Since none of us is perfect, it makes perfect sense to talk about the good and evil in us all. You may believe that mankind is basically good and it’s only through our experiences that we learn and do bad things.
Judeo-Christian beliefs stem from the historical view that the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, were created without an evil disposition. You could say they were naïve to the evil that loomed near them in the form of the serpent that would tempt them early in their existence.
In Genesis 1:26-30, we can read of the creation of man and woman on the sixth day. They would be given dominion over all the plants and creatures on the earth. Then in verse 31 we’re told, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning the sixth day.”
There’s a distinction found in Genesis 2:7 that differentiates man from all the living creatures formed earlier. Here’s the verse: “the Lord formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”
Let’s continue the unique account of man’s creation as found in verses 21 and 22 in which God then creates a suitable helper for man. We’re informed, “So the Lord caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, He took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. The Lord God made a woman from the rib He had taken out of the man, and He brought her to the man.”
Some of you may have trouble swallowing what God’s Word says about the whole creation story. That’s what it says and I take what’s found in the Bible to be without error.
In essence, God took Adam’s DNA and created woman from that rib! There’s a distinct difference between man and the other creatures of the earth. I understand that difference to be God breathing life and our soul into us to distinguish us from the rest of His wonderful creation. So let’s look at the fall of man in the Garden of Eden.
Before the serpent confronted Eve, going back to verse 16 we read, “And the Lord God 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.’”
The serpent slyly questioned the woman about the tree in the middle of the garden, challenging Eve in Genesis 3:4, saying “’You will surely not die.’ The serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’”
And that’s exactly what has happened. The eyes of Adam and Eve were opened and they saw they were naked! All descendants of the first man and woman are now confronted with the knowledge of good and evil, and we unfortunately often choose to be disobedient to our Father in Heaven for our own selfish desires.
Oftentimes, we feel our actions are justified and may not even realize the evil we commit. In general, evil is the absence or opposite of that which is described as being good. We’re not talking about religious actions here, but we are talking about being out of relationship with God.
This discussion warrants more than one short essay, so get ready for future words on this deep and challenging topic.
For now, let me end with these poignant words penned by King David in Psalm 36:1-4: “An oracle is within my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked; There is no fear of God before his eyes. For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin. The words of his mouth are wicked and deceitful; he has ceased to be wise and to do good. Even on his bed he plots evil; he commits himself to a sinful course and does not reject what is wrong.”
For now, let us simply consider our sinful ways and realize we would be wise to come to our Heavenly Father often as we navigate through life.
Passages to Ponder
— Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. As a longtime member of CBMC of Santa Barbara (Christian Business Men’s Connection), he started writing Fourth Quarter Strategies columns in 2014, and he now reaches an international audience through the CBMC International devotional Monday Manna. He can be contacted at [email protected] for more information. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.