the tree of the knowledge of good and evil15-02-2014 - Posted by Andre Piet
I remember discussions in confirmation classes and in youth-association meetings of the church, which I attended as a young person, about the (so-called) fall of Adam in the garden of Eden. It was a constantly recurring issue. Could God not easily have prevented the misery of this offense? Or did He not know in advance that Adam would eat of the forbidden fruit? In that case, He was not all-knowing and He did fail. But did He know it, then it happened intentionally, which makes God the Author of sin. After all, He formed the cunning serpent, He placed that one tree in the midst of the garden, He gave the command not to eat (which stimulates sin; Rom.7:6,8) and He had given Adam a wife susceptible to being misled. The inescapable conclusion is that God, evidently, had planned ‘the fall into sin’. But this raises the pressing question of how He, notwithstanding, can be a good God? To these burning questions, I never got satisfactory answers in the church or from the pastor. When, eventually, I did receive the answers from Scripture, the meaning of the secret of the forbidden fruit also became clear to me. In the past, only the prohibition to eat of the forbidden fruit was emphasized, but never was it clarified what benefits would result from eating of the fruit, namely, the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve, in the garden, knew neither good nor evil. They not only had no knowledge of evil, but had no knowledge of good, either. Both are inextricably linked together. The knowledge of good is not available by itself. Man learns to know (appreciate) what is good, by contrast. Would it ever have occurred to Adam and Eve, in the garden, to give thanks to God for their good health? No, because how could they value and appreciate good health, without ever having known any illness or pain? He is the Creator of light and darkness, good and evil. Consequently, evil is in good hands! It is precisely, because God, Himself, is good (Luc.18:19), that He, therefore, wants mankind to learn what is good. And that made the creation of evil, essential. God made no mistake when He formed the cunning serpent, and it was not a miscalculation on His part, when Adam ate the forbidden fruit and had to leave the garden. It was in the script. Evil would make good, visible, the same as the darkness of night makes the stars visible. Without an experience with evil, man would never be able to understand and appreciate how good God is, and what it means that He is LOVE. A love that is greater than the greatest enmity (Rom.5:8; Col.1:20). Against the dark background of enmity, sin, suffering and death, gloriously shines GOD’S trancedent, irrepressible, triumphant LOVE. And every creature, one day, will most happily testify to this (Phil.2:9-11)!
32 For God LOCKS UP ALL together in stubbornness, that He should be merciful to ALL. 33 O, the depth of the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How inscrutable are His judgments, and untraceable His ways! (…) 36 seeing that OUT of Him and THROUGH Him and FOR Him is all: to Him be the glory for the eons! Amen! -Paul in Romans 11-