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The tree of life/tree of knowledge of good and evil

May 15, 2015
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So I have a few questions that came to mind as I read Genesis.
1. is the tree of life and the tree of knowledge 2 separate "trees"?
2. Are they really trees or metaphors that represent something?
3. Why did God place the "tree" in the garden if he knew eating from it could cause such harm and would affect generations to come?

4. Does anyone one know where i can find the most original holy text (maybe a particular Torah, particular bible translation). I ask as i have a yearning to learn and I have a lot of questions i'd like some answers to :). This is no way affects my faith in God....I just like to learn..:D
 

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Please check your PM inbox for some reference materials that the forum has in it's database. There are some references in the study link that may answer your question. The study that is being provided to you is non denominational, generic and is translated from the Ancient Hebrew scriptures.

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Jan 3, 2015
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So I have a few questions that came to mind as I read Genesis.
1. is the tree of life and the tree of knowledge 2 separate "trees"?
2. Are they really trees or metaphors that represent something?
3. Why did God place the "tree" in the garden if he knew eating from it could cause such harm and would affect generations to come?

4. Does anyone one know where i can find the most original holy text (maybe a particular Torah, particular bible translation). I ask as i have a yearning to learn and I have a lot of questions i'd like some answers to :). This is no way affects my faith in God....I just like to learn..:D
The tree of life is the Word. Jesus said that we must eat his flesh and drink his blood. The Word must be a part of us 'born again'.
3. God being eternal knows all things. He has attributes that are being displayed such as creator, savior etc.
Everything is under His control and will work out to His glory.
 

bobinfaith

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3. Why did God place the "tree" in the garden if he knew eating from it could cause such harm and would affect generations to come?
The tree of life is the Word. Jesus said that we must eat his flesh and drink his blood. The Word must be a part of us 'born again'. 3. God being eternal knows all things. He has attributes that are being displayed such as creator, savior etc. Everything is under His control and will work out to His glory.
Hello Phoenix111;

This is a good question. Many believers who have studied the passage you share think about this all the time because of "the choices we make."

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is an example of the unlimited things that God places, or does that we don't understand. Because God's ways are so much higher, He wants us to be obedient but also trust Him. The outcome of all that God does is for His glory.

God entrusted Adam with His delegation but didn't want to be a dictator to his servant, but give him the choice to choose. Many instances like the The tree of the knowledge of good and evil have led all of us us through consequences that impact the lives of ourselves and others. Had God forced Adam, then his obedience would have been shallow.

Good post, 2404, regarding the tree of life. The Word, partaking in His flesh and blood and born again all lead to Eternal life with God.

The trees are not metaphoric, but real and symbolic, representative of the blessings for obedience and sad consequences for disobedience.

God bless you, Phoenix111, and your family.
 
Sep 3, 2009
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So I have a few questions that came to mind as I read Genesis.
  1. is the tree of life and the tree of knowledge 2 separate "trees"?
  2. Are they really trees or metaphors that represent something?
  3. Why did God place the "tree" in the garden if he knew eating from it could cause such harm and would affect generations to come?
4. Does anyone one know where i can find the most original holy text (maybe a particular Torah, particular bible translation). I ask as i have a yearning to learn and I have a lot of questions i'd like some answers to :). This is no way affects my faith in God....I just like to learn..:D
1). I would say two distinct trees.

2). Literal.

3). The answer is fairly straight forward. God created man after his own image. One of the things that this implies is that man is given a free choice to decide whether to obey God or not. If man is to be free to make a choice, then there must be something to choose between. Without the existence of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, then no choice would have existed for Adam. But notice that something else must also exist for Adam to be able to chose to follow God or to disobey Him. God had to give him a law. Without a law, no choice can exist. Right and wrong always exists, but unless we are made aware of the choice through a law, we cannot be held responsible for keeping or breaking the law.

