Why did God create the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?

A friend of mine recently asked me this question:

I’m often asked questions like this: why did God put the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden if he knew that Adam and Eve would disobey him? I’d be interested to know how you answer that question.

Here is how I responded:

You ask an important question, a question theologians, philosophers, and believers have been puzzling over for hundreds–if not thousands–of years. There is much we do not know about that time, so whatever we say about it must be held humbly. People of good faith debate whether we are to read Genesis 1-3 as literal history or as a metaphor broadly of who created us, why, who were are as human beings, and what has gone so terribly wrong. Regardless of how you read it, there is a looming question: why did God put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden if he knew that Adam and Eve would disobey him?

I don’t know if there is AN answer to that question, but I do have some thoughts which may be helpful. The prophet Isaiah reminds us that God’s ways are not our ways, his thoughts are not our thoughts. He said that God’s thoughts are as high above our thoughts as the stars in the heaven. So whatever God had in mind when he did it is not available to us, unless God’s chooses to reveal it to us plainly. Genesis 3 tells us what God did but not why.

Of all God’s creatures human beings are made in his image. This means, among other things, that we have a will of our own and make choices. Animals cannot choose. A species of bird driven by instinct to build a nest in the trees cannot decide to burrow beneath the ground for its home. Human beings, though, uniquely fashioned from the earth are not only able to make decisions, they must. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was there, in part, to provide humans with a choice: to obey the Voice of God or not. Had there been no choice, there could be no obedience. The ongoing question for us is whether we will choose to follow, love and obey the One True God. Yes, I think God knew that some people would choose to follow. Others would choose to follow their own designs. That is not a failure in God but in us. Had God made us so that we could only love him, then it would be no love at all. Love is at the heart of creation.

Another matter which comes to mind. The knowledge of good and evil seems like a good thing to have, but the question is: where should this come from? The “sin” of Adam and Eve is that they want to be “like God.” This means that they do not want to depend on God for the guidance of what is good and evil. They want to know it for themselves, which makes them the judge. They want the option in the future to say what is good and what is evil. In fact, God is the only judge in these matters. The Hebrew word translated “knowledge” may imply “knowledge by experience” rather than theoretical knowledge. God did not want young Adam and Eve to know evil by experience. As a parent, I can understand that. I want my adult son to “know” that adultery is evil and will harm him and his family, but I don’t want him to have to experience it to know it. Adam and Eve, however, chose disobedience; they apparently wanted to experience for themselves good and evil. That experience changed them and the world in profound ways.

Now it is your turn. How would you answer?

120 responses

  1. Pingback: Switch Trees! | New Heaven on Earth!

  2. Like your answer to the question.

    Indeed, man is to choose between hearing the voice of God or not…. between life or death….between the blessing or the curse. I believe that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is the mouth that blesses God (knowledge of the good) AND is also used for cursing other men (knowledge of evil). James 3:10. Death and life are in the power of the tongue and those that love it shall eat the “fruit” of it. This is why we can not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and live. We are to have love for each other…a healing tongue is a tree of life. We are free to eat of the trees of the garden….the fruit of the Spirit…the fruit of righteousness…but we are not free to use our mouths for speaking evil of our brothers…eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which is always in our midst. One of the serpent’s lies was that we shall be as “gods”….elohim…which also means “judges” if we partake of that “fruit”. Men who desire to be seen as wise use the same mouth to bless God AND to also speak evil of their brothers who are made in the image of God. He that speaks evil of his brother is a JUDGE (James 4:11). Men see themselves as “gods”…that is, as judges…knowing good and evil….as they use their mouths to speak evil of others in their judgment of others. They hear the Word to have love for one another but do not do it. They see themselves as doing God service for doing such things (John 16:2) as the serpent stated “for God knows that in the day you eat thereof…”

  3. I think the serpent represents ego. Ego only seeks its own. By eating of the tree, Adam and Eve sought to create Paradise on earth without God being involved. Folks are trying to do that all the time. Ego seeks self gratification; Spirit, on the other hand, seeks fellowship with God. The only place for ego is nailed to a cross.

    I also think there is a deeper meaning to this idea of the Knowlege of Good and Evil. What we sometimes perceive as evil (things we fear) happens to us. Somehow, God is able to bring good from that. Evil is like the bumpers and flippers in a pinball machine. We bounce off of it and find our lives propelled in a completely different direction. Perhaps, with the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, we would be able to discern how things that once seemed fearful — evil — work out for our good.

    Either way, I wish more were known about this tree.

    • Well stated Donna. To say the silver lining in every dark cloud holds promise for a better understanding of God’s mysterious works, revolves around faith and hope. At first blush, the evil in the world often leaves us feeling helpless, hopeless, defeated and chronically depressed. Resurrection in the form of hope is the essential first ingredient that signals to God that we recognize He loves us. His response is to provide subtle signs, messages and opportunities pointing us in the right direction, offering us the chance to build on a sense of faith for the future. The old adage “God works in strange ways” couldn’t be any clearer than that.

      • WWhen a lawyer sent you a letter they are not really sending you the living person that letter they are sending it to a factious person. The factious person has been created by admiralty law. That is why it is sent to you with the name in capitals and you have to agree that the name on the letter is your name. And when you go court you stand in the dock, the dock of a ship. Capital letters like those we normally find on a grave stone. Sometimes not even the judges in the courts understand what is really going on.
        The bibles were written in the same vain with one purpose in mind to show that the king has the right to rule us. And if we keep his laws then we are good people and can live under his protection, but if we did not keep the king laws then we were deem worthy of death. But God being a loving and caring parent has no such law. Like all good parent if the child make a mistake we correct them. That is why when Cain killed Abel God did not kill him but try to protect him. But for a king to kill us he needed us to think that he was following God commands. But if he were really following what God had commanded he would not be so quick to kill. The wise men that wrote the bible were not spiritually wise, they were just out to protect their interest and the few that really understood the deeper meaning of what were written would lose their lives if they were to reveal the truth. That is why royalty’s churches and the Law are 3 peas in the same pod. They are just there to make money from us.
        hen I lawyer sent you a letter, he is not really sending it to you as a living person

  4. I am just beginning my research of Genesis and so I do not have a well researched point of view as yet, but if this in fact is literal, then I like to think of it differently than many. I like to think that this was not a test at all, but rather a fact. Like a mother telling her child not to put her hand in the fire. Getting burned isn’t a punishment based on the child’s disobedience, but rather the actual consequence of putting one’s hand in fire. I don’t believe love ever wants someone to fail or to falter. I wouldn’t set up an obvious temptation for my child just to see if he or she loves me, but I would warn him or her about doing something that would be harmful.

