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Garden of Eden > Trees >

The Tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Hebrew: עֵץ הַדַּעַת טוֹב וָרָע / Etz ha-da'at tov va-ra, ) is one of two trees in the story of the 

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 in Genesis 2-3, along with the Tree of life. As to the genus of the tree, the Scriptural record is silent.

The tree of the knowledge of good and bad represented a privilege that is God’s province alone—the right to determine what is good and what is bad. Evidently, Adam and Eve got to know what was good and what was bad in the special sense of now judging for themselves what was good and what was bad. They were idolatrously placing their judgment above God’s, disobediently becoming a law to themselves, as it were, instead of obeying Jehovah, who has both the right and the wisdom necessary to determine good and bad. So their independent knowledge, or standard, of good and bad was not like that of 
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. Rather, it was one that led them to misery


The phrase in Hebrew: טוֹב וָרָע, tov V'ra translatable as good and evil, may be an example of the type of figure of speech known as merism. This literary device pairs opposite terms together, in order to create a general meaning; so that the phrase "good and evil" would simply imply "everything". It is equivalent to the Egyptian expression evil-good which is indeed normally employed to mean "everything". In Greek literature, the concept is also used by Telemachus, "I know all things, the good and the evil" (Od.20:309-10).[3] However, given the context of disobedience to God, other interpretations of the implications of this phrase also demand consideration.

In the phrase, tree of knowledge of good and evil, the tree imparts knowledge of tov wa-ra, "good and bad". The traditional translation is "good and evil", but tov wa-ra is a fixed expression denoting "everything". To Harry Orlinsky, this phrase does not necessarily denote a moral concept.[4] However, Robert Alter believes that there could be a moral connotation after all: When God forbids the man to eat from the tree of knowledge, He says that if he does so, he is "doomed to die". The Hebrew behind this, is in the form used in the Hebrew Bible for issuing death sentences.[5]
 

Religious views

Judaism

In Jewish tradition, the Tree of Knowledge and the eating of its fruit represents the beginning of the mixture of good and evil together. Before that time, the two were separate, and evil had only a nebulous existence in potentia. While free choice did exist before eating the fruit, evil existed as an entity separate from the human psyche, and it was not in human nature to desire it. Eating and internalizing the forbidden fruit changed this and thus was born the yeitzer hara, the Evil Inclination.[6][7] In Rashi's notes on Genesis 3:3, the first sin came about because Eve added an additional clause to the Divine command: Neither shall you touch it. By saying this, Eve added to YHWH's command and thereby came to detract from it, as it is written: Do not add to His Words (Proverbs 30:6).

In Kabbalah, the sin of the Tree of Knowledge (called Cheit Eitz HaDa'at) brought about the great task of beirurim, sifting through the mixture of good and evil in the world to extract and liberate the sparks of holiness trapped therein.[8] Since evil has no independent existence, it depends on holiness to draw down the Divine life-force, on whose "leftovers" it then feeds and derives existence.[9] Once evil is separated from holiness through beirurim, its source of life is cut off, causing the evil to disappear. This is accomplished through observance of the 613 commandments in the Torah, which deal primarily with physical objects wherein good and evil are mixed together.[10][11][12] Thus, the task of beirurim rectifies the sin of the Tree and draws the Shechinah back down to earth, where the sin of the Tree had caused Her to depart.[13][14]
 

Christianity

In Christian theology, consuming the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was the original sin committed by Adam and Eve that subsequently became known as the Fall of man in Genesis 2-3.

In Catholicism, Augustine of Hippo taught that the tree should be understood both symbolically and as a real tree - similarly to Jerusalem being both a real city and a figure of Heavenly Jerusalem.[15] Augustine underlined that the fruits of that tree were not evil by themselves, because everything that God created was good (Gen 1:12). It was disobedience of Adam and Eve, who had been told by God not to eat of the tree (Gen 2:17), that was obnoxious and caused disorder in the creation,[16] thus humanity inherited sin and guilt from Adam and Eve's sin.[17]

In Western Christian art, the fruit of the tree is commonly depicted as the apple, which originated in central Asia. This depiction may have originated as a Latin pun: by eating the malum (apple), Eve contracted mālum (evil).[18] It is also possible that this depiction originated simply because of the religious painters' artistic licence.
 

Islam

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2012)
See also: Tree of life (Quran)
The Qur'an does not name this tree and it is always referred to as "the tree". Muslims believe that when God created Adam and Eve, He told them that they could enjoy everything in the Garden but this tree, and so, Satan appeared to them and told them that the only reason God forbade them to eat from that tree is that they would become Angels or become immortals.

When they ate from this tree their nakedness appeared to them and they began to sew together, for their covering, leaves from the Garden. As a result of their sin, they were removed from heaven and placed on Earth to live and die. Consequently, they repented to God and asked for his forgiveness and were forgiven. It was decided that those who obey God and follow his path shall be rewarded with everlasting life in Heaven, and those who disobey God and stray away from his path shall be punished in Hell.

