Monday, March 22, 2010

question


What was the purpose of the Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil? Why did God place it in the Garden of Eden if He didn't want Adam and Eve to eat the fruit?

10 comments:

Craig said...

If you've ever read CS Lewis' Perelandra (and if you haven't, you should), he makes it out as a kind of 'Test of Obedience' (to put in the crudest possible terms) - 'I've given you a whole wide world for your enjoyment; just don't do this one thing'.

I don't quite fully resonate with that, but it's at least an interesting starting point for the discussion. . .

luke said...

It's a 'Test of Obedience', but the less crude positive connotation of it is the gift of free will. So it's not establishing a 'don't do this' as much as a 'do what you will, in a world where you can even disobey God.'

In Mere Christianity, Lewis explains that a loving God making creatures without free will is an ontological paradox. Love is to will the good of another, *as other*. To make us truly other than Himself, He gave us a will free from His own, hoping that we would choose to participate in His will. He knew what we could do with free will, but apparently He though it was worth the risk.

Jesus taught the early church to think of God more as a father. As a father myself, I created Clover for love - to really love her. She has to be a person separate from myself - she has a will of her own, or else she's just a puppet. Pinocchio and Pleasure Island, anyone? The symbols are different, but the essence is the same.

Phyllis Renée said...

Craig, I haven't read the book -- another one to add to my list -- but the thought has crossed my mind that this was all part of the redemption plan. Yesterday I considered the angels (before creation), how they had to have free will in order for Satan to rebel as he did and for some of the others to follow him. It occurred to me that God knew man would need a Redeemer. Is that too wacky??

Luke, I've barely started reading Mere Christianity and, I have to confess, I'll need to read your comment a few more times before it will absorb into my over-saturated brain.

Craig said...

Excellent answer, Luke. . .

Free will really is at the heart of the matter. Love is only love if it is freely given; love that couldn't do otherwise isn't love, in the full sense of the word.

The capacity to love freely is part of what it means to be 'created in God's Image', and precisely in order for it to be free, there has to be the possibility for us to choose otherwise. . .

So yeah - God 'took a risk' in creating us with free will, but a risk He was prepared to take, and He knew what to do if it 'didn't work out'. . .

And Phyllis - Perelandra is actually the middle book of Lewis' Space Trilogy (my favorite is actually the first one, Out of the Silent Planet). As 'science fiction', it's pretty dated, but it makes some wonderful points about what it means to live fully as creatures made in God's image. . .

luke said...

The Space Trilogy is great. When we were preparing for our live-abroad summer at TU, they suggested we read Out of the Silent Planet as a great story about adapting and embracing other cultures.

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