In his coaxing Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit, the serpent (Lucifer) tells her, “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.” (Gen 3:5) This is confirmed in 2 Nephi 2:18 – “…and ye shall not die, but ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.”

Notice in these different examples that it doesn’t say to know good from evil, but they say to know good and evil. To me there’s a big difference here. For me, to know this from that, implies that you only have to know one part to distinguish it from the other. But to know this and that, implies that you have knowledge of both. And in order to be as a god, a person needs this knowledge of good and evil.

So what is knowledge? Let me offer a simple example.

Say you want to learn to play the piano. You can study books on playing the piano, learn to read music, go to recitals, or even sit next to someone who is playing the piano. All of this won’t teach you to play the piano. It may help, but it won’t teach. The only way to learn is to put your fingers on the keys and play. You have to “experience” the piano to have the “knowledge” to play it.

So if we are to be as gods, knowing good and evil, then we must experience both. But what is evil? I looked it up on Webster’s online dictionary and here are a few definitions: causing discomfort or repulsion; disagreeable; something that brings distress, sorrow, or calamity.

For me, evil basically is anything that goes contrary to God’s commandments or His will for us. I think the word we use most commonly is sin or disobedience. Another way to define evil would be to say that anything that separates us from God is evil. And whatever draws us closer is good. I also want to point out that we can experience evil by being the casualty of someone else’s actions.

In general I would say that living a mortal life is an evil act. LOL! But it was the only way we could gain the knowledge we would need to become as the gods. Hence the Fall.

Now I want to use some of the above and apply it to Christ.

One of my favorite messianic verses, that applies here, comes from Isaiah 53:11 and says in part, “…by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” How does Christ justify us? By His knowledge. And how does He get that knowledge? By bearing our iniquities. But how, when, and where did He bear our iniquities? The “when” and “where” are pretty simple to answer; in Gethsemane and on Golgotha. It’s the “how” that is so marvelous, miraculous, and incomprehensible. To share how I believe it happened I need to quote some other verses.

The first verse comes from Moses 1:25 and says, “And he (Moses) beheld also the inhabitants thereof, and there was not a soul which he beheld not; and he discerned them by the Spirit of God;”. The next verse comes from Ether 3:25 – “And when the Lord had said these words, he showed unto the brother of Jared all the inhabitants of the earth which had been, and also all that would be;”.

So here we have similar experiences by two different prophets, in different time periods, when they were shown all the inhabitants of the earth.

I believe this is what Christ experienced in Gethsemane and again on Golgotha. In a manner which we can’t understand or comprehend, I believe Christ saw every inhabitant of the earth, and as He saw them He experienced their lives; everything they ever did or experienced themselves. Through that act He gained His knowledge of us and bore our iniquities. That is why He knows us personally, because He experienced our own personal life. And as He experienced our lives, one after the other, the cumulative effect began to exact its toll and the pressure of that experience caused His capillaries to start bursting and He bled at every pore.

Also, it was not just the pressure of the cumulative experiences, but it was also the experiences themselves. He was a perfect, holy person. Imagine the shock to His system as He experienced untold acts of the most sordid and reprehensible type, hence, “bearing our iniquities”.

This not only gave Christ the knowledge to justify us, but it also fulfilled the requirement which I stated at the beginning of this post, to know good and evil. As a perfect person He had only knowledge of the good. Through the Atonement He gained His knowledge of the evil.