Gen 3:22 - Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil. And now, lest he reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever...” See also Gen 2:17, 3:5.

God expelled humans from Garden of Eden, because they learned good and evil. But then petty soon He requires Kaine to do good. And thereafter, God teaches Israelis to do good and abstain from evil, gives commandments.

Why did not He want Adam to know good from evil?

It appears, God's intent here is opposite of His intent in the rest of Torah.

Is it possible that there is real inconsistency here?

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    As in your comments, you insist in a plainly Jewish answer referring to Beit Hillel, you better place it on Mi Yodeya. Most contributors here seem to be Protestant Christians, some are Jewish and I am possibly the only Muslim.
    – Jeschu
    Commented Jul 16, 2022 at 13:38
  • I apparently can't add an answer. So, let me say that I believe the issue is in the root of the word for knowledge. In Hebrew, "to know" is a much deeper level than simply intellectually. It means to be intimate with. This is evident in Gen 4:1. The choice was not an intellectual one. It was: "Do not become intimate with Evil." They already knew Good. Did they want to know Evil? I would flesh this answer out more, were I allowed to... but that is the essence of it.
    – MarkJoel60
    Commented May 6, 2023 at 14:37

11 Answers 11


The academic reasoning in the responses is not required. What is wrong with knowing good and evil? The answer is simple. Because it would bring death. Full stop.

GENESIS 2:17 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.”

The problem is with the academic reasoning. Because you now need to know what ‘death’ is - biblically, that is, not what a ‘dictionary’ defines it as. Biblically ‘death’ means/is separation. ‘Eating’ from the tree separated man from God. [death, just like physical death is the separation of man’s spirit and soul from his physical body.]

Nothing the serpent said was not ‘right’. Nothing the 10 spies said was not ‘right’. [factual]. It’s not about ‘right’.

The serpent [devil/ha-Satan] can only ‘appeal to’ or work through’ the “flesh”. Appeal to the [natural] ‘eyes’ and ‘thinking/thoughts’. That’s how he deceived Eve. Deception is all via the flesh. So Eve didn’t ‘die’ physically [her ‘flesh’]. She died spiritually. [remember ‘death’ is separation, so Adam/Eve becomes separated from God. They become ‘a god unto themselves’.

They [then] become responsible for their own righteousness. What do you need for this? You need to then know [decide for yourself] what is ‘good’ and what is ‘not’ [evil].

This question you ask appeals to reasoning. That’s a problem. That’s the problem. I mean you need a foundation. E.g what is ‘death’, what is a ‘god/God’. What is ‘good and evil’. And these all ‘appeal’ to [academic/theological] ‘reasoning’ [individual interpretation] which will lead to debate.

And why? Be as I said, the answer is simple, because it is written for us.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Jesse
    Commented Jul 17, 2022 at 18:48
  • That conversation is interesting, but some of the ideas could also be posted as supplemental answers, even though this answer has already been selected as "correct". Please all: read the chat. And, offer a new answer if you have a hefty comment. Cheers!
    – Jesse
    Commented Jul 17, 2022 at 18:50

God certainly expelled man and woman from Eden because they learned about good and evil in the wrong way. They chose to learn via a way that God had forbidden - by partaking of a certain 'something' held out to them by a deceiver, which he lyingly assured them would "make them like God."

The interesting point is that God certainly does know about good and evil, therefore, how could he condemn the couple for likewise knowing good and evil? The clue lies in the careful wording of the text: this desire to become like God by obtaining a specific 'something' that God knew would be utterly harmful to them. The way they set about obtaining this was contrary to God's crystal-clear instructions - "Don't partake of that particular 'fruit'." They chose to partake, supposing that to imbibe this forbidden 'something' would make them like God. Had they forgotten that God had already created them in his image? Or did they covet something greater than that? Knowledge, in an of itself, is neutral. Knowledge cannot give anyone eternal life (the fruit of the Tree of Life). It is what one does with knowledge that comes from God that determines either a harmful or a beneficial outcome. To obey what God says is beneficial. To have faith in the promises of God is beneficial.