God in Quran (Al-A'raf 27) states: "[O] Children of Adam! Let not Satan tempt you as he brought your parents out of the Garden, stripping them of their garments to show them their shameful parts. Surely he [Satan] sees you, he and his tribe, from where you see them not. We have made the Satans the friends of those who do not believe."
 

Other cultures

The Tamil poem "Tala Vilasam"[19] recounts a legend of the tree that parallels the Biblical account. In it, the Creator Brahma finally allows the people access to the tree- which, in this case, is the palmyra palmtree Borassus flabellifer.
 

References

  1. Mitchell, T.C. (2004). The Bible in the British Museum : interpreting the evidence (New ed. ed.). New York: Paulist Press. p. 24. ISBN 9780809142927.
  2. "'Adam and Eve' cylinder seal". British Museum. Retrieved 2014-02-07.
  3. Gordon, Cyrus H.; Rendsburg, Gary A. (1997). The Bible and the ancient Near East (4th ed. ed.). New York: W.W. Norton & Co. p. 36. ISBN 9780393316896.
  4. Harry Orlinsky's notes to the NJPS Torah
  5. Alter 2004, p. 21.
  6. Rashi to Genesis 2:25
  7. Ramban to Genesis 3:6
  8. Epistle 26, Lessons in Tanya, Igeret HaKodesh
  9. ch. 22, Tanya, Likutei Amarim
  10. ch. 37, Lessons in Tanya, Likutei Amarim
  11. Torah Ohr 3c
  12. Torat Chaim Bereishit 30a
  13. Bereishit Rabbah 19:7
  14. Ramban to Genesis 3:8
  15. Augustine, On the Literal Meaning of Genesis (De Genesi ad litteram), VIII, 4.8; Bibliothèque Augustinniene 49, 20
  16. Augustine of Hippo, On the Literal Meaning of Genesis (De Genesi ad litteram), VIII, 6.12 and 13.28, BA 49,28 and 50-52; PL 34, 377; cf. idem, De Trinitate, XII, 12.17; CCL 50, 371-372 [v. 26-31;1-36]; De natura boni 34-35; CSEL 25, 872; PL 42, 551-572
  17. "The City of God (Book XIII), Chapter 14". Newadvent.org. Retrieved 2014-02-07.
  18. Adams, Cecil (2006-11-24). "The Straight Dope: Was the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden an apple?". The Straight Dope. Creative Loafing Media, Inc. Retrieved 2008-10-06.
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  19. Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge. McKenna, Terence. 1992.

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Jehovah guarded the tree of life with a flaming sword once they were kicked out of the Garden of Eden but left the other tree that would apparently kill them totally unguarded?

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Adam & Eve ate the fruit from the tree “of the knowledge of good & evil”

so..in other words, before they ate they did not know right from wrong…hmmmm so how can you blame someone who does not know right from wrong?

For a crime to take place in human law you must have the act - ‘actus reus’ - and the guilty mind or 'mens rea’ as it is termed. No guilty mind, no crime, despite the act having taken place, as in the case of a young child for example.

How could they have a guilty mind before they knew right from wrong.

 

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57157cd7eac4d_ADAMANDEVEAFTERTHEFIRSTSIN.....jpg.027bb4e28b9cb5d7d138e2788a9b5c14.jpg.d4fe542e315656675b80503faa13011a.jpg

Of  sure,  Jehovah  was  explaining  right  to  Adam  and  Eve,  bec.  after  eating,  their  life  would  be  in  danger - and  more,  they  had  to  die  after  that  ;-(  and  they  understood !  But  Satan  the  serpent,  made  them  believe  to  HIS  own  kind  of  wrong  story :(  VERY  CLEVER !  The  rest,  we're  knowing....

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I met a man while early morning witnessing along the wharf one year. I took a book mark from him that had their ten main beliefs on it. It was hard talking to him as he a cloud of cigarette smoke around him, but he was sure he had the truth ;) Not a bad guy, and eventually a good discussion. Never having met a Baha'i I took the opportunity to find out as much from him as possible about their beliefs. After explaining a little biut about God's Kingdom, I asked him what Baha'i believe the kingdom is. He replied that they believe the kingdom is a real human government that will rule the whole world. But on topic: He said they believe that the Tree was actually the brain [treetop] and the entire nervous system [root system] I'm guessing because Jesus also said men were like trees :) That the forbidden fruit was something to do with the brain. I guess we "trees" do produce "fruit" - I had always thought the fruit were the results of our actions whether good or bad. An interesting take - I think.

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On 11/19/2017 at 3:26 PM, Jay Witness said:

Adam & Eve ate the fruit from the tree “of the knowledge of good & evil”

so..in other words, before they ate they did not know right from wrong…hmmmm so how can you blame someone who does not know right from wrong?

For a crime to take place in human law you must have the act - ‘actus reus’ - and the guilty mind or 'mens rea’ as it is termed. No guilty mind, no crime, despite the act having taken place, as in the case of a young child for example.

