15And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. 16And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17But 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 placed the man in the garden of Eden “to dress it and to keep it”. The Jewish Orthodox Bible says to “la’avod” it, meaning to till or work it, and be “shomer”- watcher or keeper of the garden. So from the very beginning man was put on earth to tend and to work it.
For although God provides everything we could possibly need, he doesn’t simply drop it into our laps. We must work to gather it. We must learn to keep the weeds away from the plants to keep them from strangling that which gives us sustenance. We must learn to create or find shelters to keep us safe from the elements.
And so the Lord God commanded Adam to not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Obviously Eve was not yet in the picture. Therefore it would have been up to Adam to convey this commandment to her, as such it was the true first commandment from god to man. This was the only rule… the only law given to man from God in the beginning.
God did not tell him to not eat of the fruit of the tree of life. For I believe he was suppose to eat of that tree. He was meant to live forever, the man and the woman… the two of them forever in bliss in the paradise of the garden of Eden. And if that first commandment were ever broken, so would be the first covennant between God and man. And man would surely die.
It does not say that the man or the woman would die right away. For surely they did not… and would not. Of course satan knew this and knew exactly what would happen when Eve partook of the fruit. This of course is the subject of future verses.
So just what was the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Was it truly a fruit from a tree? Or is this mere symbolism? Was this some fruit which would magically empower the man and the woman with said knowledge? Or is it some metaphor gently disguising the act of sex committed by Adam and Eve in the beginning?
To this end I will only give a few examples of some fruits (using the term figuratively) available in the world today. Peyote: A hallucinogenic “fruit”. Belladonna: Another hallucinogen. And of course the poppy and morning glory which although not hallucinogenic still contain properties which alter ones state of mind. So, how much more so potent a fruit could the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil have been? I will leave you with this point to ponder.
Please do leave your comments, whether in support of or against my commentary. Let me know what your take is on these verses. Till next week…