In Genesis 2:9, we learn that God created many trees, but Genesis specifically points out two trees in the middle of the Garden of Eden, the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil.
It is a familiar story to most Christians how humanity fell because Adam and Eve eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and evil. However, I have always wondered why it is important for us to know specifically what the Tree of Knowledge was for. Why put a tree of knowledge if you are not supposed to eat from it? And, why was it a bad thing for us as humans to know good and evil, right from wrong?
I spent many years pondering these questions, often afraid of what the answer might be. Of course I would never admit it, because a “good” Christian doesn’t talk about such things that would dispute the goodness of God. it wasn’t until I came into contact with a fellow brother in Christ who was visiting from Nicaragua who shared with me the first importance is relationship with God, even above getting things right, that it finally hit me. That’s it!!!!!!
Why did the snake want Eve to eat the fruit, then to convince Adam to eat the fruit? God said that they would surely die if they ate the fruit. What kind of death was He talking about? Why would God even put a tree in the garden he didn’t want them to eat? Years ago. I arrived at the revelation that Adam and Eve needed to have a choice, otherwise it wouldn’t truly be Love that they actually chose towards God. This was the whole point to the Garden of Eden. A paradise where they could have unhindered fellowship with the Trinity(God). God created Adam and Eve in His Image and in His Likeness. The serpent tempted them with the ploy that they would be like God, and added on “knowing good from evil.” What seed did the serpent plant? Basically, they could know something on their own, independent of God, independent of knowing it through the dance of having relationship with God. They can take the fast track into greater knowledge and be more like God. They must have thought “why, would God withhold such knowledge? Aren’t we entitled to know good from evil?” They decided that it was good that they could know things and be completely independent not needing God for the knowledge.
What did the serpent tempt them with? Pride! They could be like God without taking things at God’s pace and knowing things through relationship with Him. It was a seed of independence and pride that grew and bore the fruit of death, separation from God. it seemed appealing to them to have this knowledge all at once, so they could know how to behave rightly, and to avoid what is wrong. What they didn’t know was, this knowledge would be too heavy of a burden to bear on their own. The reality of living right and wrong apart from God, finally manifested itself in the law given to Israel through Moses. The knowledge that the human race was “entitled” to, was finally given to a people that, since Adam and Eve had forgotten. I don’t actually know, but I think Adam and Eve didn’t want the knowledge they gained from the Tree of Knowledge passed down to their children, because of the crushing weight of the knowledge. Such knowledge is knowledge only God could carry, and now that they were separated from God, no parent would want their children to have to bear that weight because of their mistakes. Despite, their best efforts, the knowledge of good and evil still continued to crush the human race.
God knew that Adam and Eve would eat from the tree, and I have pondered the thought that perhaps God wanted this thing settled in our hearts once and for all. Can we live rightly by what we know, apart from God? The answer, a resounding no. I think God really wanted the human race to know for themselves and settle it for themselves that they need God to know such things, and even begin to carry it. The knowledge of right and wrong is an impossible thing for us as humans to steward perfectly. The Old Covenant and Old Testament proves this point over and over again, as Israel goes into a repetitive cycle of rebellion, repenting, and rebellion again. But. in order for us to fully become the sons and daughters of His Kingdom, to willingly Love Him, and want to do His will; the entire human race had to go through a process in their hearts called life on earth, to come to this realization, of their dire need for God, Who is the only One who could possibly fully satisfy the need for adventure, curiosity, and need for new knowledge.
In our independent quest to find knowledge, the human race has found their identity in what they know, and pride themselves on what they know over the other person. This is nothing new, as this seed was planted in us since the beginning. Because we as humans feel so empty, without God, we gain knowledge to try to cope with this emptiness, constantly testing out the original premise that was planted in our hearts from Adam and Eve, that we would be more satisfied if we could gain knowledge on our own. However, despite the knowledge we gain, there is always the lurking emptiness that longs for something more.
We also are never really satisfied with every detail about ourselves and our lives. There is always something to critique, and always something that needs to be better. It always seems to be black or white, right or wrong. Again, it is the seed planted in us from the Tree of Knowledge, that raises the standard far above what we could possibly accomplish on our own.
2My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. (Colossian 2:2-4)
To the Corinthians Paul writes (1 Corinthians 2):
1And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.a 2For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
6We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”b —
the things God has prepared for those who love him—
10these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.c 14The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16for,
“Who has known the mind of the Lord
so as to instruct him?”d
But we have the mind of Christ.
These verses should have new meaning for us, as God’s intention has always been from the beginning, through relationship and by His power, to satisfy our longing for the secret treasures, the very knowledge and wisdom of God. This is what Adam and Eve got to experience until they fell, and were separated from God. But now because of Jesus’ death on the cross and His blood, we are given it freely, as we throw away the plant that was grown from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and evil, and embrace the Eternal God, who alone can carry all knowledge and give us the ability to carry it as we abide in Him. Jesus said to us in John 15:5
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
The questions that I am asking myself and God:
1. Is my lack of trust towards God, because somewhere in my mind or heart I believe I know better than God what I need?
2. Is my confidence still in my own knowledge to accomplish things?
3. What would it look like to actually invite God, and allow Him to give me ability to hold and carry His knowledge and wisdom?
4. Is God really so concerned that I get things right, or that I cultivate my relationship with Him? (Matthew 22:37-40)