Anyone who has read the Bible or a Christian coloring book has heard the story of Adam and Eve eating the “forbidden fruit” in the Garden of Eden and its disastrous consequences.
If God knew man would eat from its fruit, why would God put the tree in the Garden of Eden? Had they been set up for a trap this whole time? Absolutely not. It wasn’t to condemn Adam and Eve that God put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden. Let’s explore the mystery of the Tree’s presence in the Garden of Eden.
“The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:8,9)
Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:15–17)
While Scripture provides enough material to grasp the essence of the event, certain elements left out by the biblical authors have left us with challenging, if not contested, matters.
Why God placed a forbidden tree in the utopian garden in the first place? If sin and wickedness did exist well before Fall, how long did the “first parents” live in the Garden before falling to persuasion, and why did God make humanity with a tendency to sin?
We know God personally planted each tree in Eden’s Garden (Genesis 2-3). Eden (meaning “pleasant”) was a paradise that was “well-watered” by a God-created irrigation system that culminated in rivers flowing from it.
While God was the primordial grower, he gave Adam the task of cultivating the Garden as God’s image-bearer. Eden provided a secure haven for Adam and Eve to carry out their intended mission.
Why Did God Put The Forbidden Fruit In The Garden Of Eden?
God allowed the Tree of Knowledge to flourish in Eden as per his omniscience and authority, and he formed a covenant with Adam and Eve to keep from consuming its fruit so they may choose between enjoying the eternal rewards that come from devotion and adoration to a gracious God and the repercussions of rebellion and blasphemy against a righteous God.
The tree symbolized the option between obeying God’s rule and pursuing “moral autonomy,” which is why the snake proclaimed, “You shall be as gods…”
It’s ironic because God previously brought Adam and Eve closer to “gods” than any humans ever were. He made them “in his image,” put them where they would be happy and healthy, and gave them his spirit.
He gave humanity authority over all of nature, the duty to take care of it, the gift of reproduction, and the resources necessary to prosper, including the ideal food they may eat straight off the tree without any preparation beyond plucking.
When you do this, the tree suffers no ill effects at all. In addition, God promised Adam and Eve a place in paradise for all eternity.
Instead of accepting their role as leaders of a happy, liberated, and long-living universe, they took the catastrophic road that led to their subjugation and eventual demise. God extended an offer to fulfill all their longings, but they rejected it in favor of unfulfilled expectations and a lesser existence.
The Original Sin
Because they stood in for all humans, their actions had far-reaching repercussions. A “catastrophic bite,” in the words of one author, sealed their and their children’s fate.
That’s what Christians mean when they talk about “Original Sin,” their conception of sin’s inherent essence that’s been present in humans since Adam and Eve’s fall from grace.
Are we guilty of the “Original Sin”? To paraphrase The Catechism of the Catholic Church, original sin is contracted rather than committed; it is a condition rather than an act. Original Sin is something we all have in common, yet it is not our own fault. It’s robbing us of our inherent goodness and fairness.
The “simple crunch” is the root cause of all of humankind’s woes, including the meaninglessness of work, the agony of birth, the stress of marriage, and the finality of death.
Paul gave an account of it in Romans 1:18–21: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness… although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
Adam and Eve’s transgression has a domino effect, resulting in sin and death in every corner of the world and every era of human history.
Our Redemption Through Christ
Adam and Eve’s decision is what ultimately required Jesus Christ to suffer, shed His blood, and die on the cross on our behalf. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we can be free from sin’s consequences and, ultimately, from sin itself.
Apostle Paul says in Romans 7:24-25: “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
John 3:16, perhaps the most prominent verse in Scripture, also states: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Adam bestowed onto humanity the curse of death, which has since “ruled” over us. Jesus provides us with “an abundance of grace,” which he calls eternal life (Romans 5:14).
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