Tree of Good and Evil

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Bill Burkett

There are people and even trees in the Bible that have wrongly been given a bad name. Gideon is criticized because he had to have solid evidence, Thomas has dubbed, doubting Thomas and become the whipping post for doubters. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is as misunderstood and blamed wrongly as some very good men in the Bible. We hope to restore some faith in God and in this great tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the following lines. There is a very good reason why God planted the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the midst of the garden. Stick with us now. By knowing why God planted this tree in the midst (middle) of the garden will clear up many questions about God and His intention for man.

And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:9.

1. The trees bearing fruit that were pleasant to the sight and good for food. We can freely eat.
2. The tree of life, we can freely eat of, and,
3. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Man was forbidden to eat of.

We have no description of the fruit that grew on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil but it must have been delicious for Eve to recommend it to Adam. It is described as being good, pleasant and desirable in Genesis 3:6. It’s often referred to as the common apple but if it was an apple it was sour apples for the human race.

The next question about the tree and the consequences of the disobedience of Adam and Eve is that, some feel it is unfair that sin passes upon all men for the sin of Adam and Eve. But the nature of all men is represented in the human nature of Adam and Eve and no other person would perform any better than they did. Their offspring was born after their fall and so the depraved nature they had after the fall passed on genetically to their children and ultimately to the entire human race.

So man had all manner of, numerous, exotic fruits to eat of freely as well as the tree of life.

The big question comes from Christians as well as unbelievers. Why did God ever put that forbidden tree in the midst of the garden with the tree of life, anyway?!

The simple answer is Love. Love is proven by the choices we make in life. By placing the forbidden tree in the center of the garden with the tree of life and in the midst of scores of other trees bearing fruit all about – everywhere you looked, man was placed in a position of choosing between the commandment not to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree and the other fruit that filled his sight. H e was looking at all of these trees when he looked or picked from any one of them.

Eternal life is represented in the tree of life,
Beauty and pleasure for the good experience of the body is represented in the many fruit trees of the garden.
And then death and disobedience represented in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
God explained everything to Adam and Eve when He brought them into the garden.

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil made man a creature of volition. That is, the power or freedom to use one’s own will in making decisions of multiple choice.

A man is known by the friends he chooses.
Man is a creature of choice and choice proves my inner qualities and preferences – what I love and want.
Choice is a love word. My choices prove my love for my wife, my children and my friends.

Jesus said, If you love me, keep my commandments. That is a choice that proves our loves for Him.

By my choices in life my true loves are known.

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil proved to God and especially to man where his love lie by choosing to NOT eat of the tree as God commanded. If man should choose to eat of the forbidden tree it proved his love was not perfect toward God.

THE TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOS AND EVIL GAVE TO MAN THE CHOICE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL.
THE TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL PROVED BY MAN’S CHOICE HIS LOVE FOR GOD.
LOVE IS PROVEN BY THE CHOICES WE MAKE AND ADAM AND EVE CHOSE TO DISOBEY THEIR MAKER.

(Note: God as man’s maker mentioned 15 times in four books of the Old Testament. Isaiah often used this name for God.)

It seems we cannot escape the tree of decision and love. The tree of choice is still with us as we look to the top of Golgotha from whence the cross casts it’s shadow over the world. Man still looks to the tree and makes his decision to prove his love for God. 1 Peter 2:24 tells us that Jesus bore our sins in His own body on the tree, the cross.

When we look at the Bible in the opening verses of Genesis we are immediately introduced to the cosmic laws of order and the measureless and abounding love of God! The inseparable and imperial elements of God’s kingdom which are always synonymous everywhere you look in Scripture. God’s law and God’s love cannot be separated! This spiritual absolute is perhaps the most clearly stated in 1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. If you want to know what is meant by the commandments of Jesus you will want to read Matthew 5:17-38 for starters. God’s love for man is unquestionable. But He wants that love to be mutual. He wants His love to be returned. As someone has said

To know Him
Is to love Him.
To love Him
Is to make Him known

Let us prove our love by our decisions daily to take up our cross and follow Him. To be partakers of the tree of life He has provided for us atop Golgotha.

For further study see Creatures of Choice

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