What was "the tree of the knowledge of good and bad"?

By taking of the fruit of "the tree of the knowledge of good and bad," Adam and Eve expressed their rebellion. The Creator, as Universal Sovereign, was acting wholly within his right in making the law regarding the tree, for Adam, being a created person, and not sovereign, had limitations, and he needed to acknowledge this fact. For universal peace and harmony, it would devolve upon all reasoning creatures to acknowledge and support the Creator’s sovereignty. Adam would demonstrate his recognition of this fact by refraining from eating the fruit of that tree. As father-to-be of an earth full of people, he must prove obedient and loyal, even in the smallest thing. The principle involved was: "The person faithful in what is least is faithful also in much, and the person unrighteous in what is least is unrighteous also in much." (Lu 16:10) Adam had the capability for such perfect obedience. There was evidently nothing bad intrinsically in the fruit of the tree itself. (The thing forbidden was not sex relations, for God had commanded the pair to "fill the earth." [Ge 1:28] It was the fruit of an actual tree, as the Bible says.) What was represented by the tree is well expressed in a footnote on Genesis 2:17, in The Jerusalem Bible (1966):

"This knowledge is a privilege which God reserves to himself and which man, by sinning, is to lay hands on, 3:522. Hence it does not mean omniscience, which fallen man does not possess; nor is it moral discrimination, for unfallen man already had it and God could not refuse it to a rational being. It is the power of deciding for himself what is good and what is evil and of acting accordingly, a claim to complete moral independence by which man refuses to recognize his status as a created being. The first sin was an attack on God’s sovereignty, a sin of pride."















Bible Citations

it-2 p. 1011 Sovereignty

(Lu 16:10) The person faithful in what is least is faithful also in much, and the person unrighteous in what is least is unrighteous also in much.

(Ge 1:28) Further, God blessed them and God said to them: "Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving upon the earth."

(Ge 2:17) But as for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will positively die."

(Ge 3:5) For God knows that in the very day of YOUR eating from it YOUR eyes are bound to be opened and YOU are bound to be like God, KNOWING good and bad."

(Ge 3:22) And Jehovah God went on to say: "Here the man has become like one of us in knowing good and bad, and now in order that he may not put his hand out and actually take [fruit] also from the tree of life and eat and live to time indefinite,—"





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