Entry Level Theological Truth [13]


“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 2:16-17

People sometimes caricature the rift between Adam and Eve and their Creator as being a matter of stolen “apples.” Of course, this betrays an ignorance of the Scripture’s sophisticated narrative of the history of mankind’s progenitors. The tree was not an apple tree, but rather “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” What is more, people often criticize God for seemingly overreacting over this matter of man’s illicit appropriation of fruit.


I Dream Of Genie


In voicing objections like this, they show that they have missed the key point that the early chapters of Genesis make: God is the authority in the universe and His commands are to be loyally obeyed. Of course, people tend to view the world as existing for themselves. If they think of a higher power at all, they wrongfully assume that such a being exists for their blessing and benefit. They further believe that they can invoke the deity at any time to meet their needs and also their wants after the fashion of the mythical genie in the lamp.

In considering the command that God gave to Adam and Eve, it is worth noting that it is given in connection with God’s generosity toward man in view. The Lord had given them permission to “freely eat” of every tree of the garden, yet such divine largesse was received with man’s ingratitude – Adam and Eve wanted the one forbidden tree rather than rejoice in the many authorized trees. Such behavior is often seen from humans today as billions of them enjoy God’s providential goodness in using the resources of planet Earth for their own aggrandizement and good pleasure. So often, people receive God’s everyday blessings unthinkingly and never stop to thank Him for His exquisite kindness. As the prophet Daniel told the Eastern despot, King Belshazzar, “the God in whose hand your breath is, you’ve not honored” (Daniel 5:23.) Romans 1 puts it even more starkly: “because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21.)


Unthankfulness & Its Discontents


How many heartbeats have we enjoyed and never thought that each one is given to us by God? How many breaths have we taken without realizing that they are leant by a gracious Creator whose goodness ought to lead us to repentance?

In giving a command to abstain from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, God was not withholding something that would better mankind’s enjoyment of planet Earth. Instead, He was sovereignly reserving the right to have man seek the knowledge of what is good in the person of the Almighty Himself – the One whose character determines what is objectively good. God is the arbiter of truth and the source of morality. By contrast, evil is everything antithetical to the Creator. It is rebellion against His nature and will. Ultimately sin is disloyalty to our Maker. These monumental facts lend eternal weight to the command to not eat from the tree – it was a matter of obedience and loyalty to the Lord (the fruit was merely the prop in a greater moral drama.)


Biting The Hand That Feeds Us


The issues remain the same today. Men are quick to blame God for their problems, but slow to acknowledge His goodness towards them. If you have a friend, remember that it is God who invented friendship. He is the one who said, “it is not good for man to be alone.” Moreover, He is the one who wanted to walk with man as a friend in the garden. If you are part of a loving family, consider that it is God who offers the right to become a child in His family by faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:12.) If you have food to eat, remember that “…He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45.)

In short, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:27.) As the psalmist says: “Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men” (Psalms 107:8.)


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