Why Was the Tree in the Garden of Eden?

When God created the world, He called it good (Genesis 1:31). Man was without sin, and all was right with the world. He created the first man, Adam, in the garden of Eden–a place of spectacular beauty. In the garden He also put two specific trees–the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:9). Adam was only commanded not to eat of one of these trees, but he disobeyed that stipulation.

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Genesis 2:16-17 says, “And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;  but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.’” A question that has haunted me for a long time is this: if the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was able to cause Adam and Eve to sin (thus causing them to die), why did God put it in the garden in the first place? Wouldn’t it have been better for everyone if the first sin wasn’t able to happen in the first place? While this hasn’t caused my faith to waver, per-se, it has been a plaguing thought in the back of my mind.

I have often just chalked it up to free will without taking the time to truly understand why. Now, I am not the type of person that thinks I have to have an answer for everything, but being someone who spends a lot of time thinking gives me a desire to want to know. I truly believe God doesn’t want us to leave our intelligence at the door when we think of Him, because He gave us that knowledge to begin with. I think God reveals what is important to us in His time, and I think God was gracious enough to reveal that answer to me this morning:

If we didn’t have something to measure our free will against; it wouldn’t truly be free will.  

Consider this: If we are to truly be able to enter into loving communion with God, we have to have the free will to be able to choose to. We also have to have the option not to. If there wasn’t anything in the garden that Adam and Eve could choose to disobey God with, there wouldn’t be any other option but to obey God. That is not true free will. If all they could do is love God, it would be a hollow victory for God.

The other thing that occurred to me is that this is completely applicable today. When we come to a decision in life, we have the option to lovingly obey God, or not. In the same way Adam and Eve should have leaned on God for strength to resist the temptation of eating from the tree, we should lean on God to resist the temptation to watch pornography, to withhold forgiveness to that bully, or to want what our neighbor has. The glorious truth is that God is faithful to those that seek Him.

So God has given you the free will to choose to love Him or not, to obey Him or not. It is your choice to make the commitment today, or to uphold that commitment, but God is there for you to lean on when times get difficult.

Shawn Bain

Shawn is the Vice President of Geeks Under Grace and director of marketing. He has played video games since he was 2 years old and has immersed himself deep within the geek culture. Writing short stories and releasing them for free to the public began his writing journey, and now he uses what he has learned along the way to help Christians benefit from geek culture. Out of his desire to serve Christ, he also founded DUDEronomy and continues to write short stories that entertain and give perspective into the life of a Christian. Shawn's hope is that his life would exemplify a follower of Christ and lead people to accept salvation through His grace. He wants to be a good father, husband, son, and friend to those around him.

7 Comments

  1. Aaron on January 11, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    Love isn’t real if you have no choice but to do it, God gave Adam and Eve the option to have a loving, close relatioship with him and simply trust him and obey one command. They choose to disobey him and beleive the lie that God was with holding something from them and thus sin entered the world. Thankfully God sent Jesus to save us from our sin though 🙂

    • lolzors93 on January 11, 2015 at 8:04 pm

      What Biblical basis do you have for saying, “Love isn’t real if you have no choice but to do it”?
      Also, God determining all things does not reject the fact that one has a choice. It simply means that the choice we have was made in a certain way because our hearts so wanted that; hence, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” And, according to the Bible (Psalm 33:15), God is the one who determined the hearts of man, as He is the one who formed them. Therefore, God is the one who made the hearts of man such that they produced good or bad fruit. Thus the saying in Romans 8:28 and Ephesians 1:11 – God works all things for the good of those who love God according to the counsel of His will.

      • Aaron on January 11, 2015 at 9:05 pm

        I admit I have dont know of any biblical basis for my “Love isn’t real if you have no choice but to do it” statement, I will have to look into it and see if there is one. Thanks for calling me out on that.
        Your points are valid and I will have to do further study to see if my points are accurate. Thanks for the response 🙂

      • Shawn Bain on February 11, 2015 at 3:51 pm

        Proverbs 16:9 ESV / 446 helpful votes

        The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

        Joshua 24:15 ESV / 129 helpful votes

        And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

        John 7:17 ESV / 84 helpful votes

        If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.

        Revelation 3:20 ESV / 75 helpful votes

        Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

        1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV / 58 helpful votes

        No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

        John 1:12-13 ESV / 49 helpful votes

        But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

  2. lolzors93 on December 25, 2014 at 6:45 am

    Good thing the Bible says libertarian free will doesn’t exist; otherwise, I would have to agree with you.

  3. Ken on September 13, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    If no choice, we would be robots and the love we have for God would not be real. To choose Jesus and to choose to love Jesus shows that it is genuine and real. I am grateful that God allowed us to choose Him.

    • lolzors93 on January 11, 2015 at 8:05 pm

      What Biblical basis do you have for saying, “If no choice, we would be robots and the love we have for God would not be real. To choose Jesus and to choose to love Jesus shows that it is genuine and real”?
      Also, God determining all things does not reject the fact that one has a choice. It simply means that the choice we have was made in a certain way because our hearts so wanted that; hence, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” And, according to the Bible (Psalm 33:15), God is the one who determined the hearts of man, as He is the one who formed them. Therefore, God is the one who made the hearts of man such that they produced good or bad fruit. Thus the saying in Romans 8:28 and Ephesians 1:11 – God works all things for the good of those who love God according to the counsel of His will.

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