Summary: A tree in the garden did in Adam and Eve and allowed sin to gain it’s hold on us. But it was another tree, the one Jesus was nailed to, that rescued us from death.
Can’t See the Forest for the Tree
I’m here to tell you, Adam and Eve had it made. They lived in a perfect world
created by the hand of God. They had unlimited access to God and full enjoyment
with only one stipulation. Adam and Eve could eat the fruit of any of the trees in the
garden, except one. Let’s look at God’s instructions to Adam in Genesis 2:15-17:
“The Lord God put the man in the garden of Eden to care for it and work it. The
Lord God commanded him, ‘You may eat the fruit from any tree in the garden, but
you must not eat the fruit from the tree which gives the knowledge of good and evil.
If you ever eat fruit from that tree, you will die!’”
Of course there had to be the proverbial fly in the ointment. There was also a sneaky
serpent in the garden, and he was up to no good, as usual. Look at what Genesis
3:1-5 tells us:
“The snake was craftier than any of the other animals that the Lord God had made.
One day it came to the woman and asked, ‘Did God tell you not to eat from any tree
in the garden?’
The woman answered, God said we could eat fruit from any tree in the garden,
except the one in the middle. He told us not to eat fruit from that tree or even to
touch it. If we do, we will die.
‘No, you won’t!’ the snake replied. ‘God understands what will happen on the day
you eat fruit from that tree. You will see what you have done, and you will know the
difference between right and wrong, and you will be like God.’”
Isn’t that just like Satan? Always making things sound good. Asking questions,
making you doubt. And of course Satan is always full of promises......"oh, it’s only
one drink"..."c’mon, everybody else is doing it"...."it will make you feel good." It’s
kind of amazing how not much has changed.
Let’s take a closer look at these words of scripture. They raise a good many
questions, questions I will try to answer here today.
Why did God put Adam to work in the Garden? (Gen. 2:15)
He put him there to dress the garden and keep it, making horticulture, or gardening,
the first kind of employment on record. Sure, God made all the plants in the garden,
but they would need attention later to continue to grow and thrive. Plus, even in this
state of perfection, Adam wouldn’t have been happy for long if he was doing
nothing. In fact, none of us were put into this world to be idle. God gave Adam
work to do which contributed to his happiness.
Why did God make a tree (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) just to
tempt Adam? (Gen. 2:17) Was this tree really necessary? Yes, I think it was,
because for Adam to have free will, there had to be a choice - an opportunity to not
choose what God desires for us. If there is never a command, never something
forbidden, then there can never be choice, and God wants our love and obedience to
Him to be the love and obedience of choice. Look at the advantages Adam had: he
only had one way that he could sin. We have countless ways; there are many trees
of temptation in our lives. But Adam had only one.
How could he know his relationship with God was of his own free will if he didn’t
have the choice to disobey? When God made everything He declared it good. Adam
was surrounded by only good. But he had a temptation to deal with. God gave
Adam a very simple, clear choice. “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden;
BUT of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day
that you eat of it you shall die.” I think we all know the choice that Adam made and
it wasn’t the correct one.
Why did Satan choose to launch his attack against Eve? (Gen 3:1)
Satan was watching Adam and Eve (just like he watches us today), and he saw that
Adam probably didn’t do a very good job of communicating to Eve what God had
told him. Strother Martin, as the warden in “Cool Hand Luke” said, “What we have
here is failure to communicate.” That failure by Adam made Eve vulnerable to
Since she did not receive the command to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of
good and evil directly from God, like Adam, the serpent decided that Eve was the
weakest link. That’s how Satan works. He attacks a chain at it’s weakest link.