Adam and Eve already knew about God's great goodness. They knew that he had done nothing evil to them. But suddenly an idea was put in their minds - "What if God is holding something back from you - something that will put you on a par with God?" Oh, how interesting! How tempting! How simple! "Just do what God said you must not do. Just dismiss his promise that you will thereby die. (God's a liar, didn't you know?)"

That's what's wrong with Genesis 3:22, the way almost everyone seems to take it - that God was angry that the couple had sussed him and got themselves on a par with him. They had become like him, "knowing good and evil". So out they had to go! That's what's wrong.

To say that he 'is become' like God by doing so, falls for the slanderous lie of the serpent, that God desires to be aloof and righteous and does not want to share righteousness with humanity. What a slur on him who justifies the unrighteous! And that without works, but by faith! God does not live by the Tree of Knowledge and no man can do so, for trying to obtain that 'fruit' that way brings nothing but misery and death. Witness how soon the firstborn murdered his innocent brother; once sin starts it spreads and grows, and the introduction of Law only exposes the utter inability of sinful humanity to keep God's perfect Law. That's why the Law was given; to convict humanity of the impossibility of being like God in doing good, no matter how much they had knowledge of what God required.

No, the way back to God is by God's redemption, not by man's absorption of knowledge and his exertion of human will and works to follow that knowledge. God only righteously justifies repentant sinners who do not fall for the subtle lies of the evil one. Satan's deception is that the knowledge of law, or the knowledge of bare doctrine, will lead to life. God says it leads to death, for, in flesh, there dwells no good thing.

This is where a related gross yet subtle mistranslation of scripture has been slipped into some versions of the New Testament, at John 17:3. Instead of sticking to the Greek text that says that knowing God and Christ is life everlasting, perverters who set great store by knowledge have twisted it to say it's taking in knowledge of God and Christ that brings everlasting life. Subtle. But profound. Just as the text in Genesis 3:22 has been subtly, but profoundly misconstrued to imply that God is a jealous liar. We are the ones who are inconsistent. Not God, nor his word.

It's not knowing good and evil that's wrong. It's believing in a system of knowledge / doctrine / works to become like God that's wrong. No. That way brings death. And God has told us so. Yet we who are now mired in sin and death keep insisting that there is such a thing as a system of knowledge / doctrine / works to get right with God! It's faith in God that leads to the Tree of Life, which appears again in the last book of the Bible, when no Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is to be found anywhere any more.

  • The question was about consistency of Torah: does Torah contradict itself? You are saying that this part of Torah is consistent with Christianity. In this respect, your answer is not any different from other answers.
    – Marina
    Commented Jul 15, 2022 at 15:12
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    @Marina I mention Torah (Law) four times in my answer. Of course Torah does not contradict itself; it's our understanding of it that causes all the problems! However, comments are not for arguing points. If you don't like my answer, that's okay.
    – Anne
    Commented Jul 15, 2022 at 15:53
  • "That's why the Law was given; to convict humanity of the impossibility of being like God in doing good, no matter how much they had knowledge of what God required." Law is given, so people would know that they can not do good? Essentially, you are saying, God should not give any law, because it was useless for humans anyway. And how do you know that it was useless? How do you know that some "redemption" was required? Why do you think God was messing with the humans, trying to teach them something, if it was useless?
    – Marina
    Commented Jul 15, 2022 at 16:53
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    @Marina You asked a question but this site is not for creating debates. If you didn't get an answer you like, you can say so, but nobody who answers is obliged to respond to what are quite aggressive disagreements. Nobody is required to justify their answer. Already 4 people have voted to have your question closed (I'm not one of them) and that might be a reason why.
    – Anne
    Commented Jul 15, 2022 at 17:05
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    The prohibition in Gen 2:17 is no indicator that Elohim "knew would be utterly harmful to them" (except maybe in the sense of retaliation) if they ate from that tree. Nor is there any sign of Adam's/Eve's awareness that Elohim "created them in his image", in which case they cannot forget something they didn't know. "falls for the slanderous lie of the serpent". No. Elohim himself said that Adam has become like one of them, Gen 3:22. I agree that this answer delves in issues of faith, and so it sidesteps the varying behavioral and cognitive commands Elohim gives elsewhere in the Torah. Commented Jul 15, 2022 at 17:54

There is no inconsistency but there is a deep misunderstanding of what exactly Adam did and what happened within Adam (and all humanity) as a result.