    • The question you’re eluding is, why is there a stove in the house at all? Certainly an omnipotent being could have created a garden without the tree in question, and let Adam and Eve live in eternal bliss. God CHOSE to put the tree of knowledge there, and he chose to put it there before putting Adam and Eve there. The question remains.

      • You’re right, Jack, the question still remains. The answer comes from being able to understand Romans 8:20. There was a reason, and God tells us the reason. It cannot be accessed through the flesh, however, but can be accessed through the spirit.

  5. i have a scientific explanation to things. it says in genesis that God seprated the heavens from the heavens, and that god created the stars and planets for signs. i think that that doesnt mean for signs like zodiac signs but for spiritual, heavenly signs. i beleive that when he seperated the heavens from the heavens that they still carried apart of the true heaven. this means that the physical things we see in life are signs of what happens in the spiritual relms as well. our reality is a between state of what happens spiritually. therefore when god created this universe, he had created it with all the possibilities. and just as our universe one antimatter by 1%, he let that be but with the exception with a little scattered antimatter. so the anitmatter, and the bad little things in life, are like the drug dealers on the corner of the street or the catch behind all that is free. i think ultimately God created us to know himself and to define himself in a new way possible. he wanted to be ultimately order and consciousness, so that is why he created our reality. our universe is a hologram of pure consciousness, which he pertains to be. but beyond this are other dimensions, one of chaos and one of grace and order. but this is the one where all of them collide. so since consciousness is what he is, he and that 1% percent is suppose to be triumphant, god allows mankind to win but has a catch in our realilty. he seems to have created evil and knowledge of it so that consciousness would know that there was something else. it was out choice to take it, but had we not we wouldnt be as conscious as the gods, or the many face which are within him.God also seems to have created satan as his opponent to give him a reason to live. Satan is like god messed up wife. he is truth while she is desire. satan was made to be his opposite. to say what shouldnt be while he says what should be. satan is his first companion, and his helper. they are like two lovers. this was because gods consciousness was lonely. and before he created mankind he had let there be heaven, satan, and angels who created in the heavens and think of a universe. when he thought of creating man he thought of creating an innocent being who did not know any of these things. to see what they will do. till this day all children are born with the same merit and so is all that we do. not even the gods know what we will do. but they preplan goodness, which is part of the same plans we have. yet how thing will turn out is totally up to us. he allowed randomness to come into our lives, but at the mercy of his power. this is why it was under his command that he let all these things happens and it was to him that all the gods bowed, and were one with. i think god wants us to have knowlegde to define himself. but not to know evil. this is the real question ive been searching for.”does god want us to have knowledge?” versus being like a native american in the wilderness.” does he want us to know how to build, reach the stars, and know as much as possible?” and “why”. “what will knowledge serve us, if he will end it soon?” almost makes me think he wants us to be stupid. but i doubt it. i really think god wants us to become god like him, or very unqiue powerful beings eventually in the physical world. but he will give this to us when we are obedient enough. it’s just the same way aliens wouldnt land on earth till we are nonviolent perhaps.

  6. All seem like valid explanation. I can most identify with the parent explanation that I wouldn’t temp my child but tell them things that they shouldn’t do because I know its not right but if and when they do it there is consequences for their actions the result of disobedience

  7. Man likes to blame the woman for starting it, but scriptures are clear it was all about the man/Adam……no they were not “one unit” and she did not sin before he did, no scriptures in the bible say she did before he sinned…..once he ate, then she became a sinner, but not until then
    the bottom line, Adam the man failed, not the woman.

    The Lord God and Adam the man

    Genesis 2:5 there was not a man to till the ground.
    Genesis 2:15-17 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. the Lord God commanded the man saying, Thou shalt not eat of it

    Genesis 3:9-11 the Lord called to Adam, Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

    Genesis 3:17 unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it, cursed is the ground for thy sake

    Genesis 3:22-24 And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
    Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
    So he drove out the man

    • You’re right, Adam sinned first. However, the woman did not respect God’s “chain of command.” God spoke to Adam, commanding him not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. Eve was created for Adam as a companion and “helper.” She was under his subjection, so Adam informed her of God’s command regarding the Tree.

      The headship principle in 1 Corinthians 3: 11 says “But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man,[a] and the head of Christ is God.” So woman looks to man for guidance, man looks to Christ, Christ looks to God. Chaos normally ensues when someone steps out of their place. Satan is a good example of this.

      So the serpent targeted Eve because she was most recently created and spiritually weaker compared to Adam. The serpent asks Eve a question at Genesis 3:1 ““Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Remember, Eve never spoke to God. The command was given to her by her husband.

      This is where Eve overstepped her boundaries… She replies in Verse 2 and speaks in behalf of her husband. “Of the fruit of the trees of the garden WE may eat.” Since Adam wasn’t present, Eve could only speak in behalf of herself?

      In Verse 3 Eve says “but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” Eve wasn’t created yet when God gave Adam the command, so she can only confirm what her husband said.

