Knowledge of Good and Evil


How should Christians respond to atheists and other anti-Christians who use the objection that “Why did God demand Adam and Eve follow a rule which required knowledge of good and evil when he created them without the knowledge of good and evil?”

Thanks in advance.



There are many response that could be made to that. The one that I personally believe comes down to what the first sin was.

God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit. But they were ignorant; they didn’t understand good or evil. The serpent entices them to eat the fruit and NOW they know. Now they are able to see good and evil. But they hadn’t sinned yet (James 4:17). God goes for a stroll, calls out for Adam. God asks what happened; and what does Adam say? “The Woman that YOU made me, she did it.” Not my fault, its the woman’s, and oh by the way, your fault too. That was, I believe, the first sin. They shouldn’t have eaten the fruit, but they didn’t know any better. Once they had the knowledge, now they were accountable. And, like we all do, they chose evil over good. That is what God punished.


Three general questions.

Where is the Catholic teaching that God created human nature without a conscience?

Where is the Catholic teaching that human nature was created without a rational intellective soul?

Where is the Catholic teaching that human nature is so impaired that it could not tell the difference between God the Creator and the creature created by God?


I would say to them “How does that matter to the question of disobedience?
A subject does not have to understand his Lord’s reasoning for a directive. He has only to do the directive, whether he knows its goodness or not.”
The “knowledge of good and evil” does not mean understanding God’s reasoning. It means “The Tree of the Self-Decision and Choice of what I as a Human decide to call Good and call Evil instead of relying on God’s definition of the same”.
Adam and Eve decided for themselves that being naked was evil and shameful - they stole that prerogative from God and began being their own definers of what makes for life and death.
They had a word from God.
They did not say to Satan, as Mary, “Let it be with me according to your (God’s) word”
They did not say, Like Jesus, “Man shall not live by bread alone (or knowledge of good and evil) but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

You can tell them that they are somewhat naïve about understanding what they read in **our **Scriptures, as children trying to play “grown-up”.


May I respectfully point out that the Adam, who is the first human, understood completely God’s reasoning for His directive. Genesis 2: 15-17; Genesis 3: 8-10

As long as all three questions in post 3 remain unanswered, then I am secure in giving Adam a brain knowing what is good and what is not good before he intellectually chose an action that was against the requirements of his creaturely status and therefore against his own good. Recall that Adam, as a spiritual creature, needs to live in free submission (obedience) to his Creator.


As Aquinas and others have maintained, the knowledge of good and evil means the experience of both- to know by direct experience. Evil would’ve been unknown in that way in Eden, and therefore good, as well, would’ve been unknown as a separate, identifiable reality until contrasted with evil, since everything that they knew until that time, everything in God’s creation, was good.


As we know, according to the protocol of the visible Catholic Church on earth, not every word which someone writes automatically becomes a Catholic doctrine.

On the other hand, maybe Adam’s human nature was not created with
a rational intellective immortal spiritual soul. :eek:


Maybe Adam’s lack of direct experience of evil and his possession of a rational intellective immortal spiritual soul aren’t at all mutually exclusive. :eek:


In my humble opinion, the possibility that Adam’s human nature was not created with a rational intellective immortal spiritual soul is simply a yes or no situation. My apology, but, at the moment, I really prefer not going into expanding situations. The questions in post 3 are occupying my time. :o


I have no reason to disagree.

OK granny. :slight_smile:

closed #11

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