What was the purpose of the tree of knowledge of good and evil?

Watch the complete sermon here: https://www.bridges.church/messages/the-goodness-of-rules-genesis-2-7-9-15-17/

Hey, thanks again for sending in questions related to our recent sermons. Last week we talked about the goodness of rules in the creation story and that God gave a rule before anything had gone wrong. Before there was a rift between God and humans, there was still a rule. When fullness of life as all that there was on the earth, there was still a rule. Which means, of course, rules must be part of the fullness of life.

The question is, why put the tree in the garden? If God knew, of course, because he knows all things. If he knew where it would lead, if he knew it would lead to the fall of man, if he knew man would disobey, break the rule, sin would enter the world. Why put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden? What is its purpose?

And of course, scripture doesn’t tell us why the tree was put there fully. We can make some inferences about it based on other verses. We know that it must have been good. It has a good purpose because in Genesis chapter one, God looks around at all that he made, and he says, everything I made is exceedingly good, which included a tree. So it wasn’t evil, it wasn’t wicked.

He didn’t put it there for some evil purpose. We also know he didn’t put it there to tempt man in the sense that God would want man to fall. It can’t be that, because James chapter one, God doesn’t tempt any of us. God is not tempted by evil, nor does he tempt man with evil. And so God’s point in anything is not to lead us to evil.

That would be, I think, the best definition of temptation. Similarly, one Corinthians ten, anytime that we are tempted, not by God, but anytime we are tempted, God provides a way out under it to escape the temptation. So God’s desire would not have been for man to fall. So we know it’s not that purpose. It would be a guess, but it could be a test.

And the test difference between temptation and test seems to be as James one also uses the word test. When you experience trials of many kinds, when you experience a testing of your faith, consider it pure joy, right? And so those are actually, it’s interesting, the same word in Greek, test and temptation. But it seems to be in the same way that we would use. Maybe the same word is one has a good hope in it, like we want to see success, right?

Or are we tempting because we want to see failure? And we know God was not tempting in the sense that he would want man to act in an evil way. We know that is not the purpose, but maybe, and we can’t say for sure that God wanted man to display goodness and trust in faith in him. And so maybe that’s why he put the tree. So we know some reasons why he didn’t.

One possible reason that he did. And knowing whatever the purpose was, it was good. Because everything is good. Thanks for the question, and we’ll see you next time. Bye.