Paul expounds on this in Romans 5:10-15. What we call sin then is when a law of God is broken as seen in 1 John 3:4. (
 
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Mar 12, 2019
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So I have a few questions that came to mind as I read Genesis.
  1. is the tree of life and the tree of knowledge 2 separate "trees"?
  2. Are they really trees or metaphors that represent something?
  3. Why did God place the "tree" in the garden if he knew eating from it could cause such harm and would affect generations to come?
4. Does anyone one know where i can find the most original holy text (maybe a particular Torah, particular bible translation). I ask as i have a yearning to learn and I have a lot of questions i'd like some answers to :). This is no way affects my faith in God....I just like to learn..:D
Perhaps this will help you understand the reason for the tree of Knowledge.

By oldhermit

How do these two trees help us to understand the triadic nature of reality?

As we move from creation to the garden, there develops an emerging discontinuity between man and his association with forbidden things. When man is unconstrained by revelation, he quite naturally draws conclusions based upon how he relates to the world around him. Man allows what he experiences to influence how he defines what is relevant. Once man learns to link the natural to the eternal, he learns to represent human events in quite a different way. One cannot build a triadic picture of reality based upon experiential logic. Human rationalization, operating on its own, cannot properly context the relationship of man to the natural world. Building a triadic picture of reality is only possible when one learns to represent human experience in the light of revelation. To do this, one must allow revelation to transcend experiential logic.

There is an example of triadic structure that demonstrates how the natural world and the supernatural world relate to one another in the eternal continuum. At the beginning of man’s history in the garden, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil were mentioned in the context of man’s relationship both to God and to the natural world. The text never seems to indicate that in the beginning there was any prohibition to the tree of life but, that man was only denied access to the tree of knowledge. It was not until after the fall of man that God placed an angel with a flaming sword at the east of the garden to prohibit man’s access to the tree of life.

The way in which Adam chose to represent these trees would reflect his understanding of his association with both God and the natural world. As the narrative unfolds, it becomes clear that access to the tree of life was predicated upon man’s observance of the divine prohibition of the other. Man was to have absolutely no contact with the tree of knowledge. God had provided every tree of the garden for man’s use and pleasure, but this tree was to be left strictly alone. These two trees stand as symbols of a world beyond man’s sensory existence. The tree of forbidden knowledge represents the holiness, the superiority, and the sovereignty of God. It suggests that God always reserves unto Himself the things that belong exclusively to him. It is not merely the tree that has exclusivity, but what that tree represents. As a whole, man is never content to abide by prohibitions. Here, he desires the one thing he is denied. How characteristic this has proven to be of human nature!

Although man was given the highest place of honor as the crowning creation of God, and given dominion over all creation, this tree was a reminder that even man is not God. Man must stand in the index position of this triad and link the tree of knowledge that he can see to the will of God whom he cannot see. He must also link this tree to revealed consequences that he cannot see and has never before experienced. For man to properly relate to both worlds, he must learn to link the eternal world to his world by bringing God’s warning to bear upon his relationship to this tree. He must learn how to define the nature of his relationship to this tree based on what God had told him about it. Now, this epistemology did not just apply to this tree, it extended to everything in man’s dominion. He must understand his relationship to all of his domain based upon this triadic epistemology. God had already defined man’s function in creation and man must relate to his world according to the words of the Lord.

From the beginning, man was confronted with a decision in his association with this icon of good and evil. This tree was a symbol of an unseen reality. There is a particular type of knowledge that man was not equipped to handle and should not seek to obtain. The accessibility of the tree shows that man was given the ability to obtain this knowledge. The prohibition laid down by God says that this knowledge is destructive to man. This reinforces man’s position as a subordinate creature to what is unseen. God had said, “From this tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shalt not eat of it; for in the day that you eat from it, you shall surely die.” Here is a divine standard given to instruct man on how to think when he considers this tree. Since God has decreed that punishment will follow disobedience, the validity of God’s word is upheld. Divine judgment preserves divine justice because it is through the exercise of justice that God protects his holiness. Observance of this revelation becomes a matter of life and death. The ethics were simple; God said, “Don’t touch it.” This did not require a human analysis of ethics to decide what might be the right thing to do. Contact with the tree was evil both because God said it was evil, and because of what man would suffer as a result.

