Was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil just an unfair test?

Why was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil placed in the Garden of Eden to begin with if Yahweh Elohiym knew it was going to be used to trip the couple up?

   Was God just trying to test and trick the first couple?

   It really seems unfair, doesn’t it?

   The tree was likely not a test but, rather, a protection to serve as a warning. The battle between good and evil obviously predated the creation of humanity and was raging through the kosmos while the innocent couple lived sheltered lives in the Garden.

   Couldn’t Yahweh Elohiym have simply told the couple who the serpent was, and warned them not to converse with him or go along with anything he suggested? Wouldn’t that have been a better way to arm them with life-saving knowledge than warning them not to eat from a tree?

   It is important to understand that the symbol of the cross represents the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It represents the place where both good and evil conjoined for the first time in the lives of humanity.

   When evil merges with good, death occurs, not completion or ultimate power, as the Serpent falsely claimed. For that reason, Yahweh Elohiym kept the knowledge of evil from the innocent couple. They had no idea what evil meant—only that it would kill them if they gained first-hand knowledge of it. And the only way they could do that was by eating the fruit, which would be an act of disobedience to God, which would have been sin, and which would have given them first-hand knowledge of evil.

   Where there is no law, sin cannot be imputed. But there was one law in the Garden, “Do not eat from the tree.”

   The first couple did not need to know they were surrounded by Satan and his hordes of fallen angels, evil beings far more powerful than them. They did not need to understand that the serpent was devoted to their destruction. They did not need to know anything about evil to be completely protected from it.

   It was just the opposite.

   Explaining this knowledge to them would not have protected them. It would have ultimately killed them. Any knowledge of evil—at all—other than the knowledge that it existed would have proved fatal to the sinless couple.

   What to do?

  Yahweh Elohiym, the Creator, came up with a way to arm the innocent pair with protective knowledge without the terminal influence of knowing too much.

   His plan was brilliant and elegant in its simplicity.

   He simply planted a tree.

   It is doubtful there was anything special about the tree itself or its fruit except the fact that, concerning the tree, obedience to God guaranteed protection from Satan and disobedience to God guaranteed personal and universal destruction. 

   God gave the first humans only oneThou shalt not,” and if the tree had not been there, Satan would still have been there and been free to approach and tempt the couple in any way he chose. With no warning, the downfall of the naïve pair would have been guaranteed. But God gave them a fighting chance and a choice…by planting an off-limits tree. In doing so, he limited the contact Satan could make with the couple and, while giving no harmful specifics, protected them from a very real and present danger.

   Our Creator, who endowed his human creation with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, allowed them to live completely autonomous lives in fellowship with him and in absolute safety and free will.

   Before THE FALL, iysh and ishshâw, lived idyllic and completely autonomous lives, with the exception of only one commandment, which was designed entirely for their protection. 

   Satan had, and still has, access to this planet. But his influence on the people of this planet was, and still is, restricted.

   To access and oppress God's human creation, Satan must first either have express permission from God, such as in the case of Job, or have points of contact, such as The Tree. It is this writer’s conviction that God, in his mercy, arranged for it to be so. Otherwise, Satan and his fallen angel armies would have unrestricted access to humans. And it doesn’t take much imagination to visualize the results of unhindered demonic access to the population of planet Earth.

   In the beginning, Satan’s only point of contact with people was one tree. We can never know for sure, but it seems that he was prohibited from speaking to the couple except at the tree and about the tree.

   That tree was both a restriction and a portal, and it presented both a protection and a threat to Iysh and Ishshâw.

   Satan’s plan from the beginning was to destroy humanity. His plan was for dominion of this planet to revert from humans to himself. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was the first portal or point of contact ever created, and Yahweh Elohiym created it.

   And He never created another one.

   Because he created humans in his *image and gave us our spirits, our Creator does not need points of contact. God can communicate with us, manifest himself to us, and hear and answer our prayers at any time, without the aid of any “point of contact.” 

*Humans are not image “bearers” of God. The image of God is not something we “do” or carry around with us. Rather, it is something we “are.” There is only one image of God, and every person, saved or unsaved, woman or man, is created in the image of God. That is the reason for the commandment, “Thou shalt not commit murder.”

   Every human is created in the image of God from the moment of conception. It cannot be otherwise. The Bible says that John was filled with the Spirit of God while still in his mother’s womb. And while in the womb of Elizabeth, John (the Bible calls him “the babe”) leaped for joy when Mary, carrying the pre-born Jesus, came into his presence. And while he was still in his mother’s womb, Elizabeth called Jesus her “Lord.” Sampson was a Nazarite to the LORD from the moment he was conceived, and his mother received instructions on how not to violate the dietary vows of the Nazarite while she was pregnant with him. We do not become “bearers” of the image of God at some point after conception or birth. It is an inherent state of being for every human at every stage of our existence.

   Every one of us is created for a unique purpose and endowed with immeasurable and intrinsic value. Our Creator loves us with a great love and is worthy of our allegiance and devotion.

