Let’s read this verse from the King James Version: “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Now I’d like to quote it from the New King James Version: “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Notice the difference? The KJV uses the word “gods” while the NKJV renders it “God.” The fact is the KJV is the only translation that uses this word and thus it is a mistranslation. We will now take a closer look at this verse, along with a passage in Isaiah, and I trust we will learn why Satan chose to tempt the woman with those words, “you will be like God.”

In Isaiah 14:12-14 we have the solemn account of the fall of Lucifer, who through his rebellion against God became the Devil, also known as Satan. In verses 13-14 God tells us of his Lucifer’s plan to dethrone God: “For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I WILL BE LIKE THE MOST HIGH’” (NKJV). Lucifer was not content to be in submission to his Creator; he wanted to “be like the most high!” Is it any wonder that he approaches the woman in the Garden of Eden with this same suggestion? He plants the idea in her heart, “You will be like God.” In other words, he is suggesting that “you can be your own God.” You don’t need God ruling over you; you don’t need to get your knowledge from God; you can be independent of God. Of course what he’s really seeking to do is to drive a wedge between her heart and God’s by making her think that God is withholding something good from her. He knew full well that God was testing man’s obedience by placing the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the middle of the garden and commanding them NOT to eat of that tree; and he knew if they disobeyed God they too would be in a state of rebellion and enmity towards God. This was his plan, and it worked, for the very next verse goes on to say, “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and A TREE DESIRABLE TO MAKE ONE WISE, she took of its fruit and ate.” She desired to have the same knowledge that God possessed and thus to “be like God,” and this unholy desire caused her to succumb to the temptation and eat of the forbidden fruit. In doing so she did indeed become “independent of God,” but she also became a servant to sin and to Satan.

We would be remiss if we didn’t comment on the last words of our verse. After telling the woman “you will be like God,” he added “knowing good and evil.” Satan’s “lie” was actually a “half-truth,” for he knew that the woman and her husband (who ate of the fruit too) would actually gain the “knowledge of good and evil” from “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” and in that sense they would “be like God.” This is confirmed in verse 22 of our chapter, “Then the LORD God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil’.” But what does this really mean? I believe it means they gained a CONSCIENCE, which would indeed point out to them what is evil versus what is good. And how solemn it must have been for them to have their newly gained conscience point out the sin they had just committed! They had lost their state of “innocence” and knew they were now “sinners.” Verse 7 tells us, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.” Before they sinned they had no knowledge of nakedness and of the shame connected with it, but now their conscience enlightened them (and “accused” them…see Romans 2:15) and they immediately tried to remedy the problem by covering themselves with fig leaves. So, they were “like God” by having the knowledge of sin, but they were to learn that their knowledge would not keep them from sinning; rather, they would be, as mentioned earlier, “a servant to sin and to Satan.” (227.3) (DO)