We know, because of how this tree is interpreted by the physical senses in the text, that man, left on his own, could not arrive at this conclusion. Adam could not see what the tree represented from mere empirical observation. He could only see the physical dynamics of the tree. For the rest, he must rely upon what God had told him about the tree. Man requires instruction from God to protect him from that which he has no point of reference to understand. As the Creator, God understood things about the nature of man and his relationship to his environment that man did not know and was not created to know. Man was not endowed with the capacity to distinguish between good knowledge and evil knowledge. This truth has not changed. The knowledge provided by this tree was not a necessary component for man to fulfill his role within his assigned environment.

The environment of the garden supplied every conceivable human need. He was even given access to the tree of life. The garden was a secure environment where man had no experience with fear, shame, and disgrace. These were yet unknown elements. It was an aesthetic environment where God controlled access to knowledge. There were certain things that man knew by design, but the prohibition of the tree says that there were those things which man should never want to know or seek to know.

In the garden, man enjoyed the presence of God and the full awareness of God. God knew that through disobedience man would be exiled from this controlled and protected environment and from his fellowship with God. By violating God’s prohibition, man challenged the sovereignty of God. Man does not have the authority to mandate a standard of moral conduct. The text of Genesis shows us that this level of knowledge belongs exclusively to God. Because man chose to behave sinfully, he is now confronted with a new reality. Adam is now aware of a particular type of knowledge that will forever change the way mankind represents the relationship he has with the natural world and with his God. It also laid a foundation by which humanity would forever be forced to choose between these two epistemologies. Should we represent reality based on revelation from God or should we rely on those things learned from pragmatic experiences? Which one will we depend upon to tell us the truth about what is relevant?

Now, man has access to the knowledge of good and evil. This presents two problems: First, man does not know the difference between good and evil and secondly, history shows us that when man is left to his own, he will more often than not choose the evil to his own destruction, even when revelation is present. In Genesis 6:5, we see that by the time Noah comes on the scene, “every imagination of the thoughts of the heart is only evil continually,” (RSV). The fact that revelation was available to that generation is evident in the character of Noah. God regarded Noah as “righteous in his generation.” Righteousness is the result of submitting one’s self to revealed constraints. This deterioration of a divinely established ethic shows a complete reversal of a revealed epistemology. This is what happens when the mind of man becomes isolated from the revelation of God. This isolation was willful, deliberate, and fatal. When man is left to himself without a desire for revealed knowledge, he is characteristically self-destructive. If man is to survive spiritually in a cursed environment, it will require a standard that will enable him to represent properly his assigned place within creation.

When Satan approached Eve in the garden, he confronts her about the tree of knowledge. Eve rehearsed the commandment that God had given to them about this tree saying, “from the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat, but of the tree that is in the midst of the garden you may not eat from it or touch it lest you die.” This represents a revealed language structure about certain truths concerning this tree that she could not know any other way. Satan then introduced a new way of thinking about what is true. He portrays this revealed grammar as unreliable and not to be trusted. “You shall not surely die for God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God knowing good and evil.” The idea obviously appealed to Eve but the force of the temptation was more than just a desire to be like God. This new way of representing truth offered a means by which control could be shifted from God to man.

She relies upon an unrevealed method for making decisions. Rather than consulting God and relying upon revelation which, by her own admission she understood, she relies instead upon her five senses operating in this natural world to formulate her epistemological base. She “rationalizes” why it would be acceptable to eat that which had been forbidden. This reveals a distorted ethic in the misappropriation of things that belong to God. She contemplated stealing that which belonged to God and then attempted to justify the rightness of it in her own mind.

