The endowment of knowing good and evil has been the number one problem for all living souls after our four capabilities mature.  The first couple had been created in physical bodies to live on earth as God’s children.  God did not want them to have knowledge on the “good and evil level of knowing.”  God, the Father, Jesus Christ, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have the capacity of knowing what is good and what is evil about life (Pro. 15:3).   However, they do not live in physical bodies like Adam (John 1:18).  The Christ (Messiah, in Hebrew) became incarnate; that is, He “came in the flesh.”  I John 4:2.  He knew what was good and what was evil when He arrived.  Although He knew, He did need to learn to be obedient to God’s will while living with this “level of knowing” in a body like Adam.  This was His challenge in order to qualify to be Christians’ king and priest for His Father (Heb. 1:8, 9; 5:7- 10).


Isaiah declared there is a time “before the child shall know to refuse evil, and choose good.”  Isa. 7:16.  Jesus was referring to children who were living in this stage of innocence when He said, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”  Matt. 18:3.  All the beautiful innocent children, who now belong to the kingdom of God, will all sin when they mature in mind, heart, conscience and body (Luke 18:16).  The aim of this lesson is to help us clearly understand why all mature people have sinned but first we need to know; “What is sin?”

When John declared sin is lawlessness, he was speaking of the law of life (I John 3:4; 5:17).   This is the same law spoken of in the final covenant God is offering mankind (Heb. 8:10-12).  It is similar to the law of nature; both laws describe the phenomenon of growth.  This study will be pursued in another lesson.  Adam and Eve broke the first covenant.  It included a command; consequently, this was their sin (Rom. 5:14).  The result was both spiritual and physical death for them and all who have been born in their nature.  “Death came to all men because all sinned.” Rom. 5:12.  The reason all sin is because mature people have the capability of knowing good and evil; however, while in the process of discerning what is good and evil all people will sin (Rom. 3:23).

Our physical bodies have been made in the likeness of Adam.  They will return to dust after our physical death.  Spiritual death means we have been separated from God (I John 5:18, 19).  Our spirits came from God; therefore, we must always be in fellowship with Him.  This is life and without this fellowship, we do not have life.  We have death.  The Apostle Paul made the following declaration to the church of God in Corinth (I Cor. 1:2).  “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”  I Cor. 15:22.

Christians have been made alive “in Christ.”  This will also be studied in another lesson.  Our interest in this lesson is why all mature people have sinned and died spiritually: Why have we all been separated from God at some point during our maturing stage?   The scriptures in this study will help us clearly understand why each human being has already, or will, become a sinner and die both spiritually and physically.  The answer is not complicated:  “Man has now become like one of Us, knowing good and evil.”  This is the answer but now let us understand why it is the answer.

All people on earth have come from Adam; therefore, being “in Adam,” we must die.  See I Cor. 15:44-49.  Although “we did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam,” all people become sinners when we mature (Rom. 5:14).   This is because we, like Adam, have the endowment of “knowing,” and being responsible for knowing, too much.  We know too much to be at peace in our physical bodies; consequently, Paul encouraged the saints in Rome to seek immortality to have eternal peace with God and ourselves (Rom. 2:7; Phil. 1:22, 23)

Adam and Eve became covenant breakers; consequently, we have the endowment of knowing good and evil.  The difference in our “knowing” and Jesus of Nazareth’s “knowing” is that He knew how to discern good from evil when He came from heaven.  Jesus already knew the will of God and He also knew His Father’s will is good (Matt. 19:17; John 4:34; 5:19).  His struggle was to choose good in every situation He encountered while living in a physical body – even when He was tired and hungry.  Satan got his influence over peoples’ lives by first deceiving Eve and then by Adam listening to his wife (Gen. 3:17; II Cor. 11:3).  Satan was sure he could take the Son of God captive after He became incarnate, but he failed (Matt. 4:1-11).

Human beings now have the capacity to know what is good and what is evil; therefore, we are responsible for learning to discern the difference as we encounter life’s experiences.  Our problem is we have the capacity to know, but we don’t know.  We need to learn what is good and evil in all the situations we encounter.  The responsibility of accountability is not required of children; except, perhaps, by their parents.  However, as children mature and enter into the stage of adolescence, they must learn what is good and evil according to God’s requirements.  It is at this point in their lives Satan captures all of God’s potential children.  Satan has been successful in keeping a majority of God’s people (Isa. 43:6, 7).  A remnant has been redeemed, but the mass has been lost (Rom. 11:5, 6).