How could they have a guilty mind before they knew right from wrong.

 

Nice point. The Mechanical Translation of the Bible renders it "what is functional and dysfunctional". His lexicon explains that the meaning of the words are about the objects ability to fulfill its purpose. So good in the sense of usefulness and function. It looks awkward seeing those words in his translation but just another perspective. He strongly believes that you can always have, just one word for each Bible language word. He's translated the first five books, quite an interesting read in parts as he provides an interlinear reading to the reader.

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On 11/19/2017 at 2:26 AM, Jack Ryan said:

before they ate they did not know right from wrong

Course they knew good from bad, otherwise why repeat God's instruction and the sanction. back to the serpent?

This is about who makes the rules, not who knows the rules.

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On 11/18/2017 at 9:26 PM, Jack Ryan said:

so..in other words, before they ate they did not know right from wrong…hmmmm so how can you blame someone who does not know right from wrong?

 

Were you really a Witness once?

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On 11/18/2017 at 9:15 PM, The Librarian said:

 in the story of the Garden of Eden ... The tree of the knowledge of good and bad represented

 

I like this.

With certain people, i don't even pretend that I take the verses literally. I have gradually come to feel that it is not necessary. I invite them to consider it as a metaphor and ask that they attempt to discern the underlying meaning.

It instantly changes the atmosphere. People love metaphors. They love to think that they are sensitive enough to figure out what the ancient writer meant. I play into it. Allow them to feel smart. 

It takes away almost nothing from the verses to give people license to view tehm this way.  And if they get the overall sense of ithe passage, they can come along later and clean up on the 'details,' such as whether it actually happened or not.

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11 minutes ago, TrueTomHarley said:

It instantly changes the atmosphere. People love metaphors. They love to think that they are sensitive enough to figure out what the ancient writer meant. I play into it. Allow them to feel smart. 

After all..... what's a meta phor?

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29 minutes ago, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

Got a metaphor about where Adam in the picture above got a razor to stay clean shaven, and where Eve got a comb and brush for her hair?

Looks like Adam shaved his chest too. As for Eve, God gave her fingers. (Answer to a question Brigitte Bardot was once asked)

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1 hour ago, Anna said:

Looks like Adam shaved his chest too.

Total Manscaping?

This brings up ANOTHER question ... when Adam eventually became 900 or so years old .. fat and flabby with droopy, saggy  or otherwise oversized pectoral fat ... where did he get a Manzeer ?

...some people calls it a Brozeer ... Ah calls it a Manzeer.

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8 hours ago, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

This brings up ANOTHER question ... when Adam eventually became 900 or so years old .. fat and flabby with droopy, saggy  or otherwise oversized pectoral fat ... where did he get a Manzeer ?

 

Stop looking in the mirror. This is Adam we're talking about.

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On 11/18/2017 at 8:25 PM, Jack Ryan said:

Jehovah guarded the tree of life with a flaming sword once they were kicked out of the Garden of Eden but left the other tree that would apparently kill them totally unguarded?

Well, what would be the purpose of guarding the tree of "good and bad" when the act of eating of it had already been committed? The death sentence had already been carried out so eating from it once more would not have them dying twice. The tree of life was to be guarded so they could not eat of it and live forever. Guarding the tree of "good and bad" because of the offspring A&E were to have would not make sense either because they would be born dying because of the defective gene pool the children would spring from. The wording in Genesis is mhoth ta muth (dying you will die) the finality of A&E's death would be a process until death would be accomplished.

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On 11/18/2017 at 9:26 PM, Jack Ryan said:

so..in other words, before they ate they did not know right from wrong…hmmmm so how can you blame someone who does not know right from wrong?

 

I like the current video on the JW Library app:    'Why Does God Allow Suffering,' the one that uses the illustration of a disruptive student constantly trying to undermine the teacher's authority, constantly asserting that he knows a better way. Other students are being swayed. The challenged teacher can order the disruptive student out of the class. That will show his power, but it will not answer the challenge. So he gives the disruptive kid the chalk.

Jack scribbles answer after cockeyed answer on the board, each time rubbing it out in exasperation, as he and everyone else sees he has nothing to offer. Finally the teacher directs him back to his seat. But from his seat he continues to post challenges on the Internet even though he ought to know better. 

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Its not a matter of knowing right from wrong ....... everybody on this forum knows right from wrong ...

Try to get the "Big Picture" in mind.

Read about the two trees three dozen times, in CONTEXT.

..... only then will you understand what the two trees really are.

 

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Guest Nicole

dos, tres árboles ??

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  • Similar Content

    • By Jack Ryan
      Genesis:
      15  Jehovah God took the man and settled him in the garden of Eʹden to cultivate it and to take care of it.n 16  Jehovah God also gave this command to the man: “From every tree of the garden you may eat to satisfaction.o 17  But as for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will certainly die.”
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