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Listening to Our Hunger

“You will be like God, knowing good and evil,” the serpent promised.

There is no consensus among Old Testament scholars as to what the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil actually granted. We can say though, that what Adam and Eve thought they were getting by eating the fruit of this tree was not what they actually got.

It seems like acquiring the discernment to know and choose between good and evil would be a good thing. When we grow up from little humans into bigger ones this is what our parents hope for us, that we will one day transition from simple obedience to the rules, to doing what is right because we value its moral goodness.

Whatever the tree gave Adam and Eve though, it wasn’t moral discernment, and certainly not as executed by the just and loving hand of God. The consequence of eating of that tree was an unraveling of relationship, human to human and human to God. In an instant they knew guilt, shame, and then blame. Adam throws Eve, and even God, under the bus – “It was the woman you gave me!” And from that moment forward, human history devolves into brokenness. In the next chapter the first murder happens when Cain kills Abel, and by the time of Noah, wickedness and evil are so prevalent in humanity that God decides to undo it all.