Editor's Note: Every Sunday, DrydenWire.com publishes a submitted article in a weekly series from Pastor Brian Cole. If you would have a question for Brian or would like to learn more about him, visit his website or his official Facebook page.
Genesis 2:8-17 - Pt. 2 - The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil
We may wonder, “what kind of Tree was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?” We don’t know. Was there some inherent quality in the fruit of that tree itself that caused the people to know good and evil? Maybe not. The Lord did not have to have it here, and obviously it was here as a testing and a proof for man. I think the very act of disobedience was the sin. It was not that the fruit itself was sinful, except it was forbidden. Man sinned when he chose that which would make him wise in matters of the world, of sinful things which he ought not know or care about.
John Piper said: “The function of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil is to make sure that the pleasures of all the other trees in the garden are supremely pleasures in God.”
Just like us today, Adam and eve were commanded not to eat the fruit of one tree out of millions of trees! They focused on the ONE restriction rather than the MANY blessings we were given to enjoy.
Maybe God was saying something like: “I have given you life. I have given you a world full of pleasure, pleasures of taste and sight and sound and smell and feel and nourishment. Only one tree is forbidden to you.” “And the point of that prohibition is to preserve the pleasures of the world, because if you eat of that one you will be saying to me: ‘I’m smarter than you. I’m more authoritative than you. I am wiser than you are. I think I can care for myself better than you care for me. You are not a very good father, and so I am going to reject you. So, don’t eat from the tree, because you will be rejecting me and all my good gifts and all my wisdom and all my care. Instead, keep on submitting to my will. Keep affirming my wisdom. Keep on being thankful for my generosity. Keep on trusting me as a father and keep on eating these trees as a way of enjoying me.
So, I think the issue of the tree is this: Will we keep looking to God as the giver and lover and treasure of this garden so that all our eating is thanking and all our savoring is a savoring of God? Will we keep on experiencing every one of these tastes as a tasting of something like what God is. And in that sense, a tasting of God? Will we keep on enjoying God in the enjoying of the trees? That, I think, is what the forbidden tree was there to test.
It was a warning: if you choose independence instead of God-dependence, you will lose the pleasure of the garden and God with it. If you keep trusting and enjoying Me as your greatest delight and highest treasure, you will have this garden and I will be the pleasure of all your pleasures.
The forbidding one tree is a way of securing that the pleasures of all the other trees in the garden are supremely pleasures in God.
We saw just in the first chapter of Genesis and the first 4 verses in Chapter 2 that God is providential! He created everything, and then created us to take care of it and enjoy it. Yet we think we can take care of ourselves and create our own enjoyment! He supplied everything for us and supplied for us daily, yet we think we can supply for ourselves.
He cared for us while He was creating us, and continued to care for us, yet we do not care for Him or pay Him any mind most of the time. He looked out for us and looks out for us daily, yet we only care about looking out for ourselves. He provided for us and continues to provide for us, yet we think we need to provide for ourselves and it’s on us to do so. He thinks about us more than the sands upon the earth, but He is lucky if some of us think about Him one day a week for one hour.
And that’s what he warned us about with the tree. We think we know better and no longer need the one who created us and continues to sustain us. God is providential! God is continually involved with all created things in such a way that He keeps them existing and maintaining the properties with which He created them. He isn’t only creator, but also preserver. Heb. 1:3 tells us that Christ is: “upholding the universe by His word of power.” That doesn’t merely mean to “sustain,” but has a sense of active, purposeful control over, to be constantly carrying something from one place to another.
It means Jesus is “continually carrying along all things” in the universe by His word of power. Christ is actively involved in the work of providence.
In Col. 1:17 Paul says of Christ that “in Him all things Hold together.” ALL THINGS refer to every created thing in the universe, and means that Christ keeps all things existing; in Him they continue to exist. Paul also said in Acts 17:28 - “In Him we live and move and have our being.” Ezra says in Neh. 9:6 - “You are the Lord, you alone; you have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; AND YOU PRESERVE ALL OF THEM; and the host of heaven worship you.”
Peter also says that The heavens and earth that now exist are BEING KEPT UNTIL THE DAY OF JUDGMENT.” (2 PET. 3:7)
God continues to give us breath each moment. Elihu, in his wisdom, say of God: “If He should take back His Spirit to Himself, and gather to Himself His breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust.” (Job 34:14-15).
I could go on, but the point I am trying to get across is that: After what God has done for us and created for us and given us and after He created us, all He asks for is a relationship with us and to depend on Him, to trust him for everything. Yet we don’t. How many of us think: “I wouldn’t have eaten from the tree and messed things up like they did?” Yet isn’t that what we ALL do on a daily basis?