There is a repeated refrain in the cycle of judges:

In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. - Judges 17:6

This is most directly speaking of an earthly king but ultimately speaks of God as king. We see this clearly brought out in 1 Samuel:

But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. - 1 Samuel 8:6-7

So we can see that even prior to Saul and David the principle of God's kingship over Israel was implemented through the prophets.

Going back to Judges one must ask, "If everyone did what was right in his own eyes wouldn't some of those things (statistically) be also what was right in God's eyes? Therefore, wouldn't some of those things be pleasing to God and ethically right?".

However, everyone doing what is right in his own eyes cannot be seen contextually in Judges as having anything other than a bad connotation. Israel continually cycled deeper into sin and farther from God, crying out when chastised, being mercifully rescued, and then slipping again into complacency, sin, and judgement. "Everyone did what was right in his own eyes" are the last words in the book and it is not an epitaph of victory. Why could they not, when doing what they deemed right, sometimes also do what was right in God's eyes? It seems statistically improbable.

The answer lies in Genesis. The temptation to Adam was to "be like God" in a very specific fashion: knowing good and evil. This "knowing" is not primarily intellectual or experiential knowledge ... it is discriminatory and delineational.

God, as creator of everything and as the only One who is good in and of Himself, is the only one who has the intrinsic right to determine what is good and delineate between good and evil. When tempted to "be like God" this is the sphere of temptation and the locus of failure. Adam decided to take upon himself the mantle of delineation between good and evil. When he ate of the fruit we are intended to understand that he internalized and incorporated into his very nature that which is God's prerogative alone. It was a summary act of rebellion and the first act of idolatry in the race of men. It expelled humanity from the garden of God's presence and into darkness.

Thereafter, every single human being save one has been born with this predisposition incorporated within their very natures to reject what God declares as good and evil and to do what is right in one's own eyes. So, what if one is doing what is right in one's own eyes and it happens to also be something that God considers good? Won't God reckon the practice of what he has called good as righteous behavior?

No! If I do what is actually good but I do it because I have decided it is good in my own eyes rather than because God has said it is good then it is sin. It is rebellion wrapped in a pretty package.

When God required Cain to do good He was not appealing to Cain's better self, He was appealing to Cain to refrain from his human judgement. To do good here would be to do what God has said is good.

Likewise the commandments given through Moses could be obeyed because they were declared by God or they could be weighed on the scales of human judgement. If I assess the commandments and make determinations regarding them then I have placed myself in the position of judging God. Ethics becomes a man-made panacea to alleviate the bitter taste of rebellion.

There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. - Proverbs 16:25

The only remedy available to us is a new heart ... a restored disposition ... God as King. This is an act of God alone, through His Spirit with His Messiah as King:

Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. - Ezekiel 36:22-28


One common interpretation of this verse is that it refers to experiential knowledge. In order for Adam and Eve to make a true moral choice they must have already had conceptual knowledge of obedience vs disobedience, of right vs wrong, and life vs death. But only after sinning do they have the experiential knowledge of sin, of rebellion against a good God, of the evil within themselves. The perfect relationship between God and Adam and Eve is now broken by his holiness and their shame, and so their relationship with God is changed to one of separation and atonement, as immediately symbolised by their exile from the garden and God sacrificing an animal to clothe them. Their experiential knowledge of death began as their bodies started decaying until it was culminated in their actual deaths years later.


