No Other Gods
Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me — Exodus 20:3
When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden they knew only what was, without judgment. There was no good and there was no evil. All things just were. And all things existed according to their nature. Animals, plants, rocks were just animals, plants and rocks. Neither good nor bad. They just were. And they existed in perfect balance according to their nature.
But then Eve, seduced by the serpent, ate the forbidden fruit, the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and shared it with Adam. Suddenly, Adam and Eve had the ability to judge the things around and about them beyond just the nature of the thing. They saw themselves, naked, and judged that to be evil. They covered themselves with fig leaves and judged that to be good.
And the eyes of them both were opened , and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together , and made themselves aprons. — Genesis 3:7
It is this idea of good and evil that has vexed mankind since that moment. Before the capacity to judge, there was no evil.
And God saw every thing that he had made , and, behold, it was very good. — Genesis 1:31
Since the moment Eve bit into the apple, all of humanity has been taught that Good and Evil are opposing forces that come from different sources. Good and Evil exist independently of and in opposition to each other. These two opposing forces may be of equal strength or not. The end result of the struggle between these two forces may be foreknown or not .
God made all things and declared them very good. But in every culture on earth, we are taught that Good and Evil are opposing forces. We see it in movies, literature, and politics. Nearly every experience we have as a member of society is framed as us versus them. Naturally, we are encouraged to believe that Us is Good and Them is Evil.
We know from the Bible that God created everything. We also know that “God alone is good.” (Mark 10:18) Therefore everything God created is Good.
So where does Evil come from? When we judge something as evil, we are doing two things. First, we are denying that God is the Creator of Everything. And secondly, we give breath to a second creative force in the Universe; a second god, one that creates Evil. Therefore, to believe in good and evil as diametrically opposed forces, is to believe in more than one God.
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. — Isaiah 45:7
I know there is only one God. While that may seem trivial, it really isn’t. Belief in one God is not as simple as it seems. For me believing in one God is knowing that everything is from God. Things I like, things I don’t, things that seem trivial, and things that seem profound. Everything.
If I believe that only good comes from God and evil comes from some other source, then I believe in two gods. If I believe that I can do anything that is close to permanent or fundamental to my life or anyone else’s, I have elevated myself to the same level of God. If I put any credence in anything, other than God, I’ve created another God. Once you come to believe that something in the universe came from something other than God, it is only a small step to create in your mind an entire hierarchy of gods who rule over various aspects of creation.
When Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they learned how to judge between good and evil, and in the process, created a second god. While this commandment seems simple enough to follow, it really cuts to the core of what it means to be human. Following this commandment faithfully requires that we reject in ourselves what it means to be a member of the human race and embrace Christ in us, the hope of glory.