Matthew 22:30 (Answering the Sadducees 9: Equal to Angels in Knowing Good and Evil)

Recall that in answering the Sadducees Jesus noted that in the resurrection men shall neither marry nor be given in marriage for they can no longer die anymore because they are equal to angels and are sons of God being sons of the resurrection (Luk 20:36); what in particular that was lost in Eden and denied to sinful man in this age will the resurrection from the dead restore and make available again to become like angels who cannot die?  See Rev 2:7, 22:14, Gen 3:22-24.  Who is the “us” in Gen 3:22?  Is it just the triune God, or might it also include the angels who cannot die but live forever?  What would this also indicate about who is referred to as “knowing good and evil”?  See also Gen 3:5 where the NAS “like God” may also be translated “as gods” (KJV) or “like divine beings” (NET), as well as Heb 2:6-7 and Psa 8:4-5, noticing that the Hebrew “God” (elohim) in Psa 8:5 may also be translated “gods” and understood as angels, as it was translated by the LXX and so understood by the inspired author of Hebrews.  See also 1Sa 28:13 where the same Hebrew word elohim usually translated as God or gods is used by the medium to describe Samuel whom she had brought up from the dead, as well as Psa 82:6, Joh 10:33-36, and 2Pe 1:3-4.

Was the lie of the serpent about becoming like God / gods entirely false?  See again Gen 3:22.  In what sense did man become “like one of Us/us, knowing good and evil” when he ate of the forbidden fruit?  I.e., what does it mean to “know good and evil”?  Can it mean simply that he had now acquired a sinful nature?  Think: God is clearly one of the “us, knowing good and evil” in Gen 3:22, but does He have a sinful nature?  What phrase is associated with coming to know good and evil?  See Gen 3:5,7; cf. Deut 1:39, Isa 7:15-16, Mat 19:14[1]; see also 2Sa 14:17.  Although man’s eyes were opened in regard to his ability to choose for himself apart from God and become his own god by partaking of the forbidden fruit, in what way were his eyes actually darkened?  Cf. 2Co 4:4, Act 26:18.  What do these things teach us about the half-truths of the Deceiver and the destructive allure of sin, as well as the ultimate importance of faith in trusting and obeying God if we are not to be destroyed?  What does it also teach us about what it takes to be like Satan: to tell outright lies, or to tell half-truths with deceitful intent?

Consider that when man disobeyed God and ate of the forbidden fruit he also came to know good and evil, to have his eyes opened, to become self-aware like God and the angels, like divine beings who are able to make morally culpable choices that either stand with or against Jehovah God who created all things.  For to know good and evil is to be able to exercise one’s will either in obedience to the will of the Father thus acknowledging that He is God, or in accord with one’s own desires thus establishing himself to be his own god in opposition to his Creator.  Is it possible that having one’s eyes opened to become a free moral agent knowing good and evil and live forever as God and the angels is what it means to be a son of God—whether true sons like Jesus and the holy angels who obey the will of the Father, or false sons like Satan and his fallen angels who resist the will of the Father in order to be their own god?  See Gen 6:2,4, Job 1:6, Luk 20:36.  Did Jesus know good and evil?  See Gen 3:22.  Although knowing good and evil, what was it about Christ that identified Him as the perfect Son of God?  See Psa 40:7-8, Mat 26:39, Joh 4:34, 5:30, 6:38, 8:29, 14:30-31, 15:10.

How does Scripture describe man’s innocence prior to his disobedience?  See Gen 2:25.  How is this like little children?  Cf. Mat 19:13-14.  Should we suppose that God’s original intention for man was that he remain a spiritual child forever, or is it possible that even as human fathers He fully intended for man to “grow up” spiritually and become like Him “knowing good and evil” through complete obedience to His will, as do the holy angels, even as was demonstrated by the life of Christ who always did the will of the Father?  Cf. Eph 3:14-15.  Is this not still His intention?  Cf. Mal 3:6, Jam 1:17 and think: to know good and evil and to always choose good in obedience to the Father’s will—is this not what it means to be a true son of God, even as Christ demonstrated?  What if the original man had suffered in the flesh to resist the serpent’s temptation: would not that act of obedience have opened his eyes a little wider and made him a little more like Christ, through Whom he was made (Joh 1:3), in knowing good and evil through obedience?  See Heb 5:8-9.  Even now in our redemption, does not every act of obedience, every taking up of our cross to follow Him, every suffering in the flesh, make us more like Christ, more like a true son of God?  Cf. Joh 14:15,21,23, 15:10, Rom 8:14, 1Jo 3:21-24.  However, if coming to know good and evil through obedience to the Father’s will makes us like Christ, who does coming to know good and evil through disobedience to His will make us like?  See note[2] and think: having become “like divine beings knowing good and evil” through sin by eating of the forbidden fruit, was the “divine” nature man acquired like that of Jehovah capital “G” God, or like Satan little “g” god?  Contrast 2Pe 1:4.

 


1. “What [knowing good and evil] means is determining for oneself what is good and what is evil.  It means deciding what is right–creating our own morality.  Adam and Eve decided to live their lives their own way, without God.  This is what defines sin.  Sin is doubting the word of God and choosing to live our lives without God.  In effect we knock God off His throne and put ourselves in His place.  We decide to be gods for ourselves (p. 22).”  This helps us understand the nature of every sin that is committed.  It was not just that Adam and Eve wanted to have the mind of God (knowing about good and evil) nor was it just that they thought God was holding out on them and they wanted the last bit he had not yet given.  Rather, what they actually wanted was to become their own moral authorities.  Their choice and the choice we all make when we decide to sin is a choice to replace God with ourselves.  When we choose sin, we are, in effect, saying, “God, I don’t need you, I don’t trust you, and I don’t want you… I’ll take it from here”  Church, let us use this truth, today, to whet our appetites for Jesus the Savior.  Sin is worse than we think and so we need Christ more than we think.  (Brent Osterberg; From Pew to Practice, quoting Tim Chester From Creation to New Creation; http://pewtopractice.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/what-does-the-knowledge-of-good-and-evil-mean/).

2. The knowledge of good and evil, which man obtains by going into evil, is as far removed from the true likeness of God, which he would have attained by avoiding it, as the imaginary liberty of a sinner, which leads into bondage to sin and ends in death, is from the true liberty of a life of fellowship with God. (Keil and Delitzsch).

 

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