      She was in no position to try to reason with the snake. If she maintained her place as a submissive helper to her husband, the situation could have turned out differently. Adam, as the spiritually mature head of household, could have spoken to the snake directly and taken a stand to do what was right. His mistake was to be persuaded by desire and give in to eating the only kind of fruit from the only kind of tree that would bring death to all humans. SMH

      • Wow that’s really deep. Key word being submission even today rebellion has gotten pretty bad because everyone wants to be the head.

      • And once again, God knew all of this would happen BEFORE he dropped Adam and Eve into this impossible situation. They never had a chance. SMH

  8. When we ask the question, “Why did God put the tree in the garden?” , we are really asking, “is God really good and can i trust him with my life, to give Him my life and trust Him to give me and lead me to what is truly best?” We are also asking, “Is God really a twisted evil person that likes to see people suffer and that’s why he allowed the fall and all the sin and oppression and injustice that are the result?”

    This is why the “choice” answer (the tree was created to provide a choice), has never satisfied the aching doubt in my heart. I’m really asking if I can trust my heart to love God or not? Can I believe that he will really love my heart, or will he torture it? The choice answer is an attempt to answer the surface question without seeing the deeper question.

    The Choice answer also refers to real love and false love; love without choice is no love at all. I believe the love of Adam and Eve before the fall was the same as or similar to the love of a child for their parents. I would not want to say that the love of children for their parents is not real love. Children really do love worship and adore their parents and it is genuine love. If parents somehow fail or neglect their children, the love can of course be lost or damaged. Young adults and adolescents can become disillusioned with their parents but then a deeper love can come later in life. Never a perfect love because no parents are perfect people and certainly not omnipotent and worthy of divine love. But a deeper love that comes from greater understanding and more intimate more complete knowledge and experience is possible. I think this deeper love is one thing God is after. I think therefore it would be much better to say that God desired mankind to have a deeper love than to say that the pre-fall love was no love at all. In fact, when many of us hear the story of Adam and Eve, we long to return to that unadulterated pure and unhindered untarnished love of the pre-fall days. The pre-fall love is actually a picture of what true and pure love is. I think it is quite strange to say that it is not really love at all.

    So let us move on to the deeper question; is God really love as he says he is, and how can I reconcile this in my mind heart and soul in view of all the suffering oppression pain inequality and everything else evil that have resulted from Adam and Eve’s response to the presence of the tree that God put in the garden?

    What are your thoughts?

    (I do by the way believe very deeply the love and goodness of God, but that was not always the case as at one time this was a difficult struggle for me. Knowing the pain an confusion first hand that others may face when dealing with this issue, I think it is an important discussion to pursue more deeply).

  9. God did not create a “tree of knowledge of good and evil”. It’s fiction. Genesis 1-6 never happened (like any other story in the bible). No chatting snake either. And above all, Adam and Eve were not the first two humans to have existed. Science has clearly demonstrated (and proven) that for all humans living today to have descended from just two people just several thousand years ago (or however many thousands of years ago) is a biological impossibility. I am not a scientist but I am qualified to discuss this issue. I, too, was raised in a DEVOUTLY religious family and was supposed to have believed all this. The entire bible. My family still is devoutly religious but I am the only one who is not (I guess that makes me the black sheep). I have always been a free thinker. I have always used logic, reason and common sense (and scientifically verifiable fact) to form my beliefs and opinions. I suppose that in order to believe that this story in Genesis is true (or any other story in the bible for that matter) you have to discard all logic, reason and common scense and embrace the world of faith to truly believe that it did happen. I could never do that. As a non believer, I just view the bible stories as absurd and preposterous fairy tales that cannot (and should not) be considered as literal truth. In fact, once you analyze the bible stories with logic, reason, and common sense, they become an incomprehensible nonsense. But, once again, only in the world of faith are the bible stories able to make any sense at all, and for the true believer, makes all the difference in their plausibility.

    • FYI, with out faith it’s impossible to believe God. You believe the wind exist because you can feel it’s affects although you can not actually see wind with your eye. God is the same way. You will not see him because he’s a spirit. Nevertheless, millions have felt him by faith. Therefore, as a free will thinker you might want to stay open by asking him to reveal himself to you. There are just to many witnesses to disclaim the validity of God. Eternity is to long to make a mistake and think God doesn’t exist.

  10. I find this answer inadequate in relation to the message of the bible.

    “The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was there, in part, to provide humans with a choice: to obey the Voice of God or not.”

    This essentially says to me that god placed the tree there as a test of temptation, to see if they were able to stay on the “right” path despite having this knowledge put right in their face. This is also a blatant contradiction to James 1:13, where god says he does not tempt us.

    “The prophet Isaiah reminds us that God’s ways are not our ways, his thoughts are not our thoughts. He said that God’s thoughts are as high above our thoughts as the stars in the heaven.”

    This part also bothers me in particular. If this god was omniscient and wanted Adam and Eve to remain in Eden, he would not have put a fruit he knew could corrupt their well being and cause their downfall. Once you default your reasoning to “we can’t know gods ways”, this automatically takes his decision to create the fruit out of the realm of rational discussion since no one can even come up with a good reason why he created it on their own.

    This is my main reason why Abrahamic religions are so unbelievable, there’s a flaw right at the beginning that everyone overlooks and no one can provide an adequate reason for. Unless they are willing to admit that their god wanted us to eat the fruit and fall from “grace”, in which case I would say they might be right and their god is malevolent.

    • You mention James 1:13 “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;” and it continues onto verse 14 “but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.”

      Temptation involves desire, a feeling of want, being drawn to do something they know is wrong. There is not one instance in the bible of God tempting someone. He tested Abraham’s faith in order to see if he was worthy. Abraham surely did not want to kill his only son, so this was not a temptation.