There are many reasons why the knowledge of good and evil were restricted from Adam and Eve

I only want to focus on one but I’ll enumerate a few

  • it was intended merely for the gods Genesis 3:22
  • this knowledge was not able to be processed correctly in an earthly body, which ties in to point one, it was intended for the gods who also happen to have heavenly bodies. This is like (in a limited sense) trying to run the latest iPhone version on the very first iPhone. The hardware does not have the capacity for all the software and some hardware is non existent
  • this knowledge is deadly Genesis 2:17 to a human with an earthly body. God punished them for disobedience but not with death, death came automatically as a result of gaining the knowledge. Using the cell phone example, the first generation phone with the latest software, it’s battery life will deplete really fast.
  • the point I want to labor on, is that heaven is organized in a legal fashion. We have the divine council, we have the accuser/s and we have the sons of God who are in the council and the judge/s (plural because there are multiple seats).

The reason the knowledge was inherently bad, was because without knowledge they could not be accused of wrong doing, a sort of legal immunity. They could plead innocence. But by eating of the fruit, it was like signing a legally binding contract and now they agreed to all the terms of the contract despite not being fully equip to handle it in their current state.

If a bank offers you $1B but there is no way you can utilize the funds within the term period to return the money and make it profitable for you, you are making a bad decision. Sure the $1B can be both good and bad in the hands of someone capable and with experience/knowledge but only bad if you don’t stand a chance at paying it back in time with interest.

Adam and Eve were punching above their weight class. God mercifully took away their ability to remain indebted permanently by restricting them from the tree of eternal life.

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    Yes @Marina of course, you’re working with people who lack knowledge of good and evil, obedience is their highest value, they aren’t called to make ethical judgments, nothing is evil, as far as they are concerned. Bringing in the rest of the Torah after this threshold has been crossed makes for a false dichotomy. Whatever happens afterwards is a new ball game. If you can’t or won’t separate these two events, we will be talking past each other Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 15:34
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    So it’s a choice on your part then @Marina Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 17:53
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    @Marina - You said, "Israelis (starting with Abraham) were a disobedient, independent bunch. God seems to like it." I don't think that's right. Why do you think that? Commented Jul 15, 2022 at 3:39
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    @Marina - How can you say that "God likes it." What do you mean? Commented Jul 16, 2022 at 4:44
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    @Marina - Way back in Genesis God said to Abraham that he would bless the whole world through him. And there is not one area that I'm aware of where the fingerprint of God is not there through the Jewish people helping to bless the world. A great honor indeed. Commented Jul 16, 2022 at 20:58

There is a real inconsistency, I agree.

The inconsistency is an inconsistency of translation. Young's Literal reveals this :

And Jehovah God saith, `Lo, the man was as one of Us, as to the knowledge of good and evil; [Young's Literal Translation Genesis 3:22]

The man was as one of us - as to that certain knowledge.

Now - now, he is no longer as one of us.

Now, he has partaken of the knowledge of good and evil. No longer as one of us, he must be banished from the garden.

The problem is what is known as the 'Waw Conversive' and Robert Young deals with that controversy in detail in the prefaces to his bible.

The KJV is inconsistent in the translation of the word 'was'. This can be seen in the use of the word 'was' in other passages. But here, the translators of the KJV say 'is become'.

As you say, this is inconsistent and is a mistranslation.

God warned not to partake of the knowledge of good and evil (a knowledge that becomes available as a result of creating sentient beings with intelligence).

There is nothing wrong with that knowledge. It is just knowledge. It is there in creation as a result of creation.

But that is not the way to live.

Humanity cannot live by that means. It will kill us.

Trust in the Creator. Obedience to his warning. Waiting for what he will do next. Believing that he is good and will do what is needful.

This is the way to life.

Not to summon up one's own will and strength (the created part of us) to assert our own righteousness and to try to be as righteous as God is.

Thereby lies sin and death . . . .

. . . as the Serpent well knew.

