World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
5. For God doth know. There are those who think that God is here craftily praised by Satan, as if He never would prohibit men from the use of wholesome fruit. But they manifestly contradict themselves, for they at the some time confess that in the preceding member of the sentence he had already declared God to be unworthy of confidence, as one who had
lied. Others suppose that he charges God with malignity and envy, as wishing to deprive man of his highest perfection; and this opinion is more probable than the other. Nevertheless, (according to my judgments) Satan attempts to prove what he had recently asserted, reasoning, however, from contraries:167167
“Sumpta a contraria ratione.”
The meaning of the passage seems to be this: Satan had first said in plain terms, “Ye shall not surely die;” and then, to confirm his position, had argued that, supposing God had forbidden the tree, he must have done it out of envy, lest he should be compelled to raise them to an equality with himself, and therefore on no possible supposition had they any ground to fear; for they had only to eat in order to be beyond the reach of his vengeance. — Ed. God, he says, has interdicted to you the tree, that he may not be compelled to admit you to the participation of his glory; therefore, the fear of punishment is quite needless. In short, he denies that a fruit which is useful and salutary can be injurious. When he says, God does know, he censures God as being moved by jealousy: and as having given the command concerning the tree, for the purpose of keeping man in an inferior rank.
Ye shall be as gods. Some translate it, ‘Ye shall be like angels.’ It might even be rendered in the singular number, ‘Ye shall be as God.’ I have no doubt that Satan promises them divinity ; as if he had said, For no other reason does God defraud you of the tree of knowledge, than because he fears to have you as companions. Moreover, it is not without some show of reason that he makes the Divine glory, or equality with God, to consist in the perfect knowledge of good and evil; but it is a mere pretense, for the purpose of ensnaring the miserable woman. Because the desire of knowledge is naturally inherent in and happiness is supposed to be placed in it; but Eve erred in not regulating the measure of her knowledge by the will of God. And we all daily suffer under the same disease, because we desire to know more than is right, and more than God allows; whereas the principal point of wisdom is a well-regulated sobriety in obedience to God.