The serpent's temptation was two-fold based upon the decision matrix of the woman. This would imply that Satan understood something of the psychology of the woman and he capitalizes on her naiveté. Experientially, Eve knows nothing of Satan, temptation, evil, craftiness, the pain of disobedience, or death. The serpent creates doubt in her mind about the motives, character, and purpose of God. He accused God of lying and planted the seed of evil ambition. “God knows that in the day you eat of it you will become like God.” The reality was that she was already like God. Satan creates suspicion in the mind of the woman by implying that God is deliberately withholding something from her that is both desirable and beneficial. It implies that, 1) man is just as good as God is, 2) God is unjust in this prohibition, and 3) man has the right to be God. This is a challenge of God’s sovereignty. At the heart of this, is the question of who has the right to be in control? Who has the right to decide what is best for man? A worldly epistemology says that man has the wisdom to decide what is best for him. A revealed epistemology says that God not only knows what is best, he is also able to supply it.

The serpent then makes an appeal to the empirical and aesthetic observation. Eve saw that the fruit was good for food and was pleasing to the eye. He also appeals to the subjective impulse; it was desirable to make one wise, which the text defines as knowing good from evil. Where then was the sin? The sin was allowing human logic and rationalization to overrule the revelation of God. This is a propensity of humanly derived standards of ethics. The decision was made by appealing to an uninspired epistemology rather than to the words of the Lord. Human logic and rationalization are not valid determinants for deciding what is right or wrong. God said, “Don’t touch it.” This alone determines what is right or wrong.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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Good answers you asked an interesting question with 3. Why did God place this certain tree in the garden.
The one that had fruit that couldnt be eaten. Well I dont know if youve ever planted a garden but in many gardens there arent just food bearing plants but some poisonous one as well that you cant eat from, yet they can be used for other purposes, some of which is medicinal.

Some of them would be poisionous if you actually ingested them but it could be their leaves and bark can be used topically.
I wil, give you an example, its not a tree, but a common plant the sweet pea. It has lovely flowers right? But you cant actually eat sweet peas! They are poisonous. They are not like the edible garden peas.
I wouldnt eat sweet peas, not that you would necessarily die from the moment you ate them but it wouldnt be good for you, tastes bad, and of course wouldnt be as nice as a garden pea to eat.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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That tree, though you couldnt have eaten its fruit, maybe it provided shade or sustenance for the other plants in the garden.

Another example. Monarch butterflies. The caterpillers are poisonous to birds. Thats why they dont eat them! But arent the butterlfies beautiful. So you dont know what Gods purpose may have been. Obviosuly to Eve she saw the fruit LOOKED good. So maybe the tree was for decorative purposes!
 
Mar 12, 2019
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I really do not think that is it because verse 6 says, "the woman saw that the tree was good for food." The fruit of that tree was not dangerous because it was toxic. It was dangerous be cause God said "Don't touch it."
 

aha

Nov 18, 2011
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Perhaps this will help you understand the reason for the tree of Knowledge.
Amen and thanks!

it is very interesting and I learned a lot on the hermeneutics of the “Tree of Knowledge".

My background is more on numbers and business terms (Accounting) , but I don’t know why, we have few subjects in Philosophy 101, that I love Philosophy and Logic (to a certain limit where my mind can absorb it :) .... maybe because Philosophy tries to explain in human terms (compared to Divine Revelation)

I entirely agree on the post (or I should say except as below :)

But one thing, just thinking: I would say it is a proposal(?): Eve is Naïve (?).

Am not sure how the “naïvete” is defined. is it defined in the context of the next sentence "Experientially, Eve knows nothing of Satan, temptation, evil, craftiness, the pain of disobedience, or death"

If it is define as lack of experience, ie: intelligence. Intelligence is insight, understanding or I would say: Prophesy: : it knows experience in advance: my proposal is Eve (and of course Adam) is the most intelligent human beings.

"They know the pain of disobedience" : this is an assumption: in the same manner that the post proposed an assumption that "they do not know the pain of disobedience"..

Thus, I think the dissertation can be more interesting: ie: more revelation can be seen if that is taken: they know...

My thinking: they know God always provides.