      In the case of Adam and Eve, they chose to give in to their desires. Adam and Eve were perfect, they are not like you or me. We are naturally inclined to sin and fall into temptation quite easily. Jesus was perfect. He was sinless in thought, in speech, in action. Perfect people can hit the bulls eye EVERY time. The only way the wouldn’t hit their mark, is to purposely miss it. They listened to lies told by Satan and betrayed their Creator who loved them beyond a reasonable doubt. There really was no reason to doubt God and think Satan’s lies were true. They knew the law and made a clear choice.

      Remember that God blessed humans with free will just like the angels. He didn’t want robots, he wanted to know that we loved him in return. He does not know what humans will choose to do until they follow through with it. Our lives are not pre-destined. God sets a purpose and creates his plan to see the purpose fulfilled.

      For example his purpose for mankind was stated in Genesis 1: 22 “be fruitful and multiply.” He wanted Adam and Eve, who were perfect, to fill the earth with their offspring. So he wanted perfect human subjects to live on a paradise earth forever, which we WILL happen in the future.

      God even revealed his plan to destroy Satan immediately after Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden. Genesis 3:15…
      “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” God says the woman will produce a seed that will bruise Satan’s head and heel.

      So basically he has general purposes and they may be delayed by the Satan’s meddling, but his purposes for the earth and mankind will happen.
      His words always prove to be true one day, they are in fact promises to us.

      Isaiah 55:11
      “so is my word that goes out from my mouth:It will not return to me empty,
      but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

      • ” He does not know what humans will choose to do until they follow through with it. ” Then God is not God and the entire debate is moot.

  11. The same thing has really bothered me at times too. I think though that God purposing the fall does not necessarily make Him malevolent. Think of sports. If a coach can see that he has a potentially star athlete, but that athlete has some sort of mental block or attitude problem, he wouldn’t be a good coach, or even a good friend to the player, if he didn’t do something to help him go beyond his current limitations to reach greater potential. What if God saw that Adam and Eve; though they had an easy life, and a reasonably pleasant experience of God’s love; they still weren’t experiencing the fullness of His infinite person. Because they were not one with Him. This is the difference. In John chapter 17, Jesus in prayer tells us we will be one with God. That is more than Adam and Eve had. That is something that is only possible because of the death and resurrection of Jesus. The angels in heaven are not one with God. After the time of this fading earth is over, those who believe will be… they will be one with God himself. The Greek gods always kept men at a distance. The God of Christianity is the only one who brings mankind, men and women, close to himself without shame. Hebrews 12 tells us that God’s purpose in disciplining us, is that we might share in His holiness. His holiness is infinite. Adam and Eve, and we also if things were left as they were, could have had a nice time, but would be far from being one with God. We couldn’t understand God, and He couldn’t necessarily identify with us (which did happen through the incarnation of God in Jesus). But what does sharing in the Holiness of God mean? Most people’s idea of heaven if they have one, is really an experience just like earth but with infinitely increased pleasures and joys, with none of the difficulties and pain. But what causes the bad things and diminishes pleasure and joy? Is it not insecurity, insignificance and lack of self acceptance? And if God is infinitely bigger smarter and superior to us in every way, how can we possibly be secure significant and accepted unless we become one with Him, so that there is nothing bigger or superior to … us? And what if Jesus dieing on the cross was the only way to make finite insignificant creatures one with God? If that were so, would you want to know more about what it means to be one with God?

    What is oneness with You, Lord God? Is it not being so connected to your might and authority, that no oppressive boss, government leader, or even spiritual power, can stand up to me, or to us, to the new we, because of my identification with you in Jesus. No one can rule over, oppress or boss me around because I am one with You God who give all power and authority to all kings and rulers. That means that in God, I am the one who gives power and authority, and therefore no power has authority to commit wrongful harm against me. Heaven will be heaven because there is no oppression. It is not possible to oppress God. In heaven, being one with God, it will be impossible for anyone to oppress or manipulate a believer.

    Think about what is really bad on earth. What really hurts? It is rejection, oppression, injustice, inequality? What else? Ask yourself if any of these painful things would be possible if you were one with God himself.

    Now, if Jesus’ death and resurrection is the only thing that could make us one with God, because of God’s identifying himself with our finite existence, (his trading His infinite experience for our finite experience), would that make the mere 90+ years of suffering through our finite human experience worth it in comparison to an eternal infinite experience?

  12. I am currently struggling in faith for various reasons,one being am a slave of logic and reason.The significance of the tree did not make much sense to me.Your argument is really on point and to an extent without the tree we wouldn’t ‘t have the freedom of reason.We would have been robots in a sense

  13. The Tree of Knowledge represents his authority as ruler. Like a crown to a king, a gavel to a judge, or a badge to a policeman. He is the Almighty, the Creator and deserves to set standards as to what is pleasing to him and what is not pleasing to him.

    Genesis 2: 9 “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.”

    There are 100,00 different varieties of trees in this world today. Regarding the apple alone, there are 7,000 different kinds of apples. Out of his loving kindness, God blessed Adam and Eve with an abundance and variety of fruits to choose from. He then gave then commanded…

    ” And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” ~ Genesis 2: 16, 17

    As supreme Ruler, he decides what is Good and what is Bad. He told them what would please him — to eat from ANY tree in the Garden and what would displease him — eating from the tree of Knowledge. This situation is comparable to an owner of a company creating a set of rules for his employees to follow, a company policy. Employees must abide by the policy or suffer the consequences.

    Jeremiah 23: 10 states
    “Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps.”
    Take a look at the world today. Does this scripture prove to be true? Is man capable of ruling over themselves or were things much better in the hands of our Creator.

    Adam and Eve were blessed with free will and with command set forth, they had the choice to be subjects of God or to rebel against him. Their disobedience disrespected God’s divine authority and their punishment followed through exactly as they were told.

    From the time Adam and Eve disobeyed, Satan has controlled the world and mankind has been under his influence. Please don’t ever blame God for your suffering or the suffering of others. Sickness and death are the consequences caused by Adam and Eve’s disobedience. Suffering is caused by sinful people who choose to do evil things and the world is the way it is because it is “under the control of the evil one” (1 John 5:19) Sometimes innocent people die due to “time and unforeseen occurrence befall them” cited from Ecclesiastes 9:11, which simply means they were at the wrong place at the wrong time.