הָיָה֙ Verb, Qal, Perfect, 3rd pers, masc, singular Biblehub Gen 3:22

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    @Dottard To say that 'the man is become one of us' is to agree with the lie of the Serpent. I stay with Robert Young. And I rest my case.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 11:30
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    הָיָה֙ Verb, Qal, Perfect, 3rd pers, masc, singular Biblehub Gen 3:22. This is a translation matter, not an interpretation matter.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 14:38
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    @Marina Abraham believed God - and there was accounted to him unto righteousness. (Over 400 years before the law was given upon Sinai). The covenant of faith is an everlasting covenant.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 15:27
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    "This is a translation matter, not an interpretation matter." It is interpretation because the same ambiguity may arise by looking at the Tanakh itself. Regardless, also the source you added (Biblehub) reads "has become" instead of "was", which contradicts the answer. Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 16:36
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    @IñakiViggers Exactly. Biblehub (and the KJV) are interpreting the perfect tense in other places as a past tense (the serpent was more subtil/Abran had flocks/there was bread in Egypt) and interpret it - here - as a present event. And thus support the lie of the serpent that God lives by the knowledge of good and evil (the man 'is become' like us) rather than the fact that God does not live by such means, but rather by his own divine rightness. The man was as one of us in regard to the knowledge of good and evil.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 19:52

There is absolutely no inconsistency between the command not to "eat from the fruit" and the following instructions in the Torah.

Discerning good and evil goes together with the ability and power of mankind to severely disturb the Creation of Ha-Shem. Shaitan could not fulfill the promise that humans would be equal to Ha-Shem, but the power of the humans had led to the necessity that we humans receive rules limiting our ability. No animal or plant is able to do this Before this event, everything was good and He saw this (Bereshit 1),

The following instructions and the entire law have become necessary because of the ability of humanity to severely do wrong to each other and to His perfectly equilibrated creation.

This interpretation is modern, not based on the Talmud but rather by the Modern Jewish philosopher Noah Yuval Hariri. It had not come in evidence to the same extent 1900 years ago.

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    Here is the key: "Discerning good and evil goes together with the ability and power of mankind to severely disturb the Creation of Ha-Shem". In other words, Discerning good and evil leads to evil. If it is true, your answer is correct. But is this true? How do you know that the discernment leads to evil, not lack of discernment leads to evil?
    – Marina
    Commented Jul 16, 2022 at 16:19
  • @Marina no, my thesis is the other way around: The super-animalic (in the argument of the devil: god-like) power lead to the necessity to discern good and evil. This had not been necessary before. The evil does not come from its recognition but from the "god-like" power.
    – Jeschu
    Commented Jul 16, 2022 at 16:55
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – Marina
    Commented Jul 16, 2022 at 17:03

Preliminarly, since this site is named ‘Bible Hermeneutics’ and not ‘Tanakh Hermeneutics’, no one may expect that all users limit themselves to the Tanakh for their remarks. Even if I too prefer to focus my remarks around the Tanakh (due to my concentration on ‘Linguistics of Semitic idioms’ - see my ‘Profile’) I consider both the ‘local’ context of a given passage (paragraph, logical group, book, et cetera) as well as the global context of the Bible (namely – traditionally - OT plus NT).

Having said that, let we remember your key-questions (about the text of Gen 3:22): (1) Why did not God want Adam to know good from evil? (2) Is it possible that there is real inconsistency here?

As we can see the correct answers to these questions imply the correct understanding of some key-terms used in the Bible passage quoted.

In an absolute sense – as the micro-context of Gen 3:22 highlights – the MT conceptual root ידע [/i//d//ɔ/ (IPA*)], included in this passage, means (like a semantic ‘formula’) ‘to understand the entailments of a thing, and to act accordingly’.

We may see some examples of this meaning.

Gen 4:1 tells us that “Adam ידע his woman”, in the final/terse sense of ‘to have sexual intercourse’. How - in this case - works the abovementioned semantic ‘formula’? Well, Adam, understood the entailments of the physiological/sexual compatibility between his body and the body of his wife (to the main purpose to make human copies of themselves), and did act accordingly.

