Ok, I know that we don’t know what kind of fruit was on that tree… but it is irrelevant. But what if I told you that Adam and Eve weren’t perfect when God created them? Impeccable? Yes. Flawed? No. Evil? Absolutely not. But they weren’t perfect. Perfect means that there is no room for improvement. A 100% test score usually indicates perfection (depending on the test) because all the answers circled were correct. All the answers were right; therefore, nothing can be improved upon.
But what about Adam and Eve? They were sinless. At the moment of creation, they hadn’t done anything wrong. So how were they imperfect? Here is my answer: Adam and Eve had knowledge of Good and Evil, or rather theoretical knowledge. They didn’t know obedience by experience. They didn’t know evil by experience. They hadn’t rejected evil. They stood to gain something at the point of their creation. God, in His infinite wisdom, decided to create man and woman and allow them to freely choose Him or reject Him with one simple commandment.
This is where it gets interesting. When I was younger, I used to think that to not eat the fruit was the ONLY rule in the garden. Not so. Man had the moral code inside of him. Taking murder as an example, he not only knew it was wrong, but felt 0 inclination to commit that sin. In order to test man, God used one of His good creations, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, to test them. God instituted a fast, so to speak. A fast, in proper understanding, is abstaining from something that isn’t inherently sinful. The fruit wasn’t sinful. God put on a disciplinary rule. A rule He had to communicate towards man, since it wasn’t something covered in the natural law.
Man had something to gain by this fast. Upon the successful completion, they would know, by experience, good and evil. Man would have gained experience by choosing good over evil, and in a spiritual way, would have partaken of it. It is my opinion that God wouldn’t have kept that tree off limits. In fact, I think the only reason it had that name was not because the fruit had any magic properties. The fruit didn’t make them smarter. The fruit didn’t enlighten them. The fruit didn’t fill them with sin. That fruit didn’t do anything. However, it was the action which was the real fruit – which in this case was the fruit of the experiential knowledge of evil. That fruit poisoned and corrupted Adam and Eve. They broke the fast, and all hell broke loose.
There is a key player we haven’t mentioned yet. The serpent. The serpent was an outside force of evil. Why? The serpent was actually Satan. He had already made his decision to go against God. As we know, Adam and Eve sinned because of the serpent’s lies. Because of this, God extended His mercy to us. I will forgive you if you repent, and I will save you. But, you will still feel the effects of your actions. Woman’s labor pains were increased, and they were cursed to always desire the power of her husband. We have seen that occur today with the abortion lobby and the 3rd wave feminist movement. Women have the tendency now to want to abandon their motherly vocation and try to be a father instead. They cry for equality, while simultaneously hating and making men want to “pay.” They will even kill their own unborn children to assert their equality with and/or superiority over men.
Man was punished too. Men were cursed to have to labor to till the Earth for food. Does that just apply for farmers? Ever notice that many married women want to be in the workplace, so they can support themselves if they leave their husbands? She is praised as being brave and standing up for equality. What if a man wants to be a stay at home dad while the wife works? He is criticized severely for being a deadbeat. It is ok if a woman wants to be a housewife but not ok for a man to be a househusband according to the cultural norms. This is part of it! The field man must till isn’t just a field. It could be working at the office long hours for little pay. Working hard to just make a living. That is the curse. Our work likely produces little fruit in the terms of material needs.
But wait. These punishments don’t make sense. If God wanted to save us, why would He make us miserable? Why wouldn’t the punishments be rehabilitative? The thing is, they actually were. Let us look at the woman’s punishment. Her sin was that she wanted to be like a god. She wanted authority. She wanted power. She didn’t want to be under anyone anymore. Not her husband, not God. So that punishment was so that she would embrace humility. Humility is what would save her. It was to weaken her to turn to God. And the childbearing pain? Who said it was physical as in the actual act of going into labor? What about knowing that you were the reason that the little one you bore would be immersed in sin? Or the pain experienced when they sin against you or do something evil and wrong. That would be to give a taste of the pain God experienced when He saw his creation turn against Him.
And man? It was not as if Adam was just standing by Eve and didn’t know what he was doing. Adam isn’t off the hook. The thing is that Adam had a duty to protect Eve – and he didn’t. Therefore, Adam’s punishment affects both man and woman. The duty to till the Earth with little fruit would mean less materials to rely on. How is this fitting or rehabilitative?
Man turned away from God by seeking the material good of the fruit. The fruit was worth turning away from God in Adam’s eyes. He didn’t need God. Not only would he possess the knowledge of good and evil, but now he would be freed from the “curse” of obeying God. This is why the punishment was rehabilitative. Man refused to accept a fast. The purpose of a fast, as I stated in my previous post, is to soften our hearts, turn to God, and embrace Him over material goods. By making it harder for Adam to acquire food means that man would go hungry repeatedly. Thus, in the absence of these materials, man could more easily turn to God.
So, as we see, fasting isn’t a punishment due to sin. Fasting is rehabilitative for our sinful nature, and fasting, no matter how sinless you are, is a good way to get closer to God. After all, fasting and working existed before the fall. Why should we reject fasting and working just because Christ redeemed us for our sins?