“The Lord God took the human and settled him in the garden of Eden to farm it and to take care of it. The Lord God commanded the human, ‘Eat your fill from all of the garden’s trees; but don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, because on the day you eat from it, you will die! Then the Lord God said, “It’s not good that the human is alone. I will make him a helper that is perfect for him. So the Lord God formed from the fertile land all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky and brought them to the human to see what he would name them. The human gave each living being its name…[b]ut a helper perfect for him was nowhere to be found. So the Lord God put the human into a deep and heavy sleep…the Lord God fashioned a woman and brought her to the human being….
The snake was the most intelligent of all the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say that you shouldn’t eat from any tree in the garden?'” The woman said to the snake, ‘We may eat the fruit of the garden’s trees but not the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden. God said, ‘Don’t eat from it, and don’t touch it, or you will die.’ The snake said to the woman, ‘You won’t die! God knows that on the day you eat from it, you will see clearly and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. The woman saw that the tree was beautiful with delicious food and that the tree would provide wisdom, so she took some of its fruit and ate it, and also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then they both saw clearly and knew that they were naked. (selected verses from Genesis 2:15-22, 3:1-7, CEB)
A few observations:
1) God created the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, either in actual physical form or as a symbolic expression of a spiritual reality.
2) God told the human to not eat of it before the partner, woman, was formed.
3) The story does not say who tells the woman this information.
4) The story includes that the “snake was the most intelligent of all the wild animals that the Lord God had made”. Three points on this: a) God created the snake, b) God made it intelligent, but not as intelligent as humans (‘wild animals’), and c) how did the snake know about the tree?
Theological Questions Based on these Observations
1) Why did God create the tree of knowledge of good and evil?
2) Does the tree of knowledge of good and evil represent a concept or knowledge of actual “good” and “evil” beings? (Up to this point in Genesis it is my understanding that God saw all His creation as good.)
3) Why/how did the snake (as created by God to be the most intelligent of the wild animals) have any interest in deceiving the humans?
4) Should we assume that up to this point that God has full domain over all actions/thoughts/causes/effects within creation? Is Free Will only after the Fall?
Where am I going with this?
It is in my God-given nature to question and test, discerning what is of God and what is not. I do not bring this up to dispute other interpretations, but rather offer the question up for discussion – as we are all reflections of God, our combined discernment is more helpful then me sitting in a room by myself (or with my little kids).
If God planned the Fall, then the details of our theological assumptions come into question:
1) Did God use the woman in a similar way of using Judas to fulfill God’s Plan? If so, how does this change the Christian conception of women?
2) For that matter, is the snake involved in this event at the direction of God?
3) Does the knowledge and existence of evil need to be embraced differently if it is something God intended and created? (Please note here that I use ‘knowledge’ not ‘enacted’, just as in the scriptures.)
What do you think? I am eagerly awaiting your thoughts!
Only a few short weeks before the Finding Purpose and Balance Spiritual Retreat in Excelsior, MN! This is a wonderful opportunity to benefit from Jasna Burza’s amazing insights and enjoy a mental/spiritual spa day!
*I realize it was not an apple tree, but rather a fruit tree of some sort. Just an easier title!
Related blog posts which I include for your discernment:
- How can God have blessed such evil (gracetracer.wordpress.com)
- Why did God make the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (readprayblog.wordpress.com)
- The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (jasonbrooks.wordpress.com)
- The serpent In The Garden (savedbygraceblogdotcom.wordpress.com)