The story of Adam and Eve at the tree of knowledge of good and evil is arguably the most popular Bible story of all. It explains the origin of man and sin according to the Judeo-Christian-Islamic faiths. Nonreligious people generally give a mental assent to it and even science traces all human DNA to a single man referred to as Adam.
I do however want to draw your attention not to Adam, but to the trees in the garden. I want to focus on how they got there and what they were doing there to begin with.
Different types of plants
And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. – Genesis 2:8-9
Reading through this passage, it seems apparent that God planted everything in the Garden of Eden. However, this passage is showing two different groups of plants. The first group is the garden that God planted. And the other group are the trees that God made to spring out of the ground. Interestingly, the Bible now focuses our attention to two important trees that were growing in the midst of the garden. Among all the trees in the garden, only two occupied the strategic position at the center of the garden. They take centerfold in determining the destiny of mankind.
A garden on earth
The garden is home to different plants, trees, animals and birds just as this world is home to us all. There is a shroud of mystery surrounding the exact physical location of the garden of Eden today. Regardless, it also typifies humanity and his end. In this world, we have many blessings given from God, but we must also make one of two choices.
There are only two trees in the center of the garden
The garden of Eden had all kinds of fruit bearing trees from which Adam could eat. However, there were only two special trees in the center of it. Access to all the other trees is dependent on which of these two trees Adam ate from. If he chose the tree of life, the fruit of the other trees would be food for him. He would live in a perpetually innocent environment for his entire existence. Should he choose the tree of knowledge of good and evil, his eternal future became vastly different. He would have to spend eternity with the carnal knowledge he has acquired from the tree. But he is also condemned to a life without God and His blessings forever.
There are only two choices before every man.
The choice of life or death is one we unconsciously make every day of our lives. From the choice of food we eat to where and when we cross the road on our street. We however often consciously put aside the decision on where to spend eternity. We can spend it with God, or with Lucifer. If the Lord tarries, death is an appointment that we all must keep. After that, there is a judgment that we will face to determine our eternal destination. This destination is based on which path we choose in this life, so choose carefully. Shun Lucifer and choose God Almighty. Shun the tree of knowledge, but choose the tree of life.
A blessing and a Curse
Deuteronomy 11:26-28 (also Deuteronomy 30:15) describes a scenario of the children of Israel at the mount of God. They had to decide to obey God or not. Obedience leads to a blessing, and a full life. Disobedience is quickly followed by a curse and eternal death. Blessings and curses are not two equal and opposite entities. A curse is merely the absence of a blessing just like darkness is purely the absence of light. . It is very much like the choice of trees that Adam and Eve faced in the garden of Eden. They could have eaten from the tree of life, but they chose not to (Genesis 3:22). They picked the only other choice; the tree of knowledge.
God does not tempt any man
I often hear people erroneously say that God put the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden to tempt Adam. I disagree; James 1:13 says that God does not tempt any man. Adam was a man, so God could not have put a tree in the garden to tempt him.
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man. – James 1:13
If God didn’t use the knowledge tree to tempt Adam, why was it there? I do think the tree was to tempt Adam, but I believe Lucifer put it there, not God. In the next few sections, I hope to present my argument on this issue.
God does not create evil
With the little we know of God, we are aware that he does not give us bad gifts or rotten apples. This is evident in the passages below.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. – James 1:17
The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it. Proverbs 10:22
For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them……. – Luke 9:56
God never gives us presents, gifts or blessings that results in a sorrowful life and destruction. His gifts are always perfect for us, because He knows every detail about us. If God planted the tree of knowledge, it would have been a good tree like all His other creations.
What is the tree of knowledge of good and evil?
Eating from the tree took away the Glory of God covering Adam and Eve. It took away their innocence and replaced it with fear. Partaking of the fruit of the tree of knowledge turned man from immortals to mortals. It took away our life and gave us death. The earth became filled with chaos and confusion; all harmony was lost. Lucifer (serpent) now possessed all the authority and dominion that originally belonged to Adam. The king on earth became a slave while a lowly creature became the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). In summary, all that had been given to man was killed, stolen and destroyed by the tree of knowledge (John 10:10). How could God have planted such a tree in the garden?
