WHY WERE ADAM AND EVE FORBIDDEN TO EAT OF THE TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL?

GENESIS 2:7-17

7 And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

9 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.

10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.

11 The name of the first [is] Pison: that [is] it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where [there is] gold;

12 And the gold of that land [is] good: there [is] bdellium and the onyx stone.

13 And the name of the second river [is] Gihon: the same [is] it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.

14 And the name of the third river [is] Hiddekel: that [is] it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river [is] Euphrates.

15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

God put this commandment upon Adam and Eve to protect them from what He knew would happen if they ate of the tree. As long as they obeyed His command they would remain innocent, free from sin and Satan would have no power over them.

But like Satan, he had also given them a free will. He had told them not to eat of the tree, and as long as they obeyed Him, they would live in harmony with Him. And as far as they were concerned, that was that. God had spoken, He apparently had good reason for this commandment, and it was good enough for them.

Satan however, in consummate jealousy had decided to try to usurp God's place with this new creation. If he could get Man to disobey God and follow his will, Man would be subject to him, and he, Satan, could take God's place in the life of Man.

Satan also knew that God had placed Man over all of His creation, making him second only to Himself in the order of things. This enraged Satan to no end, to have someone as innocent and as fragile as Man be greater than he, Satan! So in order to deprive Man of God's blessing and protection, he had to get Man to disobey God, and sin as he did. Satan had already been judged and sentenced, and if God simply forgave Man and didn't punish him, he, Satan would demand that God forgive him and restore him to his former place in God's kingdom.

There is a fascinating bit of Scripture which I tend to label Satan's Temper Tantrum in the book of Job, in which a spirit appeared to one of Job's friends and spoke to him. And in these passages, I feel that Satan himself spoke to this man and revealed his thoughts in this matter. Eliphaz the Temanite in speaking to Job, says;

JOB 4:12-21

12 Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof.

13 In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men,

14 Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake.

15 Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up:

16 It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image [was] before mine eyes, [there was] silence, and I heard a voice, [saying],

17 Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?

18 Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly:

19 How much less [in] them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation [is] in the dust, [which] are crushed before the moth?

20 They are destroyed from morning to evening: they perish for ever without any regarding [it].

21 Doth not their excellency [which is] in them go away? they die, even without wisdom.

Note the phrasing here. "His angels he charged with folly". The angels who remained true to God serve Him out of love and devotion, while those who sided with Satan were given his sentence, namely being cast into the Lake of Fire by Jesus.

MATTHEW 25:41

41 Then shall he (Jesus) say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:"

Satan then begins to deride Man saying essentially, "God trusts no one, not even His angels. And if He considers ME to be unrighteous, what chance do YOU have? You are weak, and worth nothing. You die, and no one cares. You perish forever, and no one notices. Enjoy life while you can, because your 'greatness' will soon return to the dust."

Back to the main issue.

God had told Man that if He ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, he would die. Satan considered his options, and carefully studied the woman that God had created. And he soon knew she would be the one he would have to deceive first.

Eve was not formed yet when Adam named all of the animals. The fact that Adam not only named all of the animals but remembered their names indicates a mind of incredible power! Try remembering the names of thousands of species of animals!

But Satan knew that if he went to Adam and spoke through the serpent, Adam would immediately know something was wrong, because Adam knew the serpent couldn't speak. Eve however, didn't know any better. So he approached Eve through the serpent, and the first thing he did was question God's commandment. Scripture records;

GENESIS 3:1-5

1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

3 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.

4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

In a masterstroke of logic, Satan says that if she and Adam attain the knowledge of good and evil, they would be like God! And they wouldn't die if they ate of the tree! God was being selfish and keeping them from becoming gods too! (Note: Satan's sins were rebellion against God, disobedience, and desire to be God himself. Note some similarities here?)

Scripture then records;

GENESIS 3:6

6 And when the woman saw that the tree [was] good for food, and that it [was] pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make [one] wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

With that one act, Satan became Man's master. Man had chosen the word of Satan over the word of God, and Satan was able to usurp Man's mastery of the Earth. Even Jesus didn't dispute that fact when he was here on Earth. Scripture says;

LUKE 4:4-7

4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

5 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.

