In the beginning did God think, "It is harmless for Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, I just don't want them to, so I'll make a pointless rule about them not being allowed to eat of it. If they break that rule I'm going to call what they've done sin because it made me mad and I will have them and all of their generations suffer for ticking me off."
Was not eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil a pointless rule that when broke would curse all of mankind? Was God being petty and cruel or was God wise enough to know that having the knowledge of good and evil is destructive to us?
Only God can properly handle having the knowledge of good and evil. God didn't create us to know good and evil He created us to know Him and be in relationship with Him. We often camp out at Jesus taking the penalty for our sin and unwittingly focus on our sin (which Christ took away) but we partake in Jesus' life in the resurrection. He took away our sin but most of us don't realize that. We focus on our sin and our knowledge of good and evil. Our sin is away and our life in Christ is here. Which is better to focus on what is away or on what is here? That which was taken or that which was given?
Man ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and that is what brought sin into the world. Jesus died on a tree. Sin was brought in by a tree and sin was taken out on a tree. Christ died to the knowledge of good and evil so we don't have to live by that. Our life is not to be about "doing good and abstaining from evil." It is to yield to Jesus and trust Him to live through us.
The knowledge of good and evil gets in our way of knowing Jesus Christ the tree of Life. We are to "throw off the sin that so easily entangles us and fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our trust/faith in Him, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising its shame" (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Shame is the result of living by the knowledge of good and evil. Shame is what caused Adam and Eve to hide from God in Genesis 3:8. Before they ate from the tree in Genesis 2:25 it says that they were not ashamed. In Genesis 3:10 Adam says they hid from God because they were afraid of God. Shame and fear cause you to hide from God. I cannot emphasize enough how universal, absolute, and real that truth is, shame and fear cause you to hide from God. Shame is what makes you think you have lost favor with God. Shame is the opposite of grace. When you live by the knowledge of good and evil you will feel shame, you will have fear, you will feel guilt, you will judge yourself harshly, you will judge others harshly.
We are not branches of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We are branches on Jesus, the tree of life. We live by His life by trusting Him. When we judge ourselves and others by our knowledge of good and evil we will be miserable and cruel. When we consider ourselves living to God in Christ Jesus we will experience God's love and will be loving to others.
Eve said in Genesis 3:13, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Today we eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because we are deceived by the serpent. Christ came to reverse the spiritual effects of the fall of man in the garden. When Jesus raised to life He came out of the tomb and into a garden. We were raised with Him. We are in that garden also. The garden of His life, love, grace, and righteousness.
Romans 6:6-11 says, "Our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin for we have died and are freed from sin. Because we died with Christ, we trust that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, consider yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus."
Since it says to consider "in the same way" let us look at the "same way."
Since you were raised from the dead you cannot die again, death has no mastery over you. Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who trusts in Me will live even if he dies." (John 11:25)
The death you died, you died to sin once and for all; but the life you live, you live to God. Consider yourself dead to sin because you are. Consider yourself alive to God in Christ Jesus because you are.
Jesus wants us to feast on Him. He is the bread of life, He is the tree of life and He is our life. God doesn't want you to try to be good. Trying to be good is eating from the wrong tree, the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God wants you to let His life live through you. That is eating from the tree of life.
God said to Adam that if he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he would die. "The sting of death is sin; and the power of sin is the law. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ!" (1 Corinthians 15:56-57).
Here are some highlights from Romans 6-7:
Sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. You are under God's favor. You have been set free from sin. Law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives. You died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to Jesus who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. We have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code (the law, obligation, knowledge of good and evil). Thanks be to God, who delivers us through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Our Lover and His Bride
Let's look back at Genesis 2:22-25 & 3:21-23, "The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, "This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed."
"The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken."
Ephesians 5:29-32 says, "Christ feeds and takes care of His body, and we are members of His body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the Assembly."
Jesus said in Matthew 19:4-6, "The Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate.”
Colossians 3:1 says, "You have been raised with Christ." Genesis 3 is referred to as the fall. When Christ rose He lifted us up. Let us now take a look at Genesis 2 and 3 through the lens of the new covenant and through the eternal eyes of Christ.
"The Father fashioned His Son's bride out of His Son, and brought her to His Son. The Son said, "This is now spirit of my spirit, and mind of my mind.” For this reason the Son left His Father in Heaven, to be joined to his wife; and they shall become one as the Father and Son are one. And there is no shame."
"The Son sacrificed His skin, His flesh to clothe His wife with Himself. Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the woman has become like one of Us, and now, she can stretch out her hand, and take from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever!”"