As creation and Christianity are debated between believers and skeptics, two questions often arise. The first is why God put the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden, and the second is why eating of that tree carried the death penalty.
In the below-posted video, Pastor Leland Acker makes the point that to fully give Adam and Eve life, they had to have the choice, the free-will to decide whether to follow God or reject Him.
When God formed man from the dust of the ground, and man became a living soul, man was gifted with the highest form of life. Far beyond existing, man was given self-awareness, consciousness, the ability to reason, to create, to problem-solve, to dream, and to cultivate. God, having created man in His image, bestowed upon man many of His own divine attributes.
Creating man to be a living soul, God wanted him to have the fulness of life. In order for man to be able to reason, create, solve and dream, man would also have to be given the choice of whether to trust and obey the Lord. God so wanted us to have the fulness of life, God gave us the choice.
So, to create the opportunity for that choice, God placed the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the midst of the garden of Eden. While one may wonder why knowledge would be a bad thing, keep in mind that this knowledge is an experiential knowledge. By eating the fruit, man would not be suddenly indwelt with endless information, rather he would come to learn good and evil by experiencing both. This knowledge would be gained apart from God, without His help and leadership.
Pursuing knowledge in this way would amount to a complete rejection of God.
So, man had a choice. Trust that God is good and live forever in His presence, or doubt God’s goodness, overthrow His presence in man’s life, and strike out on his own. The former carried with it the promise of eternal blessing. The latter carried a risk of death and eternal judgment.
The serpent (a.k.a. Satan) tempted Adam and Eve with just that. In his speech to Eve in Genesis 3, Satan said, “You will not die. For God knows that in the day that you eat thereof, you will be as gods, knowing good and evil.”
Genesis 3:6 records the logic Adam and Eve used when deciding to eat the fruit. It says, “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.”
The logic was, “It’s good to eat, it looks good, and it will make us wise (as gods.)” They ate so they could experience the pleasures of everything, take power over their own lives, and eject God from the life that He gave them.
This was not a simple mistake or a poor food choice. It was an all-out rebellion against God. They cut themselves off from God, Who gave them life.
And when you cut yourself off from the source of life, you die.
This would be a good time to pause and reflect. God said, “In the day that you eat of this fruit, you will surely die.”
Satan said, “In the day that you eat this fruit, you will be as gods.”
The question arises, “Where are Adam and Eve today?” Based on the answer to that question, who was telling the truth, God? Or Satan?
If you’ve ever attended a funeral, you know the answer to that question. There is good news, however. In the same chapter, God offered a way of redemption. By promising that the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent, while suffering a death-blow Himself, God promised a savior, a redeemer, who would come and save His people from the death that comes as a result of sin.
That Savior was Jesus Christ, who both defeated Satan and suffered death upon the cross, and obtained final victory through the resurrection. Belief in this brings salvation and eternal life, and wins God’s favor.
The result of that salvation is being welcomed into His eternal Kingdom, where God will have restored life to what He intended on it being in the Garden.
So, with all that in mind, trust that God is good. Trust in Him, and place your faith in the death Jesus died on the cross for your forgiveness of sin. Then leave that sinful lifestyle behind and follow Him.