Return the Fruit to God
God’s command to subdue the earth or make disciples of all nations can be thwarted by the devil by tempting us to be self sufficient not God dependent and our refusal gives us victory.

Return the Fruit to God

        When a terrorist kills innocent people or a natural calamity destroys man and material, we are left to wonder about the reasons as to why a loving God could let this happen to His beloved children. We, like the three friends of Job, blame the sufferers, the devil and his forces of darkness and others for having brought it upon themselves. We feel incompetent to handle the knowledge of good and evil that is surrounding us all around and seek God for answers. Probably this is the reason of God prohibiting Adam and Eve from partaking of the Tree of knowledge of good and evil. Even today Satan has not stopped from leading us to the same tree and make us gods rather than being subject to God.

      Why did God create the Tree of knowledge of good and evil? – At the end of six days of creation, God inspected and found it all good. But after the animals and other living beings were named by Adam as per God’s desire, the only thing not good was the loneliness of Adam. God created the good and corrected the not good by creating Eve as a mate for man. Then why did God put the tree of knowledge of good and evil among all other good things? How could God call it good and then forbid man from eating its fruit?

        God’s word to Adam thereafter was, ‘I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed, to you it shall be for food’ (Genesis 1:29). He was to enjoy everything that was given and to do that by remembering the provider and being thankful and by obeying the attached command ‘of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat (Genesis 3:17).

        What was the sin in eating the forbidden fruit? – Man was created in God’s image and likeness to exercise dominion over everything else. This involved, first, an image is required to do what the main does and not carry on in personal whims. Lord Jesus declared this obedience to the Father, ‘the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do’ (John 5:19). Second, Adam and Eve were created to follow God but not to be gods as Satan had attempted ‘I will be like God’ and be equal to Him (Isaiah 14:14). What the devil himself tried, he coaxed the woman to try the same, ‘you will be like God’ (Genesis 3:5).Third, they were given rights of dominion over everything but not ownership and only an owner has the right to judge the value of His possessions. God saw and declared everything to be very good and to judge is to have total understanding of the intricacies, which only God could handle. Fourth, God’s judgement was objective and not subjective for He was well aware of the purpose for which each thing was created. God did not desire man to be subjective in his decisions and choices for only He can handle the complexity of that, for He can and does search the hearts of man. And God can gauge the deep hidden good in a seemingly ugly thing also. The woman first listened to the serpent, then saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and then took it and it was good and desirable to make one wise and then ate it. She used the five senses in assessment, the use of which would lead to judgement being passed by each individual thus everyone establishing his/her personal standards leaving aside God’s standards leading to moral confusion.

        Why did God forbid Adam? – The tree was called the Tree of knowledge of good and evil and the Hebrew word for knowledge is ‘daath’ which is derived from ‘yada’. This same word is also used in Genesis 4:1 about union of man and wife. The tree would thus be the tree of union (instead of knowledge) between good and evil thus bringing mankind in union with sin. God knew the consequences of their action and Adam would have weeds growing with grain. I may think that I am making the right choice but may be misled into a path of moral degradation causing much fight between desire to do good and evil. For the woman, earlier all activities were value neutral but with new wisdom of sensual desire even the basic function of procreation became mixed with physical and emotional challenges.

     Why did God put the tree there in the Garden? – Mankind was given free will to choose and the temptation to move away from God must be overcome but it must be strong and worthwhile to give satisfaction in conquering it. In a boxer’s training the opponent must be equally good and only then will the training be good and even the sparring partner will improve and delight in losing to the other. The choice was between intellectual and sensual and temptation was sensual by nature but disguised with rational and objective truth. After the fall man cannot appreciate the highest level of spiritual pleasure unless there is something physical also there.  This caused awareness about their nakedness also. Lord Jesus’ temptation was visibly in the physical realm but with the spiritual linked underneath. It started with food, on to personal safety and finally about establishing His kingdom on earth. He overcame this as well as the battle in Gethsemane Park onwards right up to the cross and the grave.

     Satan was in Eden, the Garden of God and command of God was to rule over everything on the earth (Ezekiel 28:13). Even after the commission of sin by Adam and Eve this command was not changed and Cain was commanded by God, ‘sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it’ (Genesis 4:7). We are handed over the fruit of the same tree every moment by the devil to be god but what we do with that fruit is our choice, to keep or reject.

      Why did wisdom become so dangerous? – Wisdom is a very important word in the Bible for everyone’s very life centers around it. It comes from God and Scriptural command is, ‘if anyone lacks wisdom, he has to ask God and He will give it’ (James 1:5). King Solomon sought and became the wisest man. But wisdom is much more than simply knowledge, it is a relationship word. As per the Scripture there are three words for wisdom – Solomon uses the word ‘chakemah’ to say, “Does not wisdom call and understanding lift up her voice?”(Proverbs 8:1).This word is in feminine form and maybe it was used for a woman is considered more spiritual than man. Or since she gives birth to a new life, wisdom also gives birth to new ideas and insights in spiritual realm or maybe it is due to both being related to intimacy with the husband, man and/or God.

