No Bad Trees in the Garden
by Harley Voogd
God put two special trees in the garden. The “Tree of Life” and the “Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil”. Adam was allowed to eat of any tree as much as he wanted, but he could not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Why then did God put that tree in the garden? Some would say, “Well, God wanted to give Adam free will and the ability to choose to be evil. And, God wanted to know if Adam really loved Him, and He couldn’t have known that unless Adam had a choice to not love Him.”
That’s a good Sunday school answer, but it makes God sound like somebody’s insecure girlfriend. “Adam, sometimes I just don’t know if you love me anymore!” Also, if that reason is the only reason, then the tree could have simply been called the “Tree of the knowledge of Evil” since Adam already knew good–in fact, that’s all he knew.
But the tree was called the knowledge of good and evil. Perhaps a better way to say it would be “the tree of being able to discern the difference between good and evil”. Being able to discern the difference between good and evil is called wisdom. If we could only choose a select few in our societies to have this wisdom, who would we choose? Our leaders of course.
In Canada, our leaders have declared that gay marriage and abortion are good things. They have lost their ability to discern the difference between good and evil. What is clearly a hateful thing in God’s eyes has been declared a “right to happiness” in our government’s eyes.
In the bible you will see that the great kings and leaders were also great judges. Solomon was known among the nations for his wisdom, a wisdom that allowed him to discern good from evil. The whole book of Proverbs is a laying out of what is good and what is evil. At the beginning of the book of Judges, we see that everyone was doing what was right in their own eyes. That’s why God sent in the judges–to discern good from evil. When ever a king lost this wisdom, the whole nation suffered.
Nebuchadnezzar was a great king. In his vision of the statue he was the head of gold–the greatest of all the empires to follow. He had another vision where he was a great tree. All the peoples took shade under his branches. What was that tree in his vision? It was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The wisdom to discern good from evil is given to kings.
It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.
You’ll notice that with the Old Covenant (the law and the Mosaic priesthood) it was all about bread. The bread of life. But when Jesus came to establish the New Covenant He added something more: wine. And while the bread stayed, the emphasis was placed on the wine.
And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.
He said the cup was the New Covenant, not the bread. Wine is a symbol of maturity. It takes time to prepare good wine. And while you can give a child plenty of bread, you won’t give him wine. The bread of life and the wine of maturity. The Old Covenant (the bread) prepared the way, and Jesus (the wine) brought the covenant to maturity. Jesus is King.
Back to the garden. The tree of life was the bread. The tree of knowledge of good and evil was the wine. Adam was called to be king. But he was not ready to be king right at the beginning. He needed to mature first. If Adam had obeyed God, the time would have come where God would have said, “Adam, you are ready to be king. You may now eat of the tree of knowledge.” But instead, Adam took a short cut, and in doing so forfeited his ability to eat of both trees.
Jesus Christ was called to be king also. When He was tempted in the desert by Satan, He was being tempted to take a short cut. Satan offered Him all the nations. Did Satan have the ability to give Jesus the nations? Absolutely. Satan had authority over all the nations except Israel. But Jesus did not give in. Instead, He bound the strong man and took the authority from Satan through His death and resurrection.
Jesus is the second Adam. Where Adam fell short, Jesus conquered. And now, we who believe, can rule as kings with Him, being brought into maturity by His blood.