The Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil
In the preceding pages we found that God’s Way is defined by the word justice and that history teaches that men always seem to run away from that justice. The Bible teaches that men have run from God’s commands from the very beginning. In fact, in Genesis 3 we learn that the first humans sinned by disobeying God’s first command to them, which was to abstain from eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Here a critical distinction must be made. Adam and Eve did not sin because they ate of that tree. They sinned by eating of that tree. They sinned by disobeying God’s command to not eat of that tree. In other words, eating of the tree did not suddenly make them sinners. This logically implies that they were sinners before they ate the forbidden “apple.” This means that Adam and Eve were created with a sin nature. God created them with the disposition to eat of the forbidden tree. Thus we see that God did not create Adam and Eve as perfect beings. If he had done so, they would have been unable to sin. But then they would have been similar to machines, like a modern computer programmed to do only certain things, those things that are “right.”
These truths show us that God intended that man eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This was His plan. To make sure that His plan did not fail, He even placed a tempter named Satan in the midst of Garden of Eden. Satan had one purpose for being there and that was to tempt Eve to eat of the tree. Satan’s purpose ever since then has also been to entice men to sin. But, why did God want man to eat of the forbidden tree?
Genesis 1 reveals that God created every plant and animal with its own kind of seed so that each would reproduce after its own kind. He also intended that each type of plant and animal would remain separated from others as a distinct kind. This sets forth the Biblical principle of sanctification, or separation, that unfolds throughout history. This principle explains the Mosaic law in Leviticus 19:19 of forbidding the breeding of different kinds of cattle and the planting of more than one type of seed in one’s field. The principle includes the unlawfulness, with respect to God and His Way, of genetic manipulation of plants and animals that is so rampant today.
God’s acts of creation conclude with the statement in Genesis 1:27 which says, “God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” In Genesis 5:3 we read that Adam “fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image….” Also after Adam ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil.” (Gen. 3:22) So, we see that man’s eating of the tree constituted a critical step in man’s creation. He was initially made in God’s “image,” but he did not become “like” God until he ate of the tree.
Thus we see that man’s eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was a necessary step in man’s creation rather than a bad thing as we have always been taught. Man’s eating thereof was clearly part of God’s plan regarding mankind. Many teach that Adam’s eating of this tree condemns him and all his posterity to eternity in Hell but for Jesus’ death on the cross. But no, the penalty for eating of the tree was actual physical death, which was implemented in mercy. If man had not eaten of that tree, then evil would not have been released into the world. Man could then have eaten of the Tree of Life and lived forever without suffering and seeing the horrible effects of sin and evil. Once evil was released, however, God mercifully prevented access to the Tree of Life and allowed Adam and all men to die.
When we finally get near the end of the Bible we read the following in Hebrews 5:11-14 (ESV):
About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.  For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food,  for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.  But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
Here we see that “solid food,” the meat of the Word, is for mature believers, believers who by “constant practice” of the ways of God have learned to distinguish good from evil. This means they have learned to discern the difference between the two and to choose the good. Isn’t this interesting? When the Bible begins, God commands man to refrain from eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, yet he provides a tempter and a nature in man that guarantees that he will eat thereof. And when the Bible ends, we find that God’s goal with men is that they learn to distinguish between good and evil.
This explains why the present situation in the world is so difficult and so evil. The six thousand years allotted to this age have run their course. Evil is now ripe and omnipresent. Anyone need only reach out his hand to partake of almost any perversion. Yes, these days are indeed as the days of Noah which Jesus prophesied would come before He returned. We also see that those with the world’s mind set brainwash others into believing that any type of discrimination, or discernment, is evil today. Think of it, purveyors of perversion convince the vast mindless multitude that to discriminate against vile sexual conduct is akin to discriminating against someone because they come from a different race than they do. Thus many have been taught to actively not attempt to discern between good and evil. If you do, they say, you are a “bigot!” Even most Christians have bought into this lie.
Today’s new age prophets, Christian and otherwise, in effect teach us to call evil good and good evil. Some even teach there is no sin today based upon their misunderstanding of the work of Christ. These have believed the lie and have been filled with the promised spirit of delusion because they refused to love the truth according to 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12. All of mankind has, as in the days of Noah, gone astray. Mankind has proved himself to be the prophesied son of perdition. Our only hope now is for the appearance of Emmanuel, God with us. The sons of God will soon be filled with God’s glory and will restore the foundations of social order to the world. Justice is coming!