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Question on Genesis 3:6- I'm trying to discern the correct interpretation of this verse; as we see, Eve saw that the fruit was good before she even ate the fruit that stemmed from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and evil. My question is as follows: How did Eve know what was "good" before eating the fruit containing the Knowledge, itself?

Genesis 3:6 NIV

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

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Isn't there some ambiguity in the word "good"? Her assessment is that the tree is "good for food", that is, likely to be enjoyable and nutricious, which is not necessarily the same thing as "morally good".

My theory on the tree is that "knowing good-and-evil" means determining the boundary between them. Mankind was aware of the difference from the beginning, but they were accepting God's verdict on where the boundary line lay. "Eating the fruit of the tree" is about claiming the right to make their own judgments on the matter. Thus they "became like God" in the sense that they were usurping his function, replacing his judgments with their own. Replacing his judgment "not-to-be-eaten" with their own "good for food" is actually the first example of this, making it a defining moment.

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  • I see; I - kind of - came to similar results; we see that the reason Eve has saw that the fruit was "good" was more intertwined with being convinced via the serpant, meaning if we took the root influence out, would she still see it as "good." But, I also noticed how earlier within Genesis, God commanded to not eat of the fruit of the tree of Knowledge, therefore hinting a possibility of understanding what can be possibly bad/evil. After Adam and Eve ate the fruit, both noticed that they were naked... one might ask, "What's bad about that?" Part 1 Commented Jan 28 at 17:49
  • It's interesting to note that something has minute as that was noticed and elicited such a response as to both Adam and Eve covering themselves... the action of covering themselves after eating the fruit versus not doing anything about their nakedness beforehand strengthens your independent clause, e.g., "Thus they "became like God" in the sense that they were usurping His function, replacing His judgements with their own..." Looking at the possible merism (Gen 3:6-7) from that perspective shows - possibly - how pride was shown that time. Part 2 ✝️ Commented Jan 28 at 18:00
  • @John Caldwell I suggest that "naked" is symbolic for "exposed to God's judgmental eye", which did not matter before they sinned. Compare Revelation ch16 v15- "lest he go naked and be seen exposed". Commented Jan 28 at 19:35
  • That's an interesting take on it; I appreciate your answers! ✝️ Commented Jan 28 at 20:51
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Gen. 3:6

The woman saw that the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eyes, and the tree was desirable for gaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it.

Knowing good and evil as applied to the Tree of that name has a special meaning. Adam and his yet-unnamed mate knew the difference between what was edible and what was not. They knew the difference between what was pleasing to eye and what was not. They were even capable of understanding how to obtain wisdom, which requires discerning between good and evil. So the "knowledge of good and evil" here must have a special meaning or God would not have forbidden eating of it.

What this special meaning might be is a matter of controversy. However, "to know" is often used in the Book of Genesis as a euphemism for sexual relations (Genesis 4:1, 4:17, 4:25). Eve knew goodness but she was sexually innocent and emotionally immature. Neither she nor her mate was ready for parenthood. Here is the view of Jacob Milgrom, former chair of Near Eastern Studies and UC Berkeley:

Much ink has been spilled over the Garden of Eden episode (Genesis 2:4b–3:24), but its meaning remains elusive. I submit, however, that there is a plain, unambiguous meaning to the story, which we can readily see by paying close attention to the text, unencumbered by the overlay of subsequent theological traditions. It is a story about sexual awareness and the creativity of which that is a part.

Eating the forbidden fruit thus symbolizes a sexual awakening prior to spiritual maturity. This view is open to challenge, especially for those who take the fruit as literal rather than symbolic. But it does reconcile the fact that Eve knew goodness prior to the Fall with the idea that she fell by coming know "know good and evil."

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Genesis 3:6 NIV

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

'Good' as perceived by Eve is a human desire, it is not necessarily an objective truth. Wisdom from God enables us to discern what is truly good, at the same time, what is evil. The knowledge of good and evil has nothing to do with what Eve perceived as 'good' to her eyes.

From a spiritual perspective, it appears that something good to human desire may not necessarily align with the wisdom of God.

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  • I see; as we see within previous texts, it shows how the serpant influenced, and convinced, Eve to thinking that the fruit was "good." I will say, I would like to ask a question to your first clause, more specifically how you said "good" was subjective towards Eve, but not necessarily the Objective Truth. With that, do you believe Adam and Eve would understand the Objective Truth without having eaten the fruit that stemmed from the Tree of Knowledge? Thanks! ✝️ Commented Jan 28 at 20:55
  • @JohnCaldwell - If God created humans with free will, then God should have foreknown that Adam and Eve would eat the fruit. Therefore your hypothesis will not stand. On the other hand, if God created humans with no free-will, then the evil one would not have been able to influence them, since they would have only followed God's orders. In this situation, truth would no longer have any meaning for them. Commented Jan 29 at 4:20
  • I'm confused as to what exactly you're referring to when you mentioned "...my hypothesis would not stand." May you elaborate and please explain how exactly your recent reply correlates to either my initial reply and/ or post? Thanks! ✝️ Commented Jan 29 at 4:29
  • Also, per my initial reply- I would appreciate if you would answer my question; based on superficial analysis, it seems as if - based on your initial post - Eve's desire is not 100% in correlation with an Objective Truth... with that, it also seems that you may be hinting on the idea of the Objective Truth being correlated with the Tree of Knowledge, which circles back to my question, e.g., "do you believe Adam and Eve would understand the Objective Truth without having eaten the fruit that stemmed from the Tree of Knowledge?" Thanks! ✝️ Commented Jan 29 at 4:33
  • @JohnCaldwell - I'm sorry to confuse you. The hypothesis is "do you believe Adam and Eve would understand the Objective Truth without having eaten the fruit that stemmed from the Tree of Knowledge". I do not have answer to this hypothesis as explained in my comment. Commented Jan 29 at 14:42
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Adam and Eve didn't know what good and evil was until they ate the fruit from the forbidden tree, which looked pleasing to the eyes when approached, and this was exacerbated by Satan who further deceived them by saying that eating it would make them wise like the elohim gods.

When the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was eaten from against God's command, it granted Adam and Eve the ability to do righteousness or wickedness, an ability that was unknown to them beforehand as they were morally innocent like children out of a womb, covered by God their maker.

The pre-fall state was morally innocent and covered by God just as the little children, who cannot discern right and wrong from birth despite having a soul placed into a fallen corruptible body. Adam and Eve fell from moral innocence when their eyes were opened by eating from that forbidden tree.

Once a child advances in maturity far enough, they cross the threshold of moral discernment and the ability to carry out sin immediately begins, whereby they also immediately need the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and to repent to God their maker through Christ's name.

This is why Christ told us to humble ourselves like a little child, and unless on humbles himself like a little child, they cannot enter the kingdom of heaven - for the kingdom of God such as children: the innocent who are righteous before God through following Christ's commandments.

For truly I tell you, the little ones and all who are humble and innocent by Christ have guardian angels that are always before the face of God our Father in heaven.

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