    There is still hope and God will bless those that choose to serve him and he will bless those faithful people with eternal life on a paradise earth as originally planned.

    • There is one huge gaping flaw in your analogy of God as employer and we as employees. Yes, an employer has certain rules in place as a condition of employment. Yes an employee has been given a choice. But, if you as an employer have God like knowledge, i.e., you know before hiring employee X that employee X is going to steal office supplies and you’re going to have to fire him, is it moral for you to hire him anyway, give him false hope, and then throw him out onto the street when he does exactly what you knew he would do, even before he knows it himself? Does this not make you a sadist?

  14. Indeed no one could answer most ‘why’ questions in Bible just like stated in Isaiah. However it raised a question ‘if at the end GOD will punish those who oppose HIM then can it still be consider as ‘free will’ since we (all creation) are ‘threatened’ with punishment at the end?’ Don’t get me wrong, I raised the question simply to say what is in my mind and not to oppose GOD in anyway.

    Secondly that came across my mind, we believers realize that GOD is all powerful and yet what we know today simply because of what had happened. Why then GOD would not ‘destroy’ the evil at the beginning since HE can simply makes it unknown to us just like many ‘unknown/unexplained’ situations that happened?

    As I have learned all this time we try to explain GOD in which it is like trying to explain the unexplainable and like what I had been told about ‘blind men’ that try to describe an elephant….. Again I will have to apologize for any harm that caused by my questions above. Faith…… Do we have faith on the living GOD or god that we build in our image? Thank you and hopefully with all this questions I asked everyone will be eager to get closer to GOD.

  15. God predestined the fall of man. That is why God put the tree in the garden of Eden. He wanted sin to come into this world so his glory could be displayed fully. God gave us free will so he could have someone to blame for sin. God was not testing Adam and eve’s faith. There was no need to test their faith. He already knew what would hapen.

  16. Maybe the nakedness/shame that Adam and Eve felt, and subsequently the hardships that followed eating the forbidden fruit, are gifts to us from God. How could someone know a perfect Garden unless they knew what perfection was not? How can someone know bliss unless they know pain and hardship?

    Perhaps the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil represents the greatest gift we have been provided. The gift of being separated from God so that we may again experience salvation and re-unification. Maybe this original sin and all sin which has followed has been part of a perfect divine plan and everything is happening exactly as it should, including those things we label horrific. Perhaps “Satan” and “God” are in cahoots 🙂

    • Correct…they are husband and wife.Earth is just another planet of billions in million galaxies for energy production.Answer is in e=mc2.(tell you mass is not zero when we die…data of information of our memories still remain…idea or data is indestructible…just like words or data of bible).At first was word and word was with god,with it god created everything.Where are all the new energetic stars spawning from,while the universe is expanding.From our energy when we die.We become light or stars and shine light in the vast darkness of universe.Light is immortal life we are getting when we die…travelling across galaxies or heavens.We will all become white and bright like gods and angels.And about consciuosness..its all mind games!!!

  17. You didn’t really answer the question. Your answer was basically “Trust God because he’s smarter than us.” Which is a great truth, but theologically, it is a weak answer. If you want to argue apologetics, you can’t simply insert “We just have faith” wen you come across a hard question.

    Also, I would point out that one does not need a tree of good and evil to have free will. You seem to assume that if we did not have this tree, we could not have free will. I see this principle nowhere supported in the Bible. Thanks.

  18. The problem here is that God had already created adam & eve with the power to choose so he could easily teach them what free-will is etc., worse,since God knew in advance they would eat of the tree, so to speak,and that the plan to save man would involve Jesus going to the cross, certainly, being perfect, all-powerful etc., God could have acheived all His purposes without allowing satan to spoil everything. I know “His thoughts are above ours…” etc., but allowing sin in and creating the need for Jesus to go through horrible suffering just does not add-up if God is all-knowing, perfect in all his ways, all-powerful,The very essence of Love itself, then allowing man to fall and causing Jesus to go to the cross is a complete contradiction of who and what The Bible , The Word of God , says about who God is.

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  20. This is a link to a sermon on the tree of good and evil. I highly recommend it for everyone. It has really answered questions I’ve had about the tree and I believe ended so much struggle and confusion that I have gone through. for you Anonymous I think the sermon also points to Love and to real connection with the divine even through the death of religious living in us. It’s an hour long but so very worth listening all the way through.

    Ephesians 1:17 May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understandingfn being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.

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  22. so another question, why good and evil in the same tree ?? another adventure in the discovery of maybe other answers, ie: things like calling good evil and evil good, or a response like Jesus, why do you call me good there is only one that is good and that is God

  23. In order to experience God’s “Salvation” one must first fall in order to be “Saved!” Why was the Lamb prepared before the foundation of the world? The tree wasn’t to test man, man was not yet complete because he had not yet experienced salvation because he had not yet experienced what it means to fall. When laws are given, man breaks them, automatic, done deal, the temptation is too great. What I am saying is when God placed the “Law” in the middle of the garden He knew man would break that law thus allowing the redemption, grace and mercy of god to be demonstrated. It was always about God’s glory, not mans. When we focus on man’s actions rather than God’s glory we get into trouble with our thinking.

