As a professional student (that's what I consider myself) I am well acquainted with the phrases "There are no stupid questions" and "the only stupid question is the one not asked." With that idea in mind, allow me to ask some questions. The first question is was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil actually two separate trees? Did it have two types of fruit?
Genesis 2:16-17 records, "And the Lord God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die." From this passage the answer to my first question is apparently there is only one tree. It also doesn't record multiple fruits on the one tree. It's not like these modern trees that grow all types of different fruits from one plant.
Notice, the word "fruit" is not found in the actual Bible verse, so maybe I'm asking the wrong question altogether. Maybe the question that needs asking is "what does the tree represent?" We might also ask how one might eat from the tree. My whole life I've seen this illustrated using an apple, but the text does not actually state there was what fruit was on the tree.
Fruit is not mentioned until the 3rd chapter, and the person mentioning the fruit isn't God. The 47th chapter of Ezekiel specifically mentions fruit trees, so we know that the Bible is able to get down to that level of detail. Why is it that fruit is not mentioned when God is speaking in Genesis 2? Remember, there are no stupid questions.
Would it be acceptable to eat the leaves of the tree if they avoided the fruit? Was Adam allowed to cut the tree down and use it for the campfire? What would have happened if Eve planted the fruit and grew more trees?
Honestly, as much as I enjoy pondering those types of questions, the result of a discussion on them would be fruitless. Sorry. I couldn't help it. I enjoy my sense of humor. I do have a serious question that I'd like you to really think about. Why have we separated good from evil?
Christians today have become obsessed with "good." It's almost as if the two trees in the garden were the tree of good and life, and the tree of evil. According to the Bible, the true distinction in God's sight isn't between good and evil. In fact, good and evil are apparently the same fruit, two sides of the same coin. Whoa!
Fruit is defined as "the result or reward of work or activity." Fruit can also mean "offspring." Why would it be that the offspring of good and the offspring of evil bring about the same result? How can God, the righteous judge, just lump good and evil together in one bunch? Surely good is good, right? We should strive for good and forsake evil, shouldn't we? What if we've not only asked the wrong question, but also undertaken the wrong pursuit.
What if life was meant to be lived apart from the constant quandary of wondering what's right and wrong? What if God's desire for us wasn't that we live be a prescribed set of do's and don'ts? Is it possible that the dichotomy on which the world is balanced wasn't God's plan?
I submit to you the possibility that life is greater than good and evil. After all, both concepts are completely subjective. Is it good to own a car? Is it evil to allow kids to starve while riding around in comfort…polluting the air? Can we ever truly come to the zero-point of either good or evil?
Consider this, can God truly be good and also allow evil to exist? Can an all-powerful being who allows even the most miniscule amount of suffering truly be good? These are tough questions.
What if our idea of good isn't God's idea of good? What if what we deem evil isn't actually evil in the sight of God? What if life was intended to simply be - without the duality of right and wrong?
Again, I submit to you the possibility that humanity is not designed to bear the weight of the knowledge of good and evil. Jesus tells His followers that his burdens are light and easy. This same Jesus explains that He came to bring that we would have life. Examine His teachings closely. You won't ever find Jesus bringing knowledge of good and evil. He identifies Himself as "life." John notes that Jesus was full of grace and truth. Why is that?
When called "good" in Mark 10, Jesus responds with apparent agitation, exclaiming, "No one is good - except God alone." Then He cites the commandments. It seems to be something in that notion of good that struck a nerve with Jesus. Why? It is possible that the reason for this is because life does not stem from good?
Jesus IS life. Knowing Jesus and the God who sent Him is eternal life (John 17:3). While we have only begum scratching the surface of this vast topic, my hope is that I've gotten you to ask more questions than I could possibly answer.
We can rest soundly in knowing that our Father, God, is good. He has given us His life. We don't have to wonder whether or not something is good. We can be confident in knowing that if "it" is life giving then "it" is for us.
There is much more to say, but now it's time to question the next question...