In Genesis 2 God has planted a garden for man to enjoy. The center of His garden has two special trees – life and knowledge. The tree of life is referenced too again in Proverbs 11 and in Revelations 22. The tree of knowledge, apparently, has references in Proverbs but English translators don’t expand on the metaphor. To be fair this study is going to cover more than just this tree, I will be looking at several concepts and ideas in Chapter 1, 2, 3, and probably 4. To clear away a possible problem let me stress that the tree is the KNOWLEDGE of good and evil. This tree is NOT good and evil.
Since the Garden is where mankind started I saw the grace and love of your God and Father starting in Genesis 1:29 + 30. This is a simple thought but this post focus will be on the word “I”. God says it four times and Adam adds five more by verse twelve, which is where the conversation spreads out, and God’s tone changes.
God’s uses of the word “I” are in 1:29,30; 2:18; and 3:11. They flow this way – I give, I give, I will make, and I commanded. The command actually comes in 2:16 but “I” is not used at that time. So, the first thing God does is to give Adam and the beast plants with seeds and every green plant for food. God commands against the eating of just one tree and then turns His attention again to man and his need for companionship.
Some Thoughts: 1. The disobedience of Adam changed the plants as food, as some plants are not suitable for our consumption now. 2. Chapter 2:4 is actually another story of creation that Moses compiled when he wrote Genesis. Chapter1:1, 4:1, and 5:1 are also separate stories that were possibly oral traditions that he wrote down at the prompting of the Holy Spirit. 3. Notice the only command Adam is given is to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam was not given instructions about the tree of life.
All four of God’s “I’s” are directed for Adam’s good, not his harm. Well, why did God even put that tree in the garden! Since I try not to judge God, this is my thought. God has always wanted people to willingly follow Him. The tree was a simple thing and Adam failed. Jesus is the only human to not fail the Father, which is why we need to be found in Him.
Adam’s five “I’s” are the result of nibbling on knowledge. His response to God is one of “shame and blame” and mankind has lived with that since then. Adam’s shame “I’s” are – I heard, I was afraid, I was naked, and I hid. The confession of “I ate” comes after he blames God for supplying the woman which he was singing about in 2:23 + 24.
Adam’s “I’s” are about himself while God’s “I’s” are about doing good for man.
Some More Thoughts: 1. Most translations quote Adam as saying the poem/song of 2:23 and leave verse 24 as an included explanation. That would mean Moses or someone else added to the text later. It just sounds better to extend the quote to include verse 24 and make it a prophecy about his children. 2. I am confident that Adam and Eve were intelligent and that they talked with God about things. I have always wondered how they would have had a contextual understanding of the word “die” since they had never seen death! That may have been part of the knowledge that Eve was so eager to get when she chose to eat the fruit.
Well, enough for the intro more will come later on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.