“Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and tend it. The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may freely eat; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not [o]eat, for on the day that you eat from it you will certainly die.” – Genesis 2:15-17
Genesis, the book of beginnings, said that everything God created was good, including the trees of life and knowledge of good and evil. However, God prohibited Adam and Eve from eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The ramifications of their disobedience are still felt even today– natural disaster, injustices, diseases, famine, wars, hatred, pain, suffering, and the most significant, death. The question most people ask is, “If God is good, and knows the detrimental effect of man’s eating the forbidden fruit, why then did plant that tree in the middle of the garden?” The question implies that the culpability of evil and suffering is on God. Many people would even think that it would have been much simpler if God had not created that tree in the first place.
A common answer to the question is that man was given the gift of freedom of choice. The freedom of choice makes man a man an not like zombies, automatons or robots. Furthermore, the freedom of choice reflects God’s image in man in terms of morality – the ability to choose between right and wrong.
However, such an answer focuses on the creature – man. As mentioned in the (Lesson 1) teaching video, the Book of Genesis is primarily about God. So let us look at that tree with God as the central point.
When God planted the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden and commanded Adam not to eat its fruits, He ushered man into a covenantal relationship with Him. Death is the result of Adam’s disobedience by consuming the forbidden produce. Saying it differently, as long as Adam would obey God’s command, he would live. This is the covenant of obedience God placed Adam as regard to that tree. Christians mostly call this the Covenant of Works.
Being omniscient and wise, God knew that Adam would fall from the Covenant of Works by eating the forbidden fruit. God also knew beforehand that Adam and the rest of humankind would be utterly incapable of recovering from the fall. In a demonstration of His love, He promised and provided for the redemption for man in Genesis 3:15. He declared that the son of Adam would “bruise the head” of the snake while the latter would strike Him on the heel. Thousands of years later, Jesus Christ fulfilled this promise by dying on the cross and resurrecting from the grave, thereby “striking the head” and sealing the fate of His enemy. From the trail of this magnificent event, God gave a new covenant that salvation would be for everyone who believes and calls on the name of the Lord Jesus. This is the Covenant of Grace.
When God planted the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the middle of the garden, He planted the Covenant of Works for man, which eventually led to His new Covenant of Grace. Instead of receiving only one covenant, man received two covenants because of God’s grace and mercy. That tree, therefore, showed that God is indeed a good, good God.
Lesson Reflection on iStudy iStudy Lesson 2
By Dave Isaac