Have you ever noticed that in the Genesis story of creation there’s a prominent role given to two trees? We have the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil alongside the Tree of Life, both located in the centre of the Garden. (Genesis 2:9; 3:3)
The Tree of Life
This tree was God’s provision to meet our needs and to share his life endlessly
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil
This was God’s prohibition against humans overstepping our proper authority and domain. A recognition, that although we have been given authority there is a boundary to how far that authority can reach and be exercised. A realisation that all authority comes from God and therefore is submitted to God, we are meant to exercise our authority under God’s authority. Therefore:
To have authority one should be under authority
As part of this scene God places a “No Trespassing” sign on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Here we are to acknowledge that we are not God and that there are some things that God will keep for himself. By the way, the reason that he does this is our good.
In God’s plan only he would know good and evil. As creator he has the right to define what is good and what is evil and he knew that if we were to share that right things would become very different, as indeed they did and have.
For God, the defining of good and evil corresponds to whether something is aligned with his will and purpose.
The Vandalism of Shalom
We call this state in the Garden ‘Shalom’ – perfect peace. When humans decided that we wanted to be like God, we wanted to know all that God knew (impossible) and we wanted to judge like God alone can judge, rather than leading to life and loving relationship our actions lead to death. Shalom was shattered.
Sin according to the Genesis account is the transgression of the proper boundary. We are not satisfied being God-like in our capacity to love; we also want to become God-like in our capacity to judge. – Greg Boyd
“Do not judge.” Said, Jesus and this was the reason for the “no trespassing” sign on this tree.
When we judge we lose our capacity to love. We cannot like God balance these two things called love and judgement because our judging becomes critical assessments made from our finite and often biased perspectives.
Adam and Eve put themselves at the centre of everything rather than just receiving the life at the centre which God had provided for them. They overstepped.
Let God have what is his and what he wants, because true life flows in that place.