And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die. Genesis 2:16
Most everyone is familiar with the story of the Garden of Eden and Adam’s disobedience, causing the fall of mankind. But have you ever wondered what was the significance of the tree of knowledge of good and evil? Why did God not want Adam to eat from it? What did the serpent mean when he said, “You will be like God knowing both good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5) While I mediated on this, God revealed something that I had never considered before. I would like to share with you what was revealed to me.
First, we must understand the environment that existed before the fall. It was perfection, the exact replica of heaven. No death, sickness, disease, strife or fear. There was nothing but perfect peace and harmony. Adam and his wife lived in a state of nirvana. All God required of them is to trust Him. This meant following His commandment, which was only one.
If Adam truly trusted God then following Him wouldn’t be an issue. If we truly trust someone then we have no reason to question what they ask of us. However, if we question their instruction this would indicate a certain degree of mistrust. In the case of Adam, God explicitly told him not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and what would happen if he did so.
Bible doesn’t indicate how long Adam and his wife lived on this planet before the fall, but we do know that God had given them authority over all the creatures on this earth. (Genesis 1:26) In fact, God gave Adam the authority to name every creature on this planet. (Genesis 2:19). God had given Adam complete control over His creation and all the earth.
However, one day Adam had a visitor. The serpent came into the garden and started to question Adam’s companion about the trees in the Garden. (Genesis 3:1-5) The serpent questioned why would God not allow them to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil? He implied that God had an ulterior motive for not wanting them to eat from that tree. And he told the first lie ever told to humanity, “You will not die.” Then he told them, “They would be like God knowing both good and evil.”
WHAT DID SERPENT MEAN TO BE LIKE GOD
To understand what the serpent meant when he said you will be like God, we have to look at his background. According to scripture the serpent was once an Arch Angel who was named Lucifer. Lucifer was the light bearer and was charged with bringing praises to God. He was beautiful in appearance and had access to the throne room of God. (Ezekiel 28:14-15)
Lucifer allowed his position and beauty get the best of him and he became self-deceived, thinking that he could take God’s position. Lucifer said to himself that he would be like God. (Isaiah 14:13-14) He
exercised his self-will and attempted to lead a rebellion against the one who created him. (Ezekiel 28:16-17). His rebellion was short lived and he was cast out of heaven along with one third of the angels who were willing to follow him.
WHAT WAS THE SERPENT’S DESIRE FOR MANKIND
Now that Lucifer now known as Satan (deceiver) no longer had a kingdom he sought refuge on the earth. As with all the other angels he marveled at God’s latest creation. (Psalms 8:4-9) Man was God’s greatest creation because unlike the angels God had given mankind the authority to make choices, and use words. Angels have the ability to make choices but not the authority. That’s why there can be no redemption for Satan or any angel that chooses to exercise their will.
Satan was jealous of man and wanted to usurp his authority. He knew the only way that could happen is if he got them to disobey God. So, he used the same strategy he used on himself to lure them away. He used the term you will be like God. (Isaiah 14:14) Unfortunately, his plan worked because Adam failed to exercise his authority and command the serpent to leave the garden.
Because Adam chose to follow Satan he gained control over this planet and put his system of government into place. That is why he is referred to as the god of this world. (2 Corinthians 4:4, Ephesians 2:2) He could now rule this planet and got what he wanted, to be like god. In Satan government he perverted God’s original design to make it his own. But, it’s not perfect so that is why there are so many problems in the world today.
WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL
Before the fall of mankind Adam relied on God’s judgment to determine what was good. Since God is good and perfect there was no need to know evil. There was no reason to question God judgment because they lived in a perfect environment where there was nothing lacking. However to exist in this environment it took total and complete trust without question.
When Satan challenged God’s authority the opened the door for Adam to exercise his will, thus becoming his own god. He would no longer have to rely on God because he could choose for himself. With no absolute moral compass man could decide for himself what is right and wrong. Look at the world around us, it full of people deciding for themselves what is right and wrong.
As a result, we live in a society where right and wrong are determined from a person’s own personal perspective. (Judges 17:6, Proverbs 14:12) This can only lead to chaos and confusion, and this is the world we live in today. Each individual free to live life from their own moral compass, in essence become their own god.
THE IMPORTANCE OF RELYING ON THE WORD
We must realize the importance of placing on trust in the One who created us. Who would know better that Him? The Bible states that if we are to live to our full potential we are not to rely on our own understanding, but trust the Word and the Spirit of God to guide us. (Proverbs 3:5-6) If we do this God promises that we will experience His blessings in all that we do; for He has our best interest in mind. (Jeremiah 29:11) Jesus echoed this when he stated, “I only do what I see MY Father do and say only what MY Father says”. (John 5:19, 30) If we make this our goal then we will begin to see our lives being transformed into the life God has designed for us live. Then we will begin to do all things that Jesus did while on this earth and even greater things than that. (John 14:12)