6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.

7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.

Adam had given the world and everyone in it to Satan when he fell. But at the resurrection, Jesus would take that mastery back.

GENESIS 3:7-10

7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they [were] naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where [art] thou?

10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I [was] naked; and I hid myself.

Now the lies of Satan became apparent. He had told the truth in saying that their eyes would be opened, and they now understood the difference between good and evil, and right and wrong just as God did. But what he didn't tell them was that they would now be responsible for their knowledge. And since they had willfully disobeyed God, they were now sinners as he was, and no longer innocent.

We consider babies and small children to be essentially sinless, because they have no knowledge as yet of right and wrong. But as soon as we tell them that some action is wrong, they are now responsible for that knowledge, and there is no more innocence in the matter.

Satan had also told a partial truth concerning death. They didn't die physically, at least not right away. However they immediately died spiritually. One of the results of their new-found knowledge was that they were no longer sinless before God. So, they tried to cover themselves and their sin by hiding, and creating clothes.

God knew immediately what had happened. He also knew exactly where Adam and Eve were hidden. But He wanted them to confess to Him what they had done, so He called them, asking where they were. And when they responded, he asked them directly about their disobedience.

GENESIS 3:11-13

11 And he said, Who told thee that thou [wast] naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest [to be] with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What [is] this [that] thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

Note that the first thing Adam did was try to shift the blame to his wife! He was trying to duck his responsibility for their disobedience! She gave it to me! It's HER fault! And yet he ate of the fruit of the tree as she did, knowing full well what he was doing.

God knew the terrible results of what they had done. He knew that sin and death would spread through all of His creation. He knew and felt the terrible suffering and destruction that would result from this single act of disobedience. We can't even begin to imagine the sorrow He must have felt, and still feels for us today.

Here we go again. Unable to face God's horrified cry, Eve tries to shift the blame on the serpent. He deceived me! It's his fault, not mine!

GENESIS 3:14-15

14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou [art] cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

God punishes both the serpent and Satan in this passage. He condemns the serpent to crawl for the rest of it's existence, and tells it that it shall eat of the dust of the ground all of it's days. (It is interesting to note that snakes have the remnants of leg bones, and they use their tongues to sample the environment they are in. Evolution? Hardly. God's curse!)

And He also tells the Satan through the serpent that a descendant of Eve would destroy him, but not without suffering himself in the process. This is the first mention of God's salvation plan for fallen Man.

God in His mercy knew that the serpent had been merely a pawn for Satan, therefore he punished the serpent as He did instead of destroying it, letting it continue to exist as a constant reminder to us of Adam's sin. Satan however had already been judged, and God foretold of the instrument of his destruction. More on this later.

Satan and the serpent being taken care of, God turned His attention to Eve.

GENESIS 3:16

16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire [shall be] to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

Eve's punishment is to be subject to her husband's authority, and she would bring forth children in sorrow. She would be cast out into a hostile world, and would see the results of sin which would be passed on to her descendants as a result of her disobedience.

And then it was Adam's turn.

GENESIS 3:17-19

17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed [is] the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat [of] it all the days of thy life;

18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return.

With this passage, God holds Adam responsible for the entire matter. Adam knew better! But because he willfully listened to his wife and disobeyed, the responsibility for the entire matter was laid on him, and the harshest judgement was reserved for him.

God even though angry still showed mercy, for instead of destroying Adam, He instead cursed all of creation for man's sake. Adam's descendants would live, but they would live in a cursed planet, and would work all of their days for their food until death overtook them, returning them to the dust from which they had been formed.

But God had still given man a hope of redemption, namely the promise of the One who would come that would free us from the curse of sin, Jesus Christ. And note: animals are sinless and were not to blame for what happened in the Garden of Eden. Yet they suffer just as we do. They grow old and die, are divided into prey and predator, etc. When God cursed His creation, he cursed everything BUT Man. Man would suffer and die because of the curse of sin that he had brought upon himself, but man also had an eternal spirit, something animals do not have. Man's spirit would live after death of the flesh, animals' spirits do not. When Man dies, he either goes to Heaven or hell. Animals simply cease to exist.

