Genesis 3:4-7 (ESV)
4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
When reading through this passage, I found myself thinking about movies and novels that I have enjoyed, and a strange theme emerged. It is not at all uncommon to read a book or watch a movie and to find the plot revolving around issues of knowledge or truth. Often an author will make the crux of a story an individual’s right to the truth. Characters will fight against some sort of evil dictator in order to gain their freedom or to know the truth, regardless of what that truth is.
Interestingly, as we look at Genesis 3, the plot of a thousand movies unfolds, but it does not go the way that Hollywood often portrays it. While the woman rebels against the one in authority, seemingly for the sake of knowledge or truth, things do not end happily ever after. Instead, the woman and her husband lose more than they could have ever imagined by demanding their perceived right to knowledge, truth, and freedom.
We live among people who believe that personal autonomy, personal knowledge, and free will are the greatest goods to be desired. However, if we see the truth of Genesis 3, we cannot assume that knowledge and freedom and autonomy are always good things. On the contrary, God had given Adam and Eve a perfect place to live. No, he did not give them all knowledge—especially not knowledge of evil. However, the people were not happy to receive perfection from God. Instead, they chose to reach for a truth that was not their right. In doing so, they plunged humanity into death, darkness, and misery.
As the Scriptures open to us this year, let us see that God is the ultimate good. He is better than mere truth, though he is truth. He is better than mere freedom, though he sets us free indeed. Let us not think, not for even one moment, that good will ever come to us for rebelling against him. If God limits our knowledge or our freedom, he does what is good. If we battle against him, we will be the less for it. Let us surrender our lives to the Lord who made us, who owns us, and who knows far better than us what freedom and knowledge we need.