On Jer 22:16, in a warning for king Jehoiakim, God said him to take care the cause of the poor and the needy. What - this wise conduct - did mean for that king, in the final analysis? Yahweh said (bold is mine): “He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Is not this to know [הדעת] me? declares the LORD.” (ESV) As we see clearly, to know God; did mean – for king Jehoiakim - ‘to understand the entailments of a king status (along with the power to act more effectively than the common people do), and to act accordingly’. This passage also reveal us that God wants to be known by men. He has not fear that men grasp the knowledge about Him. He desires this happen.

So, these remarks answer your question.

(1) Why did not He want Adam to know good from evil? Here God isn’t speaking about a concealment of Him of a knowledge about Him, so it can remain unreachable to men (granted, we are speaking of a affordable-by-men knowledge about God [Isa 55:8-9; Rom 11:33]). Here, He is speaking about another aspect of knowledge of ‘good’ or ‘evil’. I like to mention here the keen comment of the New Jerusalem Bible, about this topic. Explaining about the expression ‘good and evil’ in Gen 2:17 this translation note affirms (bold is mine): “This knowledge is a privilege which God reserves to himself and which man, by sinning, will usurp, 3:5, 22. Hence it does not mean omniscience, which fallen creatures do not possess […]. It is the power of deciding for himself what is good and what is evil and of acting accordingly, a claim to complete moral independence by which man refuses to recognize his status as a created being, see Is 5:20. The first sin was an attack on God’s sovereignty, a sin of pride.”

(2) Is it possible that there is real inconsistency here? No inconsistency, at all. As we have seen, God wants we have knowledge of what He considers ‘good’ and ‘bad’ (one of the main purposes of the Bible is just this), so we may decide to be guided by these moral parameters of Him.

What God see as sin is the human claim to be able to establish from ourselves what is ‘good’ and ‘evil’, a global man-made moral paradigm, aside from the divine guide. This is the original sin of humankind of ancient, and – regrettably – of contemporary humankind, too.

I hope these notes answer your questions.


  • IPA = International Phonetic Alphabet.
  • This is thoroughly Christian view on the text: original sin is a sin of pride and disobedience. We just need to obey, not judge by themselves. Yet, pretty soon God blames Kaine for killing Abel, even though God by then did not give a commandment "do not kill". We have to judge good and evil by themselves. Abraham argued with God about good and evil. Moses argued with God. And God seems to liked it. I do not accept this answer.
    – Marina
    Commented May 7, 2023 at 12:54

They are not humans but ancestors, prototype, representatives of humans. The author is showing that God did not want them to be like God, or one of us (heavenly beings). God seems to show insecurity from the power of man due to the knowledge; though it can also be interpreted as protective fear for man's own good, as a father protects his child, that God forbade him to eat from the tree of knowledge. The analogy of Adam symbolizing man's childhood is great to understand the account. Man in his childhood was innocent and pure, and on the level of the beasts for lack of moral conscience and spirituality. After eating from the knowledge, he became the grown man, having the advanced or full morality and conscience. He can now suffer pain, sin, evil and all endeavour to live life independently far from God's presence. God did not want man to suffer and attain conscience & freewill, to become like God, even though he was created in God's image. The story explains the problem of evil, absence of God & suffering in our life. It shows the purpose of our life from a mythological parable. The laws given by God in the progression of human history shows his redemptive plan to receive back God in our life, and attain life the right way.

The 4th century Saint Pelagius wrote well to describe the good purpose behind the fall of man.

When Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge they were exercising their freedom of choice; and as a consequence of the choice they made, they were no longer able to live in the Garden of Eden. When we hear that story we are struck by their disobedience to God; and so we conclude that they were no longer fit to enjoy the perfect happiness of Eden. And we should also be struck by the nature of that tree and its fruit. Before eating the fruit they did not know the difference between good and evil; thus they did not possess the knowledge which enables human beings to exercise freedom of choice. By eating the fruit they acquired this knowledge, and from that moment onwards they were free. Thus the story of their banishment from Eden is in truth the story of how the human race gained its freedom: by eating fruit from the tree of knowledge, Adam and Eve became mature human beings, responsible to God for their actions.

