I have been doing some study on the relationship between sin and the conscience. Is it likely that the "knowledge of good and evil" as described in Genesis was in fact the awakening of conscience? If not, what purpose do you suppose conscience served prior to the first sin? -- James Gitre

It seems like it, at first blush. However, if so, then we have a paradox: only once Adam sinned did he become a truly moral creature. Does that make sense? I think not. It makes more sense, I think, to interpret Genesis 3 as indicating that Adam gained an experiential knowledge of good and evil when he disobeyed God.

Conscience before the Fall would have served to prevent man from sinning. Since he didn't fall immediately, it looks like it governed his behavior well. And yet it did not override his free will. Ay -- there's the rub!