  24. I like what Julie said earlier that our lives are not predestined so God created a plan to see His purposes fulfilled. One of that purposes was for mankind to populate the earth that is why God commanded Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:28 to be fruitful and multiply. But it seems impossible for Adam and Eve to obey or fulfill that because their minds were still innocents and they do not have the knowledge of procreation. As a solution anticipated by God in order for mankind to have free will or the freedom to choose, He gave a commandment earlier to Adam (Genesis 2:16,17) that he may freely eat of every tree of the garden but shall not eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam obeyed but the serpent cunningly tempted Eve who was the first one to be deceived. Eve’s eyes were opened and she saw what will happen if Adam will not partake of the fruit (she will be banished and Adam will be alone in the garden forever). She also saw that if Adam will partake they will be able to obey the commandment to be fruitful and multiply. So Adam hearkened to his wife Eve (Genesis 4:17) and ate the fruit which we understand as the Fall of our first parents but fulfilled another purposes of God and that is the promise of redemption manifested by Jesus Christ (1 John 3:8) our Savior and Redeemer.

  25. Pingback: Out of Eden: Thoughts on Free Will, Salvation, & The Tree of Knowledge | YouBe

  26. I think it’s was more than the “just a test” explanation. This particular tree had fruit on i…it was edible so I’m assuming someone was meant to eat from it. After everything was created, the bible said that it was each was GOOD…so there was nothing flawed about this tree. It was perfect for whatever purpose it was to serve. I cannot see God creating a tree and furnishing it with fruit for no reason but to just stand there and serve as a test. Furthermore, it was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. All good knowledge God is willing to past down to his creation. So creating a tree that had something to good to offer that was ultimately forbidden would have been as if God was withholding something good back…and that’s the reasoning Satan used and twisted. He would never deny us good knowledge or knowledge that would be beneficial to us, however we seem to focus more on the evil part of the tree. From this I gather that God had a purpose of having this tree there and a part of me believe it was meant for consumption, just not from Adam and Eve. He specifically told THEM not to eat from the tree ..it was off limits to THEM. Had Adam and Eve obeyed, in time it’s possible God would have given them more instructions for the use of the tree, who it was meant for and why. It did not say anything about others not eating from it, but of course since they were the only two there at the time and they both chose to disobeyed God by eating from it after he told them not to (and it is the act of disobedience itself that cause them to become separated from God) we really won’t know what the true purpose God had for the tree and the true nature in how it was to be used. What we do know is that the fruit on this tree was not particularly different from any other tree in the garden, so yes, they had plenty of others to choose from..they had an abundance, so yes, it was outright defiance when they partook of it. The tree of life was to sustain life and that tree was not forbidden for them to eat from until after they sin, therefore I’m thinking the tree of knowledge of good and bad was meant for consumption in some particular way, at some point in time for someone, it was just off limits to Adam and Eve. We just never made it far enough to find out what that was before Adam and Eve messed up.

  27. If Adam and Eve had waited one more day, the Sabbath, God would have fed them from the tree Himself. They knew right and wrong for God had told them, do not eat from that tree. There were two trees in the garden, the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Tree of Life is for healing and maintaining life. The Tree of Knowledge contained all other knowledge (science). The Tree of Knowlege would make Adam and Eve omniscience just like God. (omni = all, science = knowledge). Just like a child taking cookies from a cookie jar when forbidden, Adam and Eve couldn’t wait, so they allowed Satan to feed them instead of waiting on God. Satan had been placed there to guard the tree,but his pride made him want to takeover. He knew if he could get Adam to eat from his hand, he could rule the world through him. God would have ensured that Adam and Eve would have known the power that knowledge would give to them and that knowledge could be used for good or evil. As we see in the world today and all down through history, that knowledge has been used for good and evil. Man is slowly massing together enough atomic weapons to wipe out all mankind. The war of Armageddon will be fought over the other tree, the Tree of Life, because with it, Satan will be able to rule forever through his antichrist.

  28. I love the mental gymnastics people go through to try and justify the nonsense in Genesis.

    So this omniscient being, knowing ahead of time the choice everyone will make, put the very instrument of our down fall right in view for us. Adam and Eve couldn’t have possibly understood the outcome of their choice. They had no knowledge of good/evil before eating the tree. To make matters worse, not only did Yahweh create the situation, but then judged us for doing the very thing that he intended to happen. All this for the simple intent on returning those “faithful” to the very type of existence that humans started in. Your reward for your faithfulness is eternal worship to this deity.

    Lol. Really people? Here is a great analogy.

    I don’t feed my kid for several days. One day I put a plate of chocolate cookies on the table. Warm. Gooey and delicious. I tell my kid, “do not eat one cookie or I will kick you out of the house”

    Now. My child would like to obey me, but with his rumbling stomach it’s only a matter of time before he reaches out his little hand and snatches a cookie.

    Here is the kicker.

    I know that he will eat a cookie. I know that his mind is not capable of understanding what’s going on. I have set my kid up for failure. But it doesn’t end there. Even knowing what will happen, once I come back and see that the cookie has indeed been eaten, I follow through on my threat and kick my child out of the house.

    To make matters worse, in the Genesis story, A & E did not have knowledge of good /evil, right/wrong before eating from the tree.

    To make the analogy even better, let’s say I let another adult (uncle, aunt etc) enter, eating a cookie asking my kid, “hey, I can hear your stomach rumbling. Why aren’t eating a cookie?”

    This is a ridiculous story that no parent would EVER do to their kid.

    Yahweh put an imperfect creature, that did not have the mental capacity to discern right from wrong, in a situation where this imperfect creature would have to go up against a supernatural entity (Satan), only to be judged for the very same imperfection that was created within that creature.

    To compound the immorality of this situation, not only did Yahweh condemn A & E, but also every living thing and all the descendants of A&E.

    This story is a joke.

    What saddens me is that theist (christians in this instance) make excuses. They try to use the parent comparison as if this fits in any way. It’s been millions of years since mans intellect awoke. thousands of years if you want to believe YEC (Young Earth Creationists)

    A parent explains they why of things to their children. This deity does neither. It has no explanatory powers. This is a master/slave relationship that sheep willingly bind themselves to. Smh.

    • Thats not exactly a good analogy of what happens. As Adam and Eve are told that they can eat of any tree in the garden. Other than the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And you are simply a fool if you believe this story to be literal rather than symbolic.