ECCLESIASTES 3:19-21

19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all [is] vanity.

20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.

21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?

Yet God in His mercy made a provision that Man should once again live forever as Adam was originally destined to do. But not in the flesh for the flesh was corrupted because of sin, but in the spirit, which God would redeem when He took His own curse and punishment on Himself through Jesus Christ at the cross. (For more on this subject, please see the study, "Why did Jesus have to die for our sins?")

The results of that original rebellion are still with us today. Look around you at the behavior of people, watch the news reports. Millions of people suffer and die all of the time, through war, famine, disease, murders, natural disasters, attacks by animals, etc. And yet Man still refuses to turn to God!

GENESIS 3:20-24

20 And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.

21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.

24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

God knew that if Adam was left in the Garden, he would also eat of the Tree of Life, and would live forever. As such, we would all be slaves under him, and this world would be a horror beyond imagination. So He drove them both out into a now hostile world to live out the rest of their days, and began to put His plan into motion for the redemption of mankind.

And as Scripture shows, in the greatest act of mercy and love ever known, Jesus Christ, God Himself, was born in the flesh as a man and willingly suffered our punishment for our sins, taking the full curse of sin upon Himself, freeing forever those who would believe in Him of the bondage of sin that Man had suffered under since Adam.

Note: He didn't take upon Himself the curse He placed on creation, but the curse of the sins of mankind. He freed us from the sentence given to Satan, namely being cast into the Lake of Fire, for through man's sinning as Satan did he also would be sentenced to receive Satan's punishment.

In summary, because of Adam's disobedience we are subject to sin, disease, aging and death, living and dying in a cursed world. But God, because of His deep and eternal love for mankind whom He had created, provided us a way to be free of the curse of sin, namely by sending His own Son, Jesus Christ to the cross for us to redeem us from the curse of sin.

Death spread to all creation and to all mankind because of Adam, even though you and I weren't there when he sinned. But because Adam sold all of us to Satan, we are subject to sin all of our lives, with all of it's consequences. Jesus Christ paid for our sins at the cross, and if we reject His redemption of us, we have therefore chosen to follow Satan into his punishment.

We are still responsible for the knowledge of good and evil we inherited from Adam, but we also inherited his rebellion which has distorted this knowledge. Therefore God gave us His Scriptures so that we would understand what is right and wrong in His eyes, and it is from these Scriptures that we will be judged on the Day of Judgement. Not by tradition, Magisterium (church authority), or any other man-made doctrine, but by God's word alone.

Remember, after death it's too late to repent! If you are still living in sin, and haven't asked Jesus Christ to be your Savior and Lord, do so now! Because after death, you have made your final choice. If you die in sin, you will be sent to Hell to await sentencing to the Lake of Fire along with your master, Satan.

And despite Catholic teachings, there is no Purgatory. You will go straight to Hell to await the sentence of eternal torment in the Lake of Fire. You will never make it to Heaven to be with Jesus. But if you repent of your sins, ask Jesus to be your Savior, and follow His commandments, He will cleanse your spirit of all sin and will grant you entrance to Heaven when you die.

It doesn't matter that we have to make a choice whether we like it or not. God and Satan are locked in a war for the souls of mankind, and like any war, you must choose sides whether you like it or not. And if you choose not to decide, you have made your decision already and will follow Satan to destruction. The outcome of the war has already been determined. Whom you will choose to serve has not.

God is perfect, and will not allow anyone who is imperfect to inherit His kingdom. We are ALL imperfect because of Adam, and as his descendants we are ALL under the curse of sin without exception, but through Jesus Christ we can be made perfect in Him after death if we choose to accept Him, and be obedient to Him. The choice is yours to make. Will it be eternal life in Heaven? Or eternal suffering in the Lake of Fire?

Questions? Comments? E-mail: watchmen_777@yahoo.com

Return to Main Menu

Return to Topic Page