The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

Why, oh why didn’t God warn Adam about that tree? 

(He did.) 


Why, oh why did God put that tree there in the first place?

(Because the tree was good, even if the fruit of it was not ripe for mankind’s consumption yet.) 


Why, oh why didn’t God tell Adam what would happen? 

(He did. 

He said Adam would “surely die.”)


In Genesis 2:9, we see all kinds of trees: “And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground– trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”  About the one tree of knowledge, the LORD God commands, Genesis 2:16 “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

A couple of quick points:

  • The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was not an evil tree.  (God created it good and put it there which was also good because God only does good). 
  • The consequence of certain death was not an evil consequence, but a natural one that would arise within the possibilities from the good and wonderful gift of freedom.  (Just as wrath is not evil but God’s appropriate action against our freely chosen sin which was never–of course–God’s choice for us.)   
  • “Surely die” does not equal instantaneous death like a lightning bolt or execution.  (Death–and not just spiritual death–is what happens naturally when do things our own way.)

Food for thought: 

  • Verse 16 says that Adam is free to eat from any tree.  Would it really be freedom if there was no actual choice available?  If you went into an ice cream parlor and there were only many containers of vanilla, would there really be freedom of choice? 
  • There were many different kinds of trees in the Garden, so there was a type of choice available.  How much choice and what kinds of choice are necessary for true freedom? 
  • What value do limitations serve? How is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil both imagery and analogy? 
  • If the tree of knowledge of good and evil was not put there as a test, which theologians insist is the case, what good things might have resulted from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil if Adam and Eve had waited until God gave them permission instead of giving in to temptation?   


From the series Agricultural Imagery and Analogy in the Bible 

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on January 17, 2018

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