    • only thing I see different is adam and eve were not exactly hungry. maybe a better one would be healthy foods all through the room but we all know kids want the sugary junk food 🙂

    • It’s like a big corporation that makes electric toasters knowingly ships them with a defect that can allow it to be easily misused by having a high darkness setting that will guarantee charring the bread to a blackened crisp which no human would eat. You buy one of these toasters put in a slice of bread and crank it up. BAM! instant charcoal toast. You were very hungry and that was the last slice of bread in the house. The company would be at fault for making a product with a hunger-causing design flaw that they were in full knowledge about before they sold it, yet blame you for not making the right choice in the toast darkness setting. And you just wanted your toast really dark, not charcoal.

      The question is: Was the company cruel for allowing you to make the obvious choice to destroy the bread? or
      Or: Can I trust this toaster company to deliver a safe product that will maximise the chance for a successful edible slice of toast?

  29. Pingback: The Forbidden Fruit | Tree of Angels & Demons

  30. Im not sure that its reasonable to assume that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Was placed in the garden for the simple purpose of testing human beings. As opposed to being some natural consequence of the creation of the garden itself. And i tend to believe that the entire story is written in a completely symbolic language. My opinion is that the “tree of life” and the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil”. Are two separate manifestations of the same thing. That the tree of life symbolizes the proper way of perceiving the world. And that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is the corruption of that perception. In my opinion the serpent represents fear. And that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is the tree of life imbalanced by fear.

    A summarized version of what i believe.

  31. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Isnt found at just some a arbitrary location in the garden. Its found right in the heart of it. Therefor, it is the heart,,broken

  32. Could it be as “simple” as this?

    God created the heavens and the earth and all that was in it. He created man….and gave EVERYTHING He had created to these human beings. They had dominion over all the earth, no pain, no struggles, no job. It was “heaven on earth” so to speak. All He asked of them was to obey that one command He had given. It seems fair to me that He asked for something in return, just one rule that would honor the trust and love He had given them.

    They failed. The moment that they decided to ignore this command, their world changed drastically. It was of their own making….and it was fair. He told them the rule, and what would happen if they broke it. He is fair and just, so they got what they had been warned of.

    How many other trees, fruits and vegetables did they have at their disposal? Probably hundreds of thousands. And what did they want? The ONE thing that God kept on earth for Himself. Then, just as now, if you break the “law” you must suffer the consequences.

    I’m not sure that Adam and Eve were the only ones that did this. Perhaps, in all our lives, we are faced at some point with wanting something we cannot, or should not, have. God tells us not to do something, we know it’s wrong…but we find a way to justify it, and follow our own desires instead. And sometimes these “sins” affect our families. Sometimes they affect all mankind.

    Only now we can be forgiven. Neither Adam nor Eve accepted that they had failed God. They did not confess their “sin”…they tried to justify it. What would have happened had they asked Him for forgiveness?

    Maybe the story of “the Fall” is just the story of how we fall from His grace and freedom when we make a choice to be equal to Him.

  33. Did Adam and Eve have a choice? Or did everything worked according to God’s great plan? Ephesians 1: 11 says that God works all things after the counsel of His own will. To say that Adam and Eve had a choice it would mean that God had left it up to chance and He was not to sure what decision they would take. Almost as if God was rolling a pair of dice and hoping for His favorite numbers to come out. Isaiah 46:10 says that God declares the end from the beginning and from ancient times. In other words God proclaimed everything from beginning to the end moreover in verse 10 He states His counsel shall stand and He will do according to His pleasure.
    Sorry for the huge controversy but Adam’s and Eve’s “disobedience” didn’t catch God by surprise. This story had only one direction and that is the direction God wanted it to go.
    Proverbs 19: 21 says There are many devices in a man’s heart nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand. God has complete control over His creation and His decree is forever. Never in a moment of time did he ever leave creation to chance or probability nor did He lose control.
    The question why did God put the tree of good and evil in the garden is indeed a good question and it can be answered by Proverbs 16:4 The Lord hath made all things for Himself, even the wicked for the day of evil. It was God’s purpose for Adam and Eve to eat from the tree, the real question is what is God’s purpose for mankind? We know whatever it is it will serve to glorify God Himself.

    • Jack, thanks for the question. There is nothing in the Hebrew text which implies God is surprised by what takes place. Do you have children? If so, you’ve probably asked them a question knowing full well what the answer is. Did you break your mother’s favorite vase? You know the child did, but you still ask . . . why? Probably because you think it is important for their character to own up to what they have done. Likewise, I have friends who are top lawyers. They tell me they never ask a question in a deposition or in trial unless they already know the answer. They are not omnipotent, of course, but they don’t want to be caught off guard. The biblical text situates Adam and Eve in a childlike innocence.

  34. Hi thanks for your honesty in saying that you don’t really know the answer to this question. I find it difficult to understand why a God of love would give his children this so called choice. He put the ‘evil’ there in the first place. Where’s the choice in that. If God created only good and everything that God created was good then where did evil come from. Where did knowledge of evil come from. It seems quite a malicious act to me. It certainly doesn’t make sense. If I was God and I’d created Adam and Eve and everything they knew was only good, why would I have a need to put something ‘evil’ in their midst etc. In fact I would be introducing them to the concept of sin by putting a source of temptation in front of them. If they only knew good, why would I find it necessary to give them this so called choice especially knowing that it was going to bring death and pain into the world. As far as I’m concerned there is ultimately no choice. If God hadn’t put the tree there in the first place, none of this would have happened. It’s like me putting a cup of cyanide in front of my kids and all I do is to warn them not to drink it! Why would I put the cup there in the first place. So I don’t think anyone can answer this question, and the idea of us being robots doesn’t cut it for me. I feel quite frustrated and annoyed that this is in the Bible. The Bible tells us that God is not the author of confusion. I also understand and appreciate the idea that God’s thinking is way above mine. Maybe this is just something I’m not meant to understand but to trust regardless. All I know is that from personal experience when I do things my way and not God’s way the outcome is not always positive. It’s all about trust and patience for me. I’m always grateful when God gives me the strength to follow His will, especially when I see how beneficial the outcome is to me. So from personal experience I don’t identify with this concept of God. God is not wrathful or unkind, He only wants what’s best for me. Maybe somewhere along the line the nature of God has been distorted. God is not nasty and for me personally the implication of this part of scripture is that He is.