How is it possible, then, for an act of disobedience to God to bring such a blessing? When Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden they were like small children: they simply obeyed God's instructions without considering the moral reasons for those instructions. To become mature they needed to learn the distinction for themselves between right and wrong, good and evil. And God gave them the opportunity to become mature by putting within the garden the tree of knowledge, by which they could learn this distinction. But if God had simply instructed Adam and Eve to eat from the tree, and they had obeyed, they would have been acting like children. So he forbade them from eating the fruit; this meant that they themselves had to make a decision, whether to eat or not to eat. Just as a young person needs to defy his parents in order to grow to maturity, so Adam and Eve needed to defy God in order to share his knowledge of good and evil. By defying God, Adam and Eve grew to maturity in his image.

Letter of Pelagius to Demetrias A.D 385, From the book The Letters of Pelagius edited by Robert Van de Weyer.

  • Thank you. Saints do not belong to the Jewish tradition. The text, as you pointed out, shows jealous God, who does not want humans to be like other gods. This type of narrative we may read about Greek gods, not about God of Israel. Hence, I see the inconsistency.
    – Marina
    Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 14:51
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    Daniel 8:13 καὶ ἤκουον ἑτέρου ἁγίου λαλοῦντος καὶ εἶπεν ὁ ἕτερος And I shall hear one holy one speaking, and one holy one. Search for greek hagios, you will see the references in the Greek OT, for Saint, Heb Kadosh. What terms do you prefer then, sages? The text is ancient even older than Homer, so mythical parables are not strange, it's literary, not real pagan stuff like Greeks. You need to fix your understanding rather than rejecting the bible.
    – Michael16
    Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 15:28
  • I absolutely reject Christianity and I do not believe in Greek gods. Mostly, I have moral reasons for that.
    – Marina
    Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 16:09
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    This is a good site to begin studying about the history and connection of Christianity with Judaism biblestudying.net/history-of-judaism1.html
    – Michael16
    Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 16:36
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    @Marina "Saints do not belong to the Jewish tradition."We know that. But your rejection seemingly stems from Michael16's citation of someone referred to as "Saint". That rejection is as shallow as judging a book by its cover. Unlike most answers on BH, this one(+1) is not replete with tiresome preaching. Michael16 then quoted for you from the book of Daniel. Why do you keep bringing up the Greek gods? Lastly, the problem of evil is not unique to the Greek world. Many rabbis have written books discussing the problem of evil. Example: When Bad Things Happen to Good People, by Harold Kushner. Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 17:59


Self-Indulgent (experiential) Knowledge based on individual desires to remove dependency on sustainable commandments from our Father YHVH is wrong because we (like Chavah & Adam) would be attempting to make ourselves the moral Authority of our lives, (making humans equal to YHVH) instead of humbling our will to help sustain His natural creations.

  • Why then did Elohim allow Evil to enter Gan Eden, before Adam was setup to guard it? (Guard the Tree's fruit, Adam & Chavah. Just don't eat it.) -- In Eden, Adam & Chavah were meant to guard items that were Good (observed) and Evil (avoided).

Does YHVH experience Evil knowledge (desire for items that do not belong to Him)? - No. Everything on earth & in the heavens belongs to YHVH [Devarim 10:14], So the "elohim" who experiences Evil Knowledge is in reference to being like Angels.

YHVH requests קַיִן Qayin [Bereshit 4:7] to do Good (increasing positive works in service to YHVH by loving others, like הֶבֶל Hevel) - instead of focusing on Evil desires (like Qayin's pride/jealousy/selfishness). | Qayin's selfishness only mimicked his parents desire for non-kosher fruit in Gan Eden.

