Latter-day Saint scripture/Critical proof text/Genesis 3:5

Genesis 3:5 is used by critics to attempt to show that the LDS doctrine of deification is a teaching of Satan

This is a FAIR Wiki scripture article. It discusses scriptures commonly used by those who attack the Church, as well as references to other FAIR Wiki articles that discuss the issues raised by the critics. For other scriptures, please see the Scripture index.


King James Version (KJV)

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.
Genesis 3:5

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

Contemporary English Version (CEV)

God understands what will happen on the day you eat fruit from that tree. You will see what you have done, and you will know the difference between right and wrong, just as God does.

Bible in Basic English (BBE)

For God sees that on the day when you take of its fruit, your eyes will be open, and you will be as gods, having knowledge of good and evil.


Use or misuse by Church critics

This verse is used by critics to attempt to show that the LDS doctrine of deification is a teaching of Satan.

Commentary

The critics seriously misunderstand and misinterpret this passage of scripture.

Note that the serpent makes two claims:

(1) "ye shall not surely die" and

(2) "ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."

But if one looks forward to Genesis 3:22:

"And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil:"

So the use of Genesis 3 to counter the doctrine of deification/theosis has two problems associated with it. The first is that Satan never claimed that Adam and Eve would be gods, just that they would be "as gods, knowing good and evil."

The second and bigger problem is that Satan was, in fact, telling the truth on this point. We know he was because after the event the Lord God confirms that Adam and Eve did indeed become as gods, knowing good and evil. As usual, Satan mixes lies and truth. In this case he said that Adam and Eve wouldn't die (a lie) but he also said that their eating would make them "as gods, knowing good and evil" (a truth).

So the lie of Satan in the Garden of Eden was that transgressing God's law would not bring death. This chapter isn't even relevant to beliefs about deification, and the text shows that the comment that was made wasn't a lie at all.

Satan didn't promise that Adam and Eve would become gods, and what Satan did say about becoming as gods was true.


Further reading and additional sources responding to these claims