What is the origin of good and evil? this is one of the most asked and least answered questions today. As we end 2014 and usher in 2015 I thought it would be enlightening to address this question.
We’re in troubling times when excesses and extremes are bubbling to the surface. People are looking for solid answers.
The Explanation can answer this one. But the answer might shock you.
In my last post: Can a person who does not believe in God be a good person? I affirmed that a non-believer can be good. Some think the answer is no, some think that every human has a ‘portion’ of God in them and I’m sure there are 1500 other answers as to why God is or isn’t involved.
Let me say that, in my mind, the answer to this question is one of the fundamental reasons for the world being the way it is today. Unbeknownst to most.
Before I answer this I need to add my relationship to you, my readers, as well as your relationship to the Bible.
My relationship to my readers (of this blog or my coming books)
I’m NOT trying to convince you of anything not get you to change your way of thinking nor get you to adhere to any club, church or organization. This is ‘The Explanation with Sam Kneller’, you take it, leave it, agree, disagree, question, comment… you decide. I will give my point of view and show you why I’ve written what I did. If I’m wrong I’ll say so, You have free will and I respect that.
With regard to the Bible. You may be a believer or a non-believer or anywhere in-between
That’s entirely up to you. I’m a believer. All I ask is that even if you’re an ‘avid non-believer’ simply consider the Bible as ‘another piece of literature’. A piece of literature that you’d like to at least know what the author(s) have really written… rather than what you’ve been told is in there. That’s how I intend to approach ‘The Explanation’.
I welcome your respectful comments as to what the Bible authors have to say about any given subject. I believe that neither you nor I am interested in what others or traditions or myths or opinions have to say about the contents of this book. The rules of comprehension would have us stick to what the Bible has to say about the Bible.
We WILL get into the actual biblical Hebrew because ‘word for word translations’ do not always render the full meanings of words. But that is another subject I will not develop here and now.
Now, for this blog post, I need to add 2 qualifiers of the subject we’re broaching. Both of these qualifiers are in the title, but it is necessary to emphasize them to clearly see what I’m discussing here.
This is the Biblical origin of ‘good and evil’
If you don’t or can’t believe in the Bible… I understand that and that’s fine as I stated above… As you know, the Bible ‘states’ certain points. All I’m doing is drawing your attention to what the Bible says and making certain observations about these statements. These are not ideas, philosophy, opinions, etc.
I think they can be backed up by other clear Bible references, if you don’t, then give me the Bible references in question and let’s take a respectful look at them. Remember, each reference is a piece of the entire puzzle. We’d expect all the pieces to fit nicely together. That’s what I expect.
This blog is about the origin of ‘good and evil’ on EARTH, our planet
This blog is not about the ‘origin of good and evil’… that is another question!
For the believers among the readers, I’d like to be even more specific. This blog is not discussing the origin of SIN or the first SIN on Earth. We are discussing the origin of ‘good and evil’… BOTH of these ‘behaviors’.
The first time these two behaviors are mentioned together in the Bible is in Genesis 2.7-9
7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
8 And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
9 And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Please remember, you don’t have to believe any of this, in fact, if you want, just think about it as a fairy tale, a piece of literature. After all, it does sound a bit far-fetched! That said, This is what the Bible says and this blog post discusses the ‘biblical origin of good and evil’. Here, BOTH behaviors are associated with a tree of knowledge about these two facets.
The Oxford dictionary defines ‘knowledge’ (I will discuss the biblical Hebrew at another time) as What is known in a particular field or in total; facts and information. This tree represents facts and information about good and evil.
A little later God makes another statement about ‘good and evil’
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof thou shall surely die.
Again, no one is asking you to believe this. It’s simply what this ancient piece of literature is stating: To me it’s quite clear. Eating of the tree leads to death. Note this is not ‘immediate’ death because both Adam and Eve lived lengthy lives. This information, these facts about ‘good and evil’ associated with this tree end in death. Please notice that not just the evil ends in death, BOTH behaviors, the evil AND the good end in death.
What I have just observed is very important… it is simply my observation, I didn’t write it. It’s there in the Bible. I think most have not read that passage very well. Yet it is a fundamental piece of the puzzle. I’ll even go so far as to say that if we miss this piece it is going to be impossible to put the rest of the pieces of the puzzle in place.
