God the Father’s Decisive Role in “Opening of the Eyes” and “Knowing Good and Evil”

This paper will provide a fresh perspective on the Fall and its key verses, i.e., Gen 3:5,7 and 22. In accordance with God’s sovereign plans and purposes, God “opened the eyes” of Adam and Eve and thereupon set into motion man’s “knowing good and evil.” This knowing has been historically nuanced or so generalized as to misunderstand the deeper meaning: in his changed condition, man will purposely “create, make, and determine” the very definitions of good and evil (3:22). In doing so, man has now, in effect, become “like God.”

The following will be demonstrated:

• In Gen 3:5,7, the “opening of the eyes” is a theological passive (will be opened), reflecting an action directed “upon” the eyes by an outside or sovereign action – not by the subject (eyes) themselves. In the NT, this opening is reflected in God’s sovereign intervention for the purposes of either enhancing or preventing human enablement, e.g., Luke 24:16, 31 and 45.

• In Gen 3:22, the meaning of “knowing” is typically nuanced and so broadly interpreted as to refer to man’s understanding, enlightened ability, or enhanced intellectual knowledge and discernment of good and evil, along with the resulting desire and freedom to choose evil. Such interpretations fall short of the specific meaning. Within the sovereign nature of God and His purposes, the “knowing” [Hebrew “yada,” or ydʿ ] means “to create, make, determine” that which is good and evil. In effect, with the “eyes opened,” man now will seek to “create, make, or determine” truth and morality.

Conclusion: God played a decisive role in the Garden of Eden in the “opening of the eyes” (Gen 3:5,7). This “opening” resulted in “knowing good and evil” (Gen 3:22), whereby man now has become the very standard and author to “create, make, or determine” good and evil, and, in effect, man becomes “like God.” These Old Testament (OT) passages demonstrate linkage and connectivity with the role of God the Father in NT salvation, observed in the Luke passages, above. Moreover, in the NT, Christ singly and repeatedly gives credit to the role of God the Father. This is revealed in the Gospel of John, wherein Christ’s words demonstrate the (1) work of the Father; (2) the authority and ownership of the Father; and (3) the direct agency of the Father in salvation.

The sovereign role and work of God the Father is evidenced in the Fall (Gen 3:5,7 and 22), and Christ reveals the same sovereign role and work of God the Father:

(1) Salvation is the “work” of the Father (John 6:29);
(2) Authority, ownership, and prerogative belong solely to the Father (John 6:37, 39, 65; 10:29; 17:6; 18:9); and
(3) Salvation is conditioned by the direct agency of the Father (John 6:44).

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