Theology Thursday

Q. 15. What was the sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein they were created?

A. The sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein thy were created, was their eating the forbidden fruit.

Westminster Shorter Catechism

Well they did love to break it down these Catechism writers. Ok, so Adam & Eve ate the forbidden fruit. But what was it about the forbidden fruit? The Genesis account seems to suggest that there were two issues.

First of all, the obvious. Fruit is bad. No… forbidden fruit is bad. No matter what the fruit was apple, orange, mango. It was forbidden. The point was, trust me.

On another level though. There does seem to be some indication in the language of ‘knowledge of good and evil’ that suggests more is going on than simply black and white obedience/disobedience. 

When they eat the fruit, their eyes are opened and for the first time recognise nakedness. God will later in Genesis 3 say that “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil”. It seems that the tree imparts some new ability in Adam & Eve to recognise good and evil where before they couldn’t. 

Perhaps something akin to a child understanding for the first time good/evil, as opposed to the innocence they had previously enjoyed. But again, what is the significance of this?

Well, according to C. John Collins, 
“God intended that through this tree humans would come to know good and evil: either from above, as masters of temptation, or from below, as slaves to sin.”

So, in this idea, Adam & Eve were always going to gain the knowledge of good and evil. Instead of mastering temptation and receiving this knowledge as a reward, it became a curse to them and us.

Another possibility is that the forbidden fruit is symbolic (as well as literal) for becoming arbiters of good and evil. Rather than a state of innocence, now Adam & Eve will be ‘like God’ in that they will declare what is good and evil (which is to attempt to usurp God).

A few possibilities there. But in any case. It was because they ate the fruit that sin entered the world.

For Today:
  • What is a ‘forbidden fruit’ that you are tempted to disobey God for?
  • What sin has caused you the most pain in life?
  • What does it look like to trust God today?

  • Praise the Father that He is God and the true standard of good.
  • Give thanks for Jesus who undoes the sin of the garden.
  • Ask God for His Holy Spirit to help you and others resist temptation and honour God with our lives.

Genesis 3, Romans 5.

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