Children’s first, and perhaps foremost, problem is the way they must learn in their formative years.  It is called passive learning.  Please review the Introduction entitled, “Born in a Box,” for this series of lessons.  All people, so to speak, are put into a box based on their parent’s belief about what is good and evil.  It is during this period a child begins to develop two very long lists of data in her or his long term memory.  Their parents start and continually add to their children’s lists of what is good and what is evil.  We learn through Moses, children do not know the difference between good and evil at an early stage (Deut. 1:39).  What they know and believe is what their parents and others tell them.

In the children’s junior years they begin to think “out of their box of life.”  They consider what others think.  They go to school and begin to learn what society believes is good and evil.   During youth’s period of adolescence they are finally mature enough in their minds and consciences to make their own decisions.  Wise men and scholars in the world society have been trying to decide for ages:  “What is good and what is evil?”  What is life and what is death?  These are synonymous questions in God’s thinking.  See I Pet. 3:10-12.  Moses’ last words from God for Israel validated this point; “See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil.” KJV.  Deut. 30:15.

The scholars who have not put their trust in what Deity has proclaimed as “good and evil” are still philosophizing about this topic today.  The result is most people in the world live in a “box of life” shaped by the wisdom of men.  People love to quote the scholars.  The capacity for “knowing good and evil” is the problem humanity inherited because Adam and Eve broke covenant.  It became a troublesome asset.  The solution for mature peoples’ ignorance about what is good and evil is at our finger tips in a book on the “best seller” list.  It is the Bible.  We can know what is good and evil from God’s word.  John said, “Dear friends, do not imitate what is evil but what is good.  Anyone who does what is good is from God.  Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.”  III John 11.  Wow!  This is so simply stated.

The second problem living beings must face as we mature is the way our minds and consciences convene court secessions on our behavior.  Even though we may have the wrong information in our long term memories about what is good and evil, our inner court system will condemn us as guilty if we violate what we believe is good.

Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them. Rom. 2:14, 15

Our consciences are endowments of human beings that give us the capacity to know ourselves.  We can examine ourselves (II Cor. 13:5).  Our consciences cooperate with the data in our minds about what we believe is good and evil.  This is what Paul explained in the foregoing scripture.  It is like a court case happening in our brains.  He told about a situation in I Corinthians Chapter Eight where a Christian believed eating meat sacrificed to idols was evil.  It was not evil according Paul’s understanding, unless it was declared to be an act of worship of an idol; however, “since their conscience is weak, it is defiled” if they eat (verse 7).  In context with this same situation please read Romans 14:22, 23.  The “babe in Christ” had a weak conscience because he or she did not have the correct information about what was good and evil in this case.

The field of study about what is good and what is evil has provided Satan an open door into what is called “higher learning.”  The devil has inspired people with worldly wisdom to develop complicated teachings about good and evil.  In some cases, smart people do not want to be constrained from doing what they want to do, so they become philosophers.  They compose their own lists for what is good and they convince themselves of their own wisdom.  In this way, they keep a clean conscience about their evil behavior.  They promote their philosophies as truth to society so they can maintain an honorable position among men.

Even so, the people who do not care what others think, still cannot live comfortable with guilt on their consciences.  God declared, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.”  Isa. 5:20.  Paul told Titus people who “claim to know God, but their actions deny Him” are like this because “both their minds and consciences are corrupted.”  Tit. 1:15, 16.  They cannot properly examine themselves.  A person who regularly upgrades his lists of what he or she believes is good or evil according to God’s word will be able to properly accuse or defend their behavior.  Christians who understand we have not chosen good do accuse ourselves.  Following our repentance, we ask God for forgiveness.   We want to fix what is wrong in our “selves.”

Mankind cannot live with guilt on their consciences.  Guilt robs a person of “having a good view of themselves” – this is the meaning of glory.  All people have an innate need for glory.  This is how Satan has been able to rob God of most of His potential children.  He offers many and varied programs for the satisfaction of this innate need for glory.  God had a specific program in mind before He created us, “destined” for our glory (I Cor. 2:7).

Guilt is the result of not choosing what we believe is good in each and every situation we encounter.  Guilt caused Adam and Eve to hide from God after they broke His covenant.  In an attempt to sooth their guilty consciences, they began the blaming game.  Guilt caused Cain to kill his brother.  Guilt on the consciences of human beings is why Jesus had to be crucified.  The blood of bulls and goats did not remove guilt from the conscience (Heb. 10:1-10).  The Holy Spirit would not indwell Christians until guilt was removed from our consciences (Acts 2:38).