        Secondly, while mentioning the Tree of knowledge of good and evil, Hebrew word used is ‘shacal or sakal’. But this is about joining self with God and allowing Him to fill you with His hidden knowledge. Solomon had asked for this hidden knowledge but he also sought intimacy with God. Third, Lord Jesus while declaring to all those claimants of closeness to Him for having performed great wonders in His name, said, ‘I never knew you’ (Matthew 7:22) Here Greek word ‘ginosko’ is used for knowing and the same word was used by Mary in Luke 1:34 – ‘I do not know a man’ or intimate relationship with man and the word is ‘yada’ meaning knowing intimately like in a love relationship.

      Yada includes shacal also and is about knowledge gained through closeness but not necessarily intimacy which is chakemah. Eve sought shacal knowledge. When our Lord tells them to depart from Him, He implies that there was no intimacy with them either in love or in business of His Kingdom affairs. Satan wants us to have shacal knowledge. Solomon had wisdom but lacked discernment whereas Abraham did not have that much of wisdom but he had discernment so he was blessed with everything (Genesis 24:1) while Solomon turned away from God because of many wives and their gods (1 Kings 11:4). Despite the knowledge that he was blessed with, he finally declared ‘all is vanity’ (, Ecclesiastes 1:2).

      On the other hand when we read, meditate upon and understand the Scriptures under the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit we develop ‘yada’ or close relationship with the Living Word and with God the Father. Knowledge acquired from the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil lead us away for we became judgmental about everything, an act that only God should do. This placed us in union with good and evil rather than with God and any decision without the use of spiritual knowledge is bound to lead one away from God. All along in the Old and the New Testament the basic command has been to repent, seek forgiveness and return to God. It is obvious; we cannot do this without surrendering our thoughts (mind), desires (heart) and deeds to God.

         Remaining filled with Divine knowledge – We are created to be an image of God and an image has to be dependent on the main body for its very existence. Lord Jesus’ Divinity is stated as, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’ and ‘the Word became flesh and dwelt among us’ (John 1:1& 14). When God’s image in us was distorted due to our sin, He spoke to us to reveal Himself through the Prophets and when we failed to understand, He sent His Son to do this (Hebrew 1:1-2). To ensure continuation of this very close association and dialogue God showered on us His Spirit to be internal to us.

        First, Refuse the fruit – Satan wants us to be like himself and his intent was and remains ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High’ (Isaiah 14:14). He wants to be god and establish a parallel command structure in God’s creation. His inducement to Eve was for becoming like him, ‘your eyes will be opened and you will be like God’ (Genesis 3:5). Every moment in our daily activities the devil puts thoughts in our minds to manage everything under personal power and authority. The fruit is handed over to me ‘to be and remain like God’. The choices that I have are; obey and manage with self effort; or do nothing; or to hand over the fruit back to the giver or to a higher Arbitrator who can handle this. The first two choices make us self reliant and not God reliant.

        Another of Satan’s lies is, ‘God helps those who help themselves’. But such people fall in the first two categories and do not need anyone’s help, not even God’s and God would never enter uninvited. Lord Jesus stands at the door to strengthen, guide and lead us but I have to welcome Him by opening the door to me heart (Revelation 3:20). By doing this I declare that I am unable to handle things in my life and hand over the devil given fruit to God. Why should the fruit of knowledge tree be refused? – There are various reasons for this. Firstly, being the Creator God is really the owner of that fruit and secondly He alone can handle the wisdom of that fruit. Refusal to be partakers of this fruit must be done repeatedly to thwart the devil’s schemes.

     Second, way is to remember the promises of God in the Scriptures and challenge the devil’s lies by quoting the Truth of the Word. It does not mean to sit idle but to act under the authority and power of God as per the guidelines of the Scriptures. We have this promise that ‘God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes’ (Revelation 21:4), of those who hand over the fruit to Him. The Son of God suffered all that I or anyone else can ever face in this life and He assures me my problems are divinely soluble. Job’s friends thought they had all the answers but were found wanting by God (Job 42:7). I look at my place in the Father’s house for otherwise I will be destined for the ‘lake of fire’ which I would rather avoid. I would therefore rejoice under the Tree of Life and place the other fruit at the Savior’s feet.

         We are warned by God not to judge others for in doing this we use our subjective appraisal rather than an objective assessment. In obedience to this we must leave the judgement to God and extend the hand of love towards everyone. By doing this we refuse to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and escape our union with evil and retain our oneness with God. In faith, as a child of God a believer is part of God’s Divine family and we must follow the rules of heavenly kingdom rather than of Satan. Our refusal to listen to the devil’s suggestions and only heed the instructions of God in the Scripture, forces Satan to withdraw and give us the opportunity to be victorious. We are created to overcome, not to lose.  

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