The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil
The temptation of the Tree of Knowledge
Many people repeat the mantra - why did God tempt Adam and Eve? Yet, these are the same people who balk at being controlled by a supposed supreme being, and walk away from the Bible shaking their heads in disgust. The question must then be asked, do you want a God that attaches strings on you and moves you around like a robot, or do you want a God who gives you not only free will, but also the confidence and respect that an autonomous and free person deserves? He gave us that respect. And it really isn't about respecting us, but recognizing that he made us like him, with the freedom and ability to make our own choices - wrong or right.
You see, God didn't just leave that tree there as the only tree on Earth. He made all kinds of trees, and plants and animals and rivers and streams for us to enjoy. He created paradise and perfection. And free will. And in order to have free will, he gave us the ability to exercise it. So on the entire Earth, filled with healing plants, peaceful animals and perfect weather and the Tree of Life, we humans decided to gravitate towards the one thing we were told we couldn't have. Yet there was no fence. Instead, the fence we broke was God's trust and confidence. We decided to not just walk but to run to the tree that we were forbidden to eat from.
And Satan was ready. Right at the beginning he was doing what he does best, waiting for an opportunity. He loves opportunities. It's the only way he can get anything done. That dragon was wrapped around the Tree of Knowledge, his beady little eyes glittering with lust for his first human victim.
Along came Eve. God's gift to Adam. Adam was a man and represented God in his relationship to man. Adam had a great role to play and a beautiful woman perfect in every way. Eve did not get the short end of the stick though. Adam may have been first, but the woman Eve had the incredible privilege and gift of being able to give birth to their children. This must have been God's way of balancing the scales. The father may love their children as much as the mother, but men will never know what it is like to have a life growing inside of them, to care for the child in the way only a woman can. That was a privilege reserved for women. I think then in this way we can begin to understand why God chose to punish Eve especially by giving her pain in childbirth. Pregnancy and mothering children is still beautiful, but we can never get away from the act that descended us into sin making it so that pain and grief are mixed in and a part of the whole experience.
That punishment was not meant to single out women only, but instead, as the human race and the Earth was changed by the first sin, both men and women suffered the loss of perfection and beauty and paradise. Humanity chose not only on that day, but over and over again, to do evil to God and each other. God did afflict Eve with a special punishment that's true, just as the Devil will receive a punishment far greater than those souls he tempts and choose to follow him into Hell. But still ever single person who chooses for evil and against God will suffer punishment, because ultimately the choice is ours.
The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was not put in the Garden of Eden maliciously by God to make us stumble, he put it there because he loved us enough to want us to have complete and total freedom to choose him. Without that tree, we would be nothing better than automatons, puppets and brainless monkeys parroting God. And for him, he wants thinking living breathing feeling people to want to draw closer to him, because they love him and because they recognize him as supreme and worthy of all glory. Without this, he could never be happy. And that tree is proof of his justice and love and willingness to let us make up our own minds. Without that terrible tree, we would never be totally free..
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