Musing on Genesis 2
How could evil exist in Paradise? Apparently the issue was not the existence of evil, but familiarity — touching, seeing, experiencing it. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil gave man the opportunity to know good and evil. Prior to that, man knew only good, but in the absence of evil, he didn’t know that he knew it. It simply was, like time before God marked off the days.
Why did God allow for the possibility of knowing? Why put this Pandora’s box in the middle of everything?
God said to the man, “You can eat from all the trees — except this one: The Tree of Knowledge. If you eat from this tree, you will die.” My sister did a similar thing with her toddler, pointing at the electrical outlets and warning him not to touch. Thereafter he was drawn to every electrical outlet in the room, as if they were the only thing that existed.
At this stage of the game, could the man have appreciated the value of “life”? For that matter, did he grasp what it would mean to die? When we tell a young child not to touch a hot stove because it will burn them, do they even know what we mean? Actually, we usually say it’s “hot,” indicating somehow that hot is bad thing. We hope they will trust us rather than rely on their own experience. In some respects, we still eat from the Tree of Knowledge every day, still insisting on finding out for ourselves how bad is bad.
Why didn’t God also point out the Tree of Life? Were the two trees set apart in middle of the garden, standing side by side in stark contrast to each other and everything else, or were they just growing up among all the other trees? Would it have mattered?
Once God pointed out the Tree of Knowledge as dangerous, could that tree, wherever it was, ever go unnoticed again? Is it possible to un-know what you’ve known? Yes and no. My nephew eventually stopped gravitating towards those electrical outlets, (fortunately, not because he got shocked). He still knew where they were. But he “forgot” them because other things interested him more.
Genesis 3 says the woman saw the Tree of Knowledge was beautiful and good for food. Why make the tree attractive and its fruit desirable? Or was attraction determined by the eye of the beholder, its desirability simply reflecting the heart?