It isn’t knowledge we need more of, it’s trust

In Genesis 2 a man was given the job of taking care of a garden of God’s making. Inside that garden – and again of God’s making – was a tree named ‘Knowledge of good and evil’, and anyone eating off it would die.

So if you were that man, landed with the job of caring for God’s garden, and here was this tree that could kill people, what would you have done? You’d clearly want to keep people away from it, right? Which is exactly what God wanted the man to do, because in telling him to “take care” of the garden, he meant guard and protect it.

The same wording is used of the cherubim guarding the tree of life in Genesis 3, so no one could eat off that tree either. The cherubim were doing for the tree of life, therefore, what the man should have been doing for the tree of good and bad – keeping people away from it.

So why didn’t the man build a large rock wall round the tree with big signs all round it saying, “Keep out or die,” and stand on guard like a sentry warning anyone who got too close to move away from there? If he’d viewed that tree with the same seriousness God viewed it with, think how different things would be now.

But a serpent – again of God’s making – took the seriousness right out of it, by asking what harm there could possibly be in knowing good and evil, and why God would prevent humans from knowing what he knew. It’s a good question worth answering, which explains why God created a serpent to ask it, because humans have always been faced with having to figure out what’s good and what’s bad, so wouldn’t it be a great idea for humans to have the same ability God has to discern between the two?

But the answer from God, is “No, it’s not a good idea,” because keeping evil out of this world doesn’t depend on knowing what’s evil and what isn’t, it depends on trusting him, a point he got across when Adam didn’t trust him, and look what happened: Evil weaseled its way past the man and entrenched itself permanently in their world.

And unfortunately that’s how evil has been weaseling its way into our world and messing things up ever since too, through humans who believe they can figure out good from bad themselves, rather than trusting in God. Think what might have happened instead in World War 2, therefore, if millions of Christians had trusted God rather than deciding it was good to kill people, including their fellow Christians.


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