God could not have planted the tree of knowledge of good and evil
We see in Genesis 2:16-17 how God commands Adam not to eat of the tree of knowledge because it would kill him. If the tree was not there for food like other trees, what then was its purpose? Every other tree was for food, but the tree of knowledge was just for decoration? That doesn’t sound right, something must have been terribly wrong with the tree. I believe the problem was that Lucifer had found a way to plant the tree of knowledge just like he did the tares (Mathew 13). The fruit of the tree of knowledge is a reflection of the one from whom it came. It looked divine on the outside, but inside, it was full of death. Eating its fruit brought pain, sorrow and death into the world. These are all traits of Lucifer, not of God.
God merely allowed the trees to grow
I found it fascinating that the Bible described two different approaches that God had regarding the garden (Genesis 2:8-9). There is the first part where he actively planted things himself. Then there is a second part where he just allowed things to grow. I believe that in between these two stages, Lucifer crept in and planted stuff among God’s seeds. If that sounds far fetched to you, consider the parable of wheat and tares in Matthew 13:24-30 and its interpretation in verses 37-42. If the devil could sow tares among the wheat, why can’t he sow a tree of knowledge beside the tree of Life? Note in this passage in Mathew 13 that the householder allowed both crops to grow together just like the trees in Eden (Genesis 2:9).
The tree of Knowledge was unclean
God commanded Adam and Eve not to touch or go near the tree of knowledge (Book of Adam and Eve chapter 34).
But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye TOUCH it, lest ye die. – Genesis 3:3
Now that is very interesting, I have read commentaries that stated that Eve was just exaggerating when she said this. I believe however that this was a real command given because God considered the tree to be defiled. Now why would I jump to that conclusion? Consider these passages below.
Or if a soul touch any unclean thing, whether it be a carcase of an unclean beast, or a carcase of unclean cattle, or the carcase of unclean creeping things, and if it be hidden from him; he also shall be unclean, and guilty. – Leviticus 5:2
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and TOUCH not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. – 2 Corinthians 6:17
The only thing in this world that God forbids us to touch is an unclean thing; everything else is a blessing for us to enjoy. Touching an unclean thing makes us guilty; the very reason Adam and Eve went to hide (Genesis 3:10).
Satan pollutes all things making them unclean
Everything in the world is pure until it comes in contact with Lucifer. He is the contaminant that pollutes all things.
And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. – Revelation 16:13-14
This passage describes the earth before the battle of Armageddon. I am quoting it to highlight the part that show that uncleanness comes through the spirits of devils (demons). Whatever these unclean spirits touch becomes unclean also (Leviticus 5:2). The reason the tree of knowledge was unclean was because it was Lucifer’s plant.
Lucifer was in the garden
Perhaps you are wondering how Lucifer had enough time in the garden to plant a tree. According to Ezekiel 28:13 the anointed Cherub used to live in the garden of Eden.
Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. – Ezekiel 28:13-14
He was probably the caretaker before Adam; the initial lord of the garden. When he sinned and became polluted, he was driven out and Adam put in his place. It’s no wonder he is angry and full of hate for man.
The serpent had unlimited access to the tree of knowledge
The only place that God did not visit was the tree of knowledge because it was unclean. Since God did not go there, the serpent had unlimited access to it. That is the reason why he had an extended and uninterrupted discussion with Eve. He might have been stalking the tree for a while waiting for the woman to come close enough. Note that God never questions the serpent’s authority to do what he did, He (God) just judged him (serpent) for his act. The serpent’s authority was not questioned because it had a right to be there! It was Lucifer’s tree.
Devils loiter around desolate (unclean) places
It is no secret that we stay around places where we are comfortable. Noah’s raven did not return to the ark because it was more comfortable with the dead rather than the living (Genesis 8:7). The dove however returned to the ark on two occasions rather than staying in a dead world (Genesis 8:8-12). They both stayed within their comfort zones.
Christ describes how a devil cast out of its home goes into dry places hopelessly seeking rest (Luke 11:24-26). He returns to his previous legal residence and if allowed to, he recruits stronger spirits to help secure it. The lesson here is that unclean spirits can’t stay anywhere without a legal authorization. That is why the serpent was at the tree of knowledge, not at the tree of life. Even now, we are to submit to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from us (James 4:7). We are not to give him permission for anything.
Lucifer planted the tree of knowledge
We have seen how the tree of knowledge is unclean and able to steal, kill and destroy. We have also seen how the tree adds sorrow to man and brings him under a curse. Knowing that God does not create evil or tempt anyone, it is Logical to infer that He did not plant this tree. The only other alternative is that Lucifer planted the tree of knowledge of good and evil. He is the thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).
