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I never could understand why the "forbidden fruit" in the Garden of Eden was "the knowledge of good and evil". (Genesis 2:17) It seems like something that God would want all of us to have. After all, how can anyone be good if they don't know what good is?

As parents we try to teach our children to tell right from wrong, and to choose what is right. So why wouldn't God want to teach his children to do the same?

The answer has recently come to me. For starters, we are living on the after side of Eden. Good and bad have been let out of the bag. So now, because it's all out there, we need to beware; whereas there was nothing to beware of in the days of innocence in the Garden.

But even today, there is something of a curse on anyone who knows too much. You see, unless we are willing to act on the knowledge we have of right and wrong, we will turn that same knowledge into a religious, self-righteous spirit.

In particular, what I am talking about are malcontents. They welcome our message. They thrill in the superiority of our arguments. The truth is so intoxicating, because it is clear and logical and right. They can go back to their churches with it and tell everyone there that they are wrong, wrong, wrong.

But unless malcontents put into practice the principles that we teach, their knowledge will only make them miserable. Sooner or later these same people will find some fault to pick at in us as well; for the index of their book of knowledge is laid out in such a way as to enable them to find some fault in everyone, and to assume that this justifies them in their role of critic for the entire world.

Until they do succeed in finding a fault in us, they will still be able to avoid commitment by questioning. They will justify their incessant questioning on the basis that they don't want to commit themselves to something that is wrong. There is so much hypocrisy and deception in the world that they cannot take a chance on committing themselves to what may eventually turn out to be less than perfect. Like the servant who buried his talent, they will assume that if they do nothing they have done nothing wrong. How sad.

Most people run from the truth, whereas malcontents welcome it... but only to a carefully fixed limit. Until they let it fall on themselves and break them of their pride, their self-righteousness, their selfishness, and their greed, it will do them no good. It will be as much a curse to them as what Adam's knowledge was to him.

There are no points in the game of Life for finding faults in others. Scoring only begins when we start working on our own faults.

But the answer is not to cover our eyes and ears and remain ignorant either; we already know too much. Thanks to Adam we know evil. And thanks to Jesus, we can now know good.

Jesus said, "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32) But there is a conditional clause that precedes it: "If you continue in my words... then you will know the truth (in all its saving power) and the truth will set you free." (John 8:31)

The knowledge of good and evil in itself is a curse. The application of that knowledge in our own lives, on the other hand, is the source of redemption.

(See Adam's Sin, and Burying your Talent.)

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