Elders, preachers, Bible teachers and Christian parents need to make sure young people know why they will or have become sinners.   Children need to understand they will not become sinners because they are evil.  They were not born in sin as many religious people have been falsely taught.  It is not their fault “death came to all men, because all sinned.”  Rom. 5:12.   However, it will do no good to blame Adam.  Children now have a capability God did not want mankind to have, but we have it.  At a given point in these children’s adolescence years they will choose evil and they will know it.   They need to learn what is good and what is evil according to God’s lists (Heb. 5:14).  If youth are not properly informed of Jesus’ teaching they will use the good and evil list they acquired from their parents and, perhaps, other well meaning people (Jas. 4:17).  Since God is holding all mature people responsible for choosing good over evil, we need to make sure we are judging our behavior according to His divine lists of good and evil.  Christians are blessed with the doctrine of justification by faith so we do not suffer from guilt while we learn (Rom. 4:25; 5:1).

First and foremost this “level of knowing” is the reason God drove Adam and Eve out of His presence and away from the “tree of life.”  All people must die physically to free ourselves from an eternal struggle with the capacity of “knowing good and evil.”  Mankind had become sinners; God is holy.  These are not compatible qualities because God’s responds to sin with wrath (Rom. 2:8).  There had been no need for “justification by faith” before sin entered the world through one man.  This doctrine was immediately instituted.  Able’s name is on the list with people of faith who were justified (Heb. 11:4).  Secondly, it would have been cruel to let mankind live forever in a physical body with the capability of discerning good and evil.  Physical death became a blessing after the fact they broke covenant.  Jesus is the only person who proved He could live in a body like Adam and never choose evil (II Cor. 5:21).  The difference was that He did not need to learn what was good and evil.  He knew it, but He did need to do good only – and He did.

The following are a few more of the many scriptures throughout the Bible acknowledging this terrible plague Satan caused to be added to the attributes of mankind.  Please note:  Situations are either good or evil in God’s mind; there is no middle ground.  The outcome of Christians’ mind court gives us a green light to proceed or a red light to stop.  Unlike signal lights at the intersection of two streets, there is no yellow light.  For us it is either go, or stop.  This is how a healthy mind and conscience works.  There are people who are weaker and stronger, but not so, in the case of good and evil.  This is not a mute Biblical subject.

Joseph spoke about good and evil.  Gen. 44:4; 50:20.  God used his brothers’ evil for the good of Israel.

After Joshua settled the Israelite in the Promised Land, he warned them to choose good; otherwise, the Lord would use evil to destroy them.  Joshua 23:15.

David complained how Nabal “had paid him back evil for good.”  I Sa, 25:21.

Ahab, king of Israel, complained to Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, that Micaiah, the prophet, “would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil.”  I Kings 22:18.

Job complained, “Yet when I hoped for good, evil came; when I looked for light, then came darkness.”  Job 30:26.

There are several statements made about good and evil in the Psalms and Proverbs.

We have seen Isaiah’s declaration in the lesson.  See Isa. 5:20; 7:15, 16.

Jeremiah made many comments on this subject. In one, God complained, “My people are fools; they do not know me, they are senseless children; they have no understanding.  They are skilled in doing evil; they know not how to do good.”  Jer. 4:22.

Ezekiel commented, “Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices.”  Ezek. 36:31.

Amos said, “Seek good, not evil that you may live.”  “Hate evil love good.”  Amos 5:14, 15.

Micah prophesied; “Listen you leaders of Jacob, you rulers of the house of Israel.  Should you not know justice, you who hate good and love evil; … .”  Micah 3:1, 2.

Malachi’s dialogue:  “You have wearied the Lord with your words.  ‘How have we wearied Him?’  By saying, ‘All who do evil is good in the eyes of the Lord.”  Mal. 2:17.

Matthew recorded Jesus’ comments about good and evil in Matt. 5:45; 7:11, 17, 18; 12:34, 35; 20:15.

Paul spoke of good and evil in his letter to the Romans.  See Rom. 3:8; 7:19, 21; 9:11; 12:9; 12:21; 13:3, 4; 14:16.  Finally he wrote, “But I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.”  16:19.

Peter quoted the Psalmist, “For, whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from deceitful speech.  He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.”  I Pet. 3:10, 11.

The foregoing scriptures have been included to impress upon us the importance of this lesson.  Before teachers and preachers tell people they are sinners, we need to explain to them why they are sinners.  We need to educate children about why they will become sinners.  We cannot expect to overcome our sins until we know what is sin, and why we are sinners.  There would have been no need for the Bible being written, if mankind had not become like Deity knowing good and evil (Gen. 3:22).

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