God often uses trees to represent men
An interesting biblical concept is how God sees men as trees. Christ talks about the unfruitful tree being cut off (Matthew 3:10), and about us being the branches and He the vine (John 15:5). Isaiah 5:1-7 describes Israel as a vineyard and the people of Judah as God’s planting. Psalm 1:1-6 depicts a righteous man as a fruitful tree planted by the rivers of water. So perhaps the choice in the garden was also a choice between two people, two different ways of life.
The tree in pagan religions
The significance of trees in ancient eastern religions is not lost on students of the Bible. We see hieroglyphs of Egypt and Babylon showing Pharaoh and Nimrod holding trees. Jeremiah 10:1-5 talks about a pagan practice of cutting a tree, fixing it so it doesn’t move and then decorating it with silver and gold. The tree had obvious spiritual meaning to practitioners of these religions. It is interesting that we fix and decorate Christmas trees on the 25th of December every year. This specific day corresponds to the pagan worship of the birth of the sun god. More interesting is the fact that we pull gifts out from under the tree every year. What a coincidence. It bears a very uncomfortable resemblance to the tree of knowledge.
Two trees in the world today
Our world today is like a garden planted by God. As in the days of Adam, there are two trees in the center of our world. Everything in this world revolves around these trees. These trees are two people; the resurrected Messiah Yahoshua (Jesus) and the expelled rebel Lucifer (Satan). As in the Garden of Eden, we must choose between them; we can’t have both. If we choose Yahoshua, then we must depart from iniquity and not partake of the tree of knowledge. If we choose Lucifer, then the tree of life is forever lost to us. Let us therefore choose wisely.
The tree of Knowledge in the 21st century
Both trees in the garden center existed in the physical, but they also explain a deeper philosophy relevant to our times. In the garden, partaking of the tree of knowledge ensured that Adam was denied access to the tree of life. Joining to Lucifer brings a type of knowledge that leads to death in the lake of fire. Is it possible that there is a knowledge that we partake of today that will bring us to death? Perhaps this is the reason why religion is frowned upon by scientists and the elites. It is no secret that finding a faithful Christian in top scientific circles is immensely difficult. Numerous Christian scientists have even claimed that they lost their job because of their faith.
Many scientists deceptively claim that science shows that God does not exist. As of today, there is no scientific evidence that disproves God. The theories of evolution and the big bang when closely studied do not really explain the beginning. For example, the big bang explains a big explosion from gases in space to create the universe. It does not explain how the gases or the expanding empty space got there in the first place. Evolution explains how particles became cells and evolved into higher organisms. It does not explain how the elements came to be in the first place.
To compensate for this void, some have even proposed that life was transplanted on this planet by distant meteors. Needless to say that no one can explain where the meteors or the early life form originated from. Agreed, we do not know the origins of God either. But unlike science, the Bible does not claim to know. If this is the basis of calling religion foolish, science really has not answered the same questions. It only helps us to understand the process through which the things that we know happened.
The eternal fate of the trees
In the book of Revelation, we read about the overcomers who are granted the right to eat from the tree of life (Revelation 2:7 and 22:14). We also know that the tree of life will be in the center of the New Jerusalem. We however read nothing about the tree of knowledge of good and evil. If it is not in the New Jerusalem, nor in the presence of God, there is only one place left for it. I think it will be tossed into the lake of fire along with Lucifer and all his works. Revelation 22 also describes how two trees stand one on either side of the river of life that proceeds from the throne of God. They were not a copy of each of the Eden trees, but two copies of the tree of life.
The tree of knowledge will not exist in eternity
We only read about the tree of life in the book of Revelation. There is no mention of the tree of knowledge. I believe that the tree of knowledge will be uprooted and cast into the fire just like the tares in Matthew 13 (see Ezekiel 31:16-18). This theory is used by some commentaries to conclude that man will return to the pre-fall innocence he had in the garden.
God does not tempt any man so he could not have planted the tree of knowledge in Eden for this purpose. I believe based on the biblical references in this article that Lucifer planted it there to make man stumble. The tree was a device of the evil one and like its maker, it will end up in the lake of fire. This might explain why the tree is not present in the New Jerusalem at the end of the ages. In its stead, a second tree of life replaces it by the river of life.
You may like these posts