   By placing the tree in the Garden along with only one restriction, the number of points of contact available to Satan was limited to only one. And that one would not do him a bit of good.

   Unless he could trick the couple into disobeying God...which he did.

   That one act of disobedience ushered the destructive presence of sin into a pristine creation and brought about the fall of the entire human race.

   The tree was only the beginning. After THE FALL, even though God never created another point of contact and prevented access to the Garden where the Tree of Life and the first point of contact with evil stood, Satan and his Fallen Ones set about creating many more points of contact (covenantal symbols, images, rituals, religions, etc.), which they still use today, to gain and retain access to individuals and their descendants, entire cultures, and nations. There is a reason we see the same symbols being used across centuries and continents among unrelated peoples. It is because the source of these symbols are the same beings who witnessed the success of the first point of contact in the Garden of Eden.

      What Satan did not know, was that this also set into motion an ancient plan to annihilate all evil, using the same weakness in humanity that he had so easily overthrown in the Garden of Eden (1 Corinthians 1:27, 2:8).

   A side note to parents about firsthand knowledge of both good and evil: Allowing our children to be exposed to the bad as well as the good in order for them to be “properly prepared” for life is not God’s way. Yahweh Elohiym—the first parent—sheltered his children from first-hand knowledge of evil. His Word is filled with warnings to protect our spirits from evil by limiting only to good the things we see, hear, say, and participate in.

   God’s way was, and still is, for his children to flee from all that is evil and to pursue only the good.

   If mature adults are warned to flee from evil, how can we possibly expect any good to come from deliberately allowing our children to be exposed to evil in order to “educate” and “prepare” them?

   According to the Word of God, we cannot shelter our children from sin too much (1 Corinthians 6:18; 10:14; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22). 

   God gave the first couple all the education they needed to know about sin by warning them against eating from The Tree. He did not explain the details of that one command—only the consequence of disobeying it. That was all the knowledge they needed to remain under God’s protection.

   For sin to harm them, they had to experience it. They gained devastating first-hand knowledge of that fact, the moment they stretched forth their hands in rebellion against God.

   The tree was not there to trick or trap them. It was part of God’s plan from before the foundation of the earth to overthrow evil without withholding free will from his creation. The first man and woman were given unabridged freedom of choice. They could have chosen to stay safe forever. 

   The tree was a protection, not a test.

   Had it not been there, the serpent would have still been there. He would have carried out his devastating agenda, without the restriction of only one point of contact preventing him from gaining access to the innocent couple.

   Yahweh Elohiym had provided a perfect safeguard against acquiring the devastating knowledge of good and evil. All the first couple had to do was obey one restrictive command, and all would have been well, but they did not.

   And God knew, from before the foundation of the earth, that they would not.

   It is certain that this was all part of an even bigger plan to conquer evil once and for all (read more about this in my book, REDEMPTION: Bible Prophecy Simplified).

   Because of disobedience, the first woman and man lost the privilege of constant access to the presence and power of their Creator, who alone creates and sustains life (Genesis 3:22-24).

   Because of this, the first humans and all their descendants were in desperate need of a Redeemer, someone to pay the ransom and rescue them—save them—from the terrible destruction meant only for Satan and his angels (Mathew 25:41).

   Jesus came to give life—both in this present age and in the ages to come. Jesus said there was no other way to have life except through him (John 10:10; 3:16; John 14:6; Acts 4:10-12) We need only to believe in Jesus Christ and to call on God to save us through faith in his Risen Son, and he will give us Eternal Life (Romans 10:9-10, 13).

   When we believe that Jesus is our Redeemer, sincerely repent of our sins, and call upon God to forgive and save us through faith in his shed blood, we can have assurance right now that we possess life—which is scripturally defined as having constant and eternal access to the presence and power of God, both now and in the ages to come (2 Thessalonians 1:9; Hebrews 4:15-16; 1 John 5:12-13; John 1:12).

   Why wait another moment to have that assurance?

   If you do not have it, talk to God about it right now. Tell him you are sorry for your sins and want forgiveness and eternal life through faith in Jesus, the Messiah.

   When you come to God on these terms, he promises he will hear and answer (Romans 10:9-10, 13).

  This article is an excerpt from the book, REDEMPTION: Bible Prophecy Simplified.

Chapter Review

1.      From what are the ungodly being destroyed from, in 2 Thessalonians 1:9?

2.      In Ezekiel 28:16, from what was the covering cherub destroyed?

3.      What lie did the serpent tell Ishshâw, in Genesis 3:4-5?

4.      What is the definition of “Redeemer?”

5.      When was the atonement completed (John 19:30)?

6.   What is another name for the place Jesus spoke of, that was beautiful enough to be called Paradise but was not Heaven (Luke 16:22-25; Ezekiel 31:16; Job 14:13)?

7.      What is the scriptural definition of death (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9)?

8.      Is there any other way to have life except through Jesus (John 10:10; 3:16; John 14:6; Acts 4:10-12)?

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