    • God gave us free-will. In order for there to be free-will, there has to be a choice. God did put the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden. God could have chosen a righteous man to be the first human. Noah, Job, John the Baptist would all have been good choices as they were righteous, upright and walked with God. So, why did He choose the two spiritually weak couple that He did? Because most of us are just as spritually weak and proned to sin. If the first couple had not sinned, that would have set the bar too high for the majority of us to reach. There would not have been a need for a savior. We would be under the law. We would not have any hope. So, God knowing that devised a plan of salvation for us all before the foundation of the world. He could have settled for just a few righteous, but He wants all of us to be able to enjoy the abundance that He has to offer. He loved us so much, that He was willing to allow sin into the garden so that we all can be saved and someday enjoy that life with Him. How wonderful it will be when we are living in a perfect world just like the Garden of Eden was. I’m glad God made plans for me. You have a choice. You can choose life or death. It’s up to you. Adam and Eve did not change that. Even if they hadn’t sinned, we would still face temptation and still prone to sin without a savior to save us. God didn’t set them up, or make a mistake. His plan is working quite well. There are billions able to enter His kingdom instead of a few hundred righteous that have lived.

  35. I have one question to ask to my christian friends here.Say for example we all were born in afghanistan/india and our parents were muslims/hindus.Then almost we all here would be eventually following islam/hindusm,since our parents would be leading..and showing us the path of religion from childhood.So then will we be going to HELL…for not having the opportunity to follow jesus christ as other countries does get?? Or will we be going to HEAVEN following islam/hinduism if only we did was love and care,our fellow beings on earth??

  36. I have heard this once said , that the waves lift their branches the oceans waves crash up against the rocks the rocks cry out in praise to God , creation was made to glorify God but Creation has no choice , a good thought would be that God gave us a free will because He wants us to lift our hands and shout praises to Him from our own hearts because we want to praise Him, not because we are like all other creation that does not have a choice but to praise its Creator . We praise our creator because we are fearfully and wonderfully made and given the choice to follow and worship God with all of our hearts. loved your answer by the way !!!!! Praise the Lord !!!!!!

  37. The answer is easier than u think.
    The fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is awareness. That is what separates us from the other animals. What teaches us good and evil? The bible does, religions do. It’s the cause of wars and destruction.
    Man wrote it. You must have a spiritual connection with god. If u follow a book of religion your doomed. The bible is placed here to deceive by satan. That is the fruit of knowledge of good and evil.

    • Good insight, Ryan; but there is more to it. The bible does contain God’s word but the book is not infallible much like the serpent who told some truths and some lies. Does that remind you of any group mentioned later in the bible? If you have that spiritual connection with God, you will be able to discern His Word from man’s word. Wisdom can only come from one place and by one avenue, and it has nothing to do with a tree.

  38. After reading this and reading some of your comments I have to say that I believe God is always trying to prove His point that “man” will choose Him not matter what…God wants to believe that He can count on us to make the right decision every time..If you remember when the “sons of God presented themselves, Satan came also…This was in Job…God asked Satan has he considered his servant Job.? To me, that sounds like a challenge..God wants to continually prove to Satan that man will always choose God… So let’s say you are that drug dealer on the corner or you embezzled money from your company, or even if you are a murderer..God now gives us the opportunity to repent and be reconciled back to him no matter if we ate of the tree or not..That’s why I love God..we have to repent and mean it..

  39. Great Post! I believe that God created us with our own will. We can be in God’s perfect will or his permissive will. Prayer will help in determining how to live your life and when to act on your own will that is approved by God or to act in his perfect or permissive will.

  40. Matthew 4:4–But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Romans 8:20–For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope. Romans 8:24–For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? God knows the beginning and end of every man’s life. There is nothing that surprises him. God invites mankind to get to know him, but he does not force anyone. Adam and Eve did not have a personal relationship with God, so they did not get to know him. Proverbs 9:10–The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. People continually say that because we were not there in the garden when all this took place, we have no way of knowing what really happened. To those people I say that Adam and Eve were no different than we are today. Matthew 7:7–Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; No one can discern spiritual things while in the flesh, you must be in the spirit. The counsels of God were not instituted after the creation of mankind or the world for that matter. Whether we know them or not or understand or not, they still exist. God invites us to get to know him and the one whom he sent, Christ Jesus, so we can know and understand his counsels. Do you have a personal relationship with the Creator??? And by the way, God does tell us the reason mentioned in Romans 8:20.

  41. The answer is so simple, God created everything John 1:3. may I add for His good pleasure, Philippians 2:13. It is odd for the pot to question its maker on why He made it the way He did, Isaiah 45:9, Romans 9:20, . God created good and evil, light and darkness. Note He planted a tree that is called tree of good and evil<-, He knew what He was doing and also note that He forbids Adam to eat of it, to bring into effect the power of the serpent to tempt Eve,*without this command the serpent would never have had purpose. So again let me stress that God knew what He was doing and we will never fully understand until He tells us Himself. Fundamentally the question is why did God even start creating, which I answered.

    • Truth, there are two things true about the “Word of God”; first. that it is the “Word of God”, and secondly, “It Never Contradicts Itself”. For clarification, it is o.k. to ask God questions, but it is Never o.k. to Question God. Habakkuk 1:1-4… If the pot wants to know why it is made the way that it is, then it should and has the right to ask its maker.

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