A Simple Answer (Too Simple)

“The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from 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.” (Gen 2:16-17)

This is part of my study for tomorrow and as I hit this verse, one question comes to mind. Why in the midst of Paradise does God plant such a disastrous tree? Why create this? Why put this there in the first place. Clearly over and over this creation is “good”, “good”, 5 times over “good” and then even “very good”. So why put this tree in the garden that was no good?

In researching the answer, the response below by a pastor represents the most common response:

Why did God created a devil if He knew all the evil Satan would do. A corresponding question is why did God create the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? After all, if God hadn’t created the tree, then Adam and Eve couldn’t have sinned! This article attempts to give a logical and rational explanation to these questions. 

The answer to these questions is, I believe, found in the purpose for God creating Adam and Eve in the first place. What is the purpose of human creation? Quite simply, it is to choose to love God. If there is one thing an all mighty, all knowing, all present God would want, it would be someone choosing Him freely. To that end, mankind was given free will. 

But having free will and not having the option to use it is not free will. Imagine me asking you, “Okay, you have a choice. What do you want? A can of Pepsi or a can of Pepsi? Go on, pick, it’s your choice!” Is that really a choice? Having only one choice is not a choice. How can we exercise the most important and unique aspect to the human nature–free will–if there is no choice to make?

So the answer cascades like this: God wants our love, our love is only real if it is of free will, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil provides the opportunity for free will to be expressed.

The implication then is that: if there is no tree of the knowledge of good and evil, free will could not be truly expressed, and if free will is not truly expressed then how can love be truly love?

Makes sense right? I have heard this explanation a thousand times and shared it at least hundreds of times. But here’s my question:

Is there not love, true intense God-glorifying love in heaven? Won’t our love in heaven find it’s highest apex of reality? And yet where is the temptation that is exists in heaven in order to make love of “free will”?

Nowhere in scripture do I find of any hint that sin will be possible. All that causes sin will be dealt with: our nature is born again, our flesh will be transformed, Satan will be casted away, the world will be made new, death will be dead.

If then in heaven there is not the struggle of the “free will” to choose to love God or hate God, then do we say that love in heaven is not of “free will” and hence not truly love? To say that would be to say that life now on earth brings more glory, more worship, more adoration, more love to God than in heaven. That can’t be.

So the explanation that “free-will” and “choose” was needed in order that God can be truly loved feels incomplete, man-focused, and self-protecting to the interest and worth of my own love. Most of all, the explanation does not seem to fit the eternity that awaits God’s people.

So what’s the answer?

One comment

  1. We cannot know the full answer to this question, because only the LORD knows why he intended to create humans and angels. That being said, the choice that we make to love God is made on earth, after our spirit is awakened by the Holy Spirit. We continue to be empowered to follow God as a result of the working of the Holy Spirit, because of our fallen nature. Once we are in Heaven and glorified as the Son is glorified, we will be like Jesus, and no longer carry our fallen nature, with all of its sinful desires.

    As Paul says in Romans, once we are born again, the battle is not in the ever-changing desires of our spirit, but in the competing desires between our spirit and our flesh (fallen nature). Once we are in heaven, we will be rid of that, leaving us no opposition to fully love God with all of our heart.

    The real confusion here for me resides in trying to comprehend God’s Irresistible Grace…

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