  • How would Qayin be able to do Good for YHVH, if he was not taught what deeds are Evil? - By focusing on performing the positive/negative Mitsvot, ignoring personal desires (recognition/fame/power) over God's desires.

As an Angel of Elohim so is my-lord the-king, to discern the-Good and the-Bad (כְּמַלְאַךְ הָאֱלֹהִים כֵּן אֲדֹנִי הַמֶּלֶךְ לִשְׁמעַ הַטּוֹב וְהָרָע), Shmuel II 14:17

  • Malakim recognize what is True and False, knowing what to trust and distrust.

Cognition was granted to הָֽאָדָם Ha-Adam : 'The-Human' in order to [Maintain Eden: Bereshit 2:15, Distinguish Kosher Plants: Bereshit 2:16-17, Name Animals of Eden: Bereshit 2:19 ].

  • Did Tree of Life produce lies or faith? - It produced Tsedakah [Mishlei 11:30], to help Adam maintain his faith.

Lashon Shaqer לְשׁוֹן שָׁקֶר : 'Lying (Evil) Tongue' was not granted to Adam, since malicious falsehood would lead to death (lack of trust/faith).

  • Did the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil produce faith or lies? - It produced lies (distrust) in Elohim's command by Chavah [Bereshit 3:13], along with distrust in Chavah by Adam.
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    Cognition is not the same as ability to make ethical judgements. If I understand it correctly, the tree was about ability to make ethical judgements. Is this the case? God required us to have this ability, from Kaine and so on, up to the covenant on mount Sinai. So, why should not Adam have this ability?
    – Marina
    Commented Jul 13, 2022 at 21:54
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    Why would Adam be given Doubt in Elohim by Elohim? - Trust in Elohim was/is to be maintained, like faith in our Father. Commented Jul 13, 2022 at 22:00
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    I don't understand what this answer is trying to say or how it answers the question. Please edit this to explain in much more detail.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jul 13, 2022 at 23:37
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    Good inputs but difficult to understand. Suggestions to make your answer more understandable: B"H quoted from where, so we can read the source? Finally, make your point because your text is not self - explaining.
    – Jeschu
    Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 17:09
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    B’’H (ב״ה) = Baruch HaShem. Commented Jul 15, 2022 at 1:24

The simplest answer to this question is to ask every parent the same thing about their young children.

  • Would a parent want their young child to experience abuse?
  • Would a parent want their young child to experience drug dependence?
  • Would a parent want their young child to experience physical injury from (say) bad food, chemical poisoning, car accident, etc, etc.

That is, it appears God wanted Adam and Eve to preserve their innocence. For example, a student will not be able to concentrate on proper study while the mind is distracted by drug addiction, bad music (for a music student), pornography, etc.

It is well-known that God is portrayed as the "Father" of Israel (and by extension, humanity) as per Deut 14:1, 32:6, 8 (DSS, LXX), 18, Isa 63:16, 64:8, Jer 31:9, Mal 1:6. Thus, God wanted the best for his new children in Eden.

The purpose of the Eden (the garden of pleasure) was to maximize good please and keep evil influences out of their lives and thus, maximize their fellowship with God. At the entrance of sin/evil, Isaiah records this:

Isa 59:2 - but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.

Indeed, part of the purpose of the ancient Israelite covenant was to teach a marked distinction between what is good vs evil, what is "clean" vs "unclean" as recorded by Zechariah:

Zech 13:1 - “On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the people of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.

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    Ask a parent: "Do you want your child to know what is good and what is evil?" Normal (at least, normal Jewish) parent would say: "Of course. I want him to be a good person, with good conscience. "
    – Marina
    Commented Jul 13, 2022 at 22:03
  • @Marina - I think and good parent would want the same.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jul 13, 2022 at 22:04
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jul 13, 2022 at 23:49
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    I am a Jew, and do not find Christian arguments persuasive.
    – Marina
    Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 0:18
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    @Marina - welcome to the site - glad we have a Jew here. I hope my answer did not sound too "Christian". If so, I am happy to modify the answer.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 0:21

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