The Tree of Knowledge – Poison or Protection?
March 31, 2014 Bible Answers That Make Sense, Blogs, Character Development by: Tim Jennings, M.D.

I have been thinking a lot about how God is a God of love and not a cruel God. I have gotten to a point that i cant think past, What was the point of God putting the tree of the Knowledge of good and evil in the garden. I just don’t see the point in it. the only thing that could come out of that tree was death but still God put it there.

To put it into perspective its like a loving father creating the perfect environment for his new born child to live and grow, but then he puts chocolate bar in the middle of his house that he has injected poison into. Would not a loving father protect his children from death rather than putting it in the middle of their habitat?


A confused listener

Thanks for sharing how this message has been a blessing. The key to understanding the Tree of Knowledge is understanding God’s law. Do you see and understand God’s law as the design parameters upon which life is constructed, like the law of gravity, laws of thermodynamics, law of liberty, law of worship, law of love, the construction protocols for life, etc.? Or, do you consider God’s law to be arbitrary rules, like human laws, with no inherent consequence for breaking them except as arbitrarily determined, legislated, and enforced?

If we consider God’s law like human law, then we look at the Garden and wonder what is going on. We falsely conclude that God was setting them up, or God introduced something harmful in their path, just waiting for them to stumble over it.

But there was nothing poisonous about the fruit; it was not physically harmful in any way, so the analogy of the poison candy doesn’t really work. That comparison makes it appear that something dangerous and deadly was put in the garden. But this is not so. The tree was not dangerous or deadly. What was dangerous and deadly was to break trust with God, to believe lies and act on them, to deviate from His design for life, and to choose to change themselves from beings operating upon the protocols of perfect love to beings operating upon fear and selfishness.

God desired for His new creation, His new intelligent beings, to be eternally settled into the truth about Him so that nothing could ever shake them from it. He desired them to live in harmony with His law of love for all eternity. But this required them to think, evaluate, consider, and ultimately choose for themselves what they believed. They must form their own character. They were perfect, but they were inexperienced, naïve, and needed to develop their own “beliefs” based on the exercise of their own abilities. Therefore, the tree was NOT put in the garden to tempt them, but to protect and ennoble them.

Humanity was created in God’s image with the ability to love, develop, and advance based on free-will choices. The tree provided for this development, while simultaneously protecting them from constant harassment.

Satan could only approach them at the tree. If they chose to go anywhere else on planet earth, then they were free from constant assault and temptation. Only at the tree could Satan seek to deceive.

The tree also provided them with opportunity to exercise their individuality and freedom of choice and to consider the issues for themselves and come to their own conclusion and act upon it. Had they chosen to side with God and reject the lies, they would have matured, grown, developed, and advanced, just as God designed and intended. But instead they chose to believe the lies and rebel against God’s design, thus damaging themselves, infecting themselves with a terminal condition, and thereby conferring their terminal state to all humans born of their defective condition.

God in love educated them and warned them of the dangers of deviating from His design, but they believed Satan’s lies and did not believe that deviations from the way God built things to run would result in death. So they chose selfishness instead of love, and human history demonstrates the devastating consequence of this choice.

But, God did not abandon his terminal and dying human children. Instead, He sent His perfect Son, to take up our cause, to pick up humanity deformed by Adam’s sin, and cleanse, cure, overcome, and restore the species human back to God’s original design. Through Jesus Christ, we, though born defective, can partake of the Remedy, achieved singly by Christ; a Remedy that restores God’s law of love back into our hearts and minds and recreates us as beings who love God and others more than self, looking forward to the day when all creation is fully cleansed and restored to oneness with God.

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Tim Jennings, M.D. Timothy R. Jennings, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist, master psychopharmacologist, Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Fellow of the Southern Psychiatric Association, and an international speaker. He served as president of the Southern and Tennessee Psychiatric Associations and is president and founder of Come and Reason Ministries. Dr. Jennings has authored many books, including The God-Shaped Brain, The God-Shaped Heart, and The Aging Brain.