The Knowledge of Good

David Brandt Berg


Man may be able to invent computers and automatons, but that stuff is eventually going to lead the world to its destruction. “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22). Things can be used by the Lord for good—like we use computers—or by mankind and the Devil to destroy the world. Every missile has a built-in computer to guide it to its destination, so computers can be used for good and evil.

The Devil told the truth when he said it was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Up to that time all they had was the knowledge of good, because everything was good; there was no evil except for the Devil. But when they partook of that tree, they got the knowledge of evil—good and evil.

Until they had the knowledge of evil, all they had was good, and they didn’t even know what good was. It took the knowledge of evil to give us the knowledge of good, to understand good and what good is. Because without the bad, you wouldn’t have anything to compare the good with, to know it is good.

They didn’t really get the knowledge of good, to know that it was good and why it was good and how it was good, until Satan gave them the knowledge of evil. He didn’t actually give it to them; they yielded to it by eating the forbidden fruit from the forbidden tree that God had warned them not to eat. That was, of course, the first evil, their lack of faith in the Word of God. The Devil planted doubts and they believed the Devil instead of the Lord and they partook of the fruit. But what God promised happened, and what the Devil promised happened too—at least half of it. When he said, “Ye shall not surely die,” that didn’t happen; they did die, it was a lie! The Devil often tells people half-truths to get people to swallow the lie, his sugar-coated pill (Genesis 3:4).

It’s sad that many people today have gained so much scientific knowledge about the earth, the sun, the moon, the stars, the planets, solar system, and galaxies, and yet they’re so ignorant of the beautiful order and perfection and marvelous synchronization of things like the phases of the moon! God has made a lot of marvelous things, and He put the moon and the stars up there for a reason; He said for lights, to light the day and the night, and to be for signs and seasons so you’d know the difference (Genesis 1:14). Long before people had calendars or clocks or any other way of telling time, that was the way they told time. If you ever got lost out in the woods or out in the desert or somewhere, as many people have, people who knew about these things managed to find their way home. People who didn’t, often starved to death and died, because they didn’t know which direction was which or which way to go.

God has made even the planetary system of the earth and the moon to be a marvelous clock to be able to tell time by, and even the day of the year. In biblical times people could read those signs and tell you what the weather was going to be, etc. They had ways of discerning the signs in the sky and the weather, even though they had no meteorologists. But Jesus said, “You can’t even discern the signs of the times! You don’t even know what day it is spiritually or in history or what’s happening right here in your country.”

God’s creation is fascinating. You can see the hand of God, hear the voice of God in it, and learn so much about God from it. “He which is invisible can be seen in the things that He has made” (Romans 1:20). That’s what that scripture means. It has kind of funny wording, but that’s what it means.—That in seeing what He has made, what is visible, you can see and know the existence of He who is invisible, by seeing His handiwork.

Back in the Garden of Eden, the Devil said, “Hath God said? God said you shouldn’t do that because God doesn’t want you to know that if you do this, you’ll have lots more fun!” Adam and Eve did that, and what happened? They didn’t have a lot more fun; they had nothing but trouble from then on.

Seeking the happiness of others and trying to help others and make others happy, as God has ordered us to do, is the only way to bring true happiness. That little song has got it all summed up beautifully: “The way to be happy is to make others happy, and we’ll have a little heaven right here.”

If you’ll try to make others happy, it’ll make you happy, and you’ll have a little heaven right here on earth.—Contrary to the preamble of the Declaration of Independence, that states that Americans are guaranteed the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They’ve been chasing it ever since and have never found it. You don’t find happiness by chasing it; happiness finds you by your bringing happiness to others. That’s God’s system, God’s rule, God’s way, God’s Law of Love. God will make you happy if you make others happy. It’s that simple!

I’ve even told people who have been Christians for years that that was the way to be happy. I told that to one woman who’d married husband after husband after husband and couldn’t find a man who could make her happy. I finally said, “Why don’t you go out and try to find some dear old man that you can make happy; maybe it’ll work!” The only way to be happy is to make others happy, and you’ll have a little heaven right here.

The Lord allowed mankind to fall because He saw that the only way man, His creation, would ever learn, was through that bitter experience, because you never learn as well as you do through experience. Adam and Eve learned, let me tell you, when they were driven out of the Garden and had to go out and find clothes to wear and till the soil for their food.

They then realized they’d never had it as good as they’d had it in the Garden when they obeyed God and kept His rules and had perfect liberty. The trouble was, you see, in the Garden before the fall they didn’t know what good was, because they didn’t have anything to compare it with. As I’ve often said, you wouldn’t know what light was unless you’d known darkness.

You don’t really appreciate health until you’ve known sickness. You don’t appreciate wealth unless you’ve known poverty. You don’t appreciate that marvelous heavenly relief and release from pain unless you’ve known pain.

The Lord had to let all that happen so that we would learn and appreciate the good and the marvelous good world we’re going to have in the future without all of that pain and evil, the kind of world He wanted us to live in in the first place and the way it was to begin with, and the way man was to begin with. But He saw that man didn’t really appreciate it, didn’t really understand it, had nothing to compare it with to know it was so good and so beautiful and so wonderful and such heaven on earth and so perfect with no evil.

God had to let man experience evil to really appreciate good, and experience sin in order to appreciate salvation.


Copyright © The Family International


Author: Frederick Olson

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.

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