1Now the serpent was the shrewdest of all the creatures the LORD God had made. “Really?” he asked the woman. “Did God really say you must not eat any of the fruit in the garden?”
2“Of course we may eat it,” the woman told him. 3“It’s only the fruit from the tree at the center of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God says we must not eat it or even touch it, or we will die.”
4“You won’t die!” the serpent hissed. 5“God knows that your eyes will be opened when you eat it. You will become just like God, knowing everything, both good and evil.”
6The woman was convinced. The fruit looked so fresh and delicious, and it would make her so wise! So she ate some of the fruit. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her. Then he ate it, too. 7At that moment, their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they strung fig leaves together around their hips to cover themselves. (Genesis 3:1-6)
Genesis 3 is a pivotal chapter in the overall narrative of the Bible. It’s the chapter that most people refer to as “The Fall”.
In this chapter, we see the devil, in the form of a serpent, questioning Eve about the forbidden fruit.
The first thing to note here is that the nature of this forbidden fruit is not described. This fruit is sometimes thought to be, or assumed to be an apple. For example, the Apple logo, according to culturecreature.com, is a symbol for knowledge. But nowhere in this text does it say or give any indication that the fruit is an apple. Therefore, to say that an apple is a biblical symbol of knowledge is a misrepresentation of the text.
The devil’s tactic is to get Eve to doubt God’s goodness; to see this restriction as an indication that God is somehow holding out on Adam and Eve. He does this by telling Eve that eating the fruit would not result in death, as God had said, but instead would result in their eyes being opened and knowing good and evil for themselves.
What Satan says is partially true. He often will wrap a lie up inside a partial truth so that we won’t recognize the lie.
The truth in the statement is that their eyes would be opened. They would recognize their condition…that they were naked.
The lie is that they would become like God, knowing everything. Of course they wouldn’t know everything and they wouldn’t know good and evil.
Have you ever wondered why God made this particular fruit forbidden? Was it just random chance or was there a reason that this particular fruit was off limits? Why was it a sin? Was it only sinful because God made it off limits or was it sinful for another reason?
I believe there is a deeper truth at play that accounts for why God forbade this particular fruit.
Eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was sinful because before this, Adam and Eve were completely dependent on God to know what was good and what was evil. Eating the fruit was desirous because, according to Satan, they would no longer need God to determine good and evil. They could determine good and evil for themselves. That was the lie.
God has designed us in such a way that He wants us to depend on Him for moral guidance. It is God who decides what is right and what is wrong. By following Him and trusting Him, we align ourselves with HIs moral code and values.
But the temptation of Adam and Eve, and the temptation we face every day, is to decide for ourselves what is right and what is wrong, thereby, forsaking God, and making ourselves god, at least as it relates to moral authority.
This scenario of people rejecting God and His moral values in favor of their own moral values has continued through history and is still alive today.
Every time we reject a biblical command or a moral standard as outlined in the Bible because we don’t like it, or because we think it’s no longer relevant to us or because we think God is being too restrictive, we are following Eve’s and Adam’s example of grabbing the fruit and taking a bite. It was sinful because it was an act of rejecting God’s role as the moral authority of the universe in favor of making oneself the moral authority. We still do this today and it is still sinful.
What modern examples come to mind of people rejecting God as the authority of good and evil in favor of their own ideas of what’s good and what’s evil?
In what ways are you tempted to reject God’s moral authority (as outlined in the Bible) in favor of your own preferred moral values?
What would need to change in terms of your views or lifestyle in order to completely align with God’s standards of good and evil?
If you are a person who has always thought of the forbidden fruit as an apple, why do you think you thought that when the text never says that it is an apple?
Photo by Gabriele Lässer on Unsplash