What I’m saying is. If we get this piece wrong, in my opinion, we can’t understand the position of ‘good and evil’ in our world today. Once again, you don’t have to believe any of this. Now, I’m stating what I believe and that there’s a relationship between this ‘biblical stuff’ and ‘today’s world’. You don’t have to believe that, that’s fine.
But the observance that ‘good and evil’ are associated with the SAME tree… that IS biblical knowledge.
The final point to observe today is common knowledge: Adam and Eve both ate the fruit of this tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Their ‘wrong’ (this is a biblical perspective) was to eat of a forbidden tree. From a biblical point of view, this is the first sin on Earth! but that’s another story.
But the CONSEQUENCES of so doing is that they now acquired something they did NOT have before: the knowledge of good and evil. They had information and facts about TWO behaviors, both of which led to death. Please read that a couple of times… again, this is Bible knowledge not widely known and not widely accepted. This is not Sam Kneller’s opinion, I’m simply observing what the Bible says here… that Adam and Eve acquired knowledge of good and evil, both of which lead to death.
This is the biblical ORIGIN of GOOD and EVIL on EARTH.
I am going to leave you with a few points to think about.
- This ‘good’ (of the ‘good and evil’ of the tree of knowledge) can NOT be ‘God’s good’. Why not? Because it leads to death. And IF God is good, then His way can NOT lead to death… His way leads to LIFE.
- If this good is not God’s good… then it is ‘man’s good’… or man’s concept of good.
- The Bible indicates that immediately on eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil God put Adam and Eve OUT of the Garden of Eden… so they would NOT eat of the tree of LIFE. Why would a good God PREVENT Adam and Eve from obtaining LIFE?
- I’ll grant you this next point is a bit enigmatic but needs to be thought about. In Gen 2.8 above we saw God specifically planted the Garden of Eden on Earth and placed man in that location. Why there? What’s so special about that place? Now, considering Adam and Eve are expulsed from this special Garden of Eden what is the nature of God’s relationship to the rest of the world OUTSIDE the Garden of Eden?
- Remember, Adam and Eve now have information and facts about ‘good and evil’ outside the specific place God had designated for their habitat.
Please think about this:
– Adam and Eve and their descendants are living in a world where there is ‘good and evil’.
– Both the ‘good and evil’ which men and women do lead to death (this is a strong statement but it is simply what the Bible says)
– Adam and Eve’s descendants live in a world that is outside the habitat God placed them originally.
This ‘good’, from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, is not ‘God’s good’. So there can be lots of good, and indeed thankfully there is lots of good in the world, everywhere, in all walks of life, on all continents, in all races, religions, philosophies, sciences, leaders, peoples… but the ‘good’ is not necessarily a sign, evidence or proof or even a representation of ‘God’. That’s why it is not necessary to believe in or have anything to with God to be a good person.
I will also add that there is also bad/evil in the world, everywhere, in all walks of life, on all continents, in all races, religions, philosophies, sciences, leaders, peoples… In essence, in my opinion, this is The Explanation for a world filled with the knowledge of both good and evil. This is why we find such a mixture of both ‘good and evil’ in individuals, families, neighborhoods, both religious and non-religious groups, associations, organizations, companies, cities, countries… you name it.
As we end 2014 and start 2015 I don’t want to end this post on a negative note. The tree of Life is in the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve, once expelled from the Garden, no longer had access to it. The Bible explains where the Garden of Eden was, what the tree of Life is all about and how mankind can have access to it. According to the Bible, this piece of ancient literature, all of mankind will have both access to the tree of Life and the Garden of Eden.
That is something to look forward to and this is something that The Explanation will elucidate over the coming weeks and months.
Dig Deeper into The Explanation
Join The Explanation Newsletter to stay informed of updates. and future events. No obligations, total privacy, unsubscribe if you want.
The Explanation series of seven books. Free to read online or purchase these valuable commentaries on Genesis 1-3 from your favorite book outlet. E-book and paperback formats are available. Use this link to see the details of each book and buy from your favorite store.
Since you read all the way to here… you liked it. Please use the Social Network links just below to share this information from The Explanation, The Biblical Origin of Good and Evil on Earth