The Knowledge of Good and Evil ~ Genesis 2:8-17
Genesis to Revelations Series

Scripture Readings: Genesis 2:8-17 

As we begin to read this passage we see God plants a garden east of Eden and in that garden He places the man that He formed.  The word "formed" in it's original Hebrew is 'yatsar' pronounced yaw-tsar'.  It means through the squeezing into shape; to mold into a form; especially as a potter; to fashion, form, frame, to purpose.  We see again the repetition of intimacy in man's design.  In our last lesson we discussed God's speaking the heavens and earth into existence, but His intimately involved workmanship of creating mankind.  God is good.  God loves every human being and created each one of us with specific purpose.

Genesis 2:8-17  "And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.  And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.  The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.  And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.  And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.  And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.  And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

Reading further we see that God has caused every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food to grow out of the ground.  He created the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil and both were in the midst of the garden.  It has been said that the tree of life was in the middle of the garden, but there is no way to know exactly where the tree was located.  The word 'midst' can either mean center or amongst the garden.  It also doesn't matter.  A river flowed out of Eden, eastward, to water the garden.  From the garden it broke into the start of four rivers, Pison, Gihon, Hiddekel and the Euphrates.  Each of these rivers encircled lands and provided various types of resources.

We see that God formed man and then placed Adam in the garden east of Eden.  The reason He placed Adam in this garden was so that Adam could maintain it and freely enjoy it.  The Lord gave Adam permission to eat from every fruit bearing tree in the garden EXCEPT one specific tree.  The tree of knowledge of good and evil was off limits.  God told Adam that if he ate from that tree he would die.  At this point Adam already began to add information to God's instruction and teaching.  In Adam's mind, if he ate from the tree, he would immediately die, physically, but this was not what God told Adam specifically.  An important point to remember when seeking God's wisdom and following after Christ is to remember not to add to or take away from God's Word.  When we begin to do so we begin to set ourselves up to be easily overcome by temptation.  We close the doors of our minds in some ways and open them in wrong ways.  We make assumptions that can cause us to become close-minded to the very things of God.  We must take God's Word for what it says and do not add to or subtract from it.  If we don't fully understand Him, we should seek answers in prayer with Him.  

It in interesting also that in this passage we see that God has made every provision Adam could possibly need to care for and enjoy the garden where he was placed by God.  The rivers, the resources, the food, the animals were all valuable in some way to Adam and he truly had all that he needed (especially after God created Eve).  The tree of knowledge of good and evil having been placed in the garden was placed there by the very goodness of God.  You may wonder, "Why would a tree of death be good for God to place in the garden.  Does God tempt man?"  No God does not tempt us, but God provides us all with freewill, the freedom to choose Him or deny Him.  See, God's love for us is intrinsic in nature.  This means He does not merely love us for what we do, but for who we are. He desires this kind of love from us as well.  He does not use us like robots and program us to just do His will regardless of what we choose.  He is so holy and good that He would provide us the opportunity to run away from Him even if it is the worst thing we could do.  He allows us to choose Him, not be forced like subjects to serve Him.  See what God wants from us is our love, a real true self directed love.  God, who has need for nothing, DESIRES us and if we had no choice in the matter what kind of God would He really be?   So here God has given Adam all that Adam needs and provided him also with freewill to make the best or the worst of it.  In the verses to come we'll see what choices Adam has made with his freedom.