God gave Adam and Eve every tree in the Garden to be their food. Kissling writes, “The generosity of the Lord God is shown by the abundance of desirable trees in comparison with the single prohibited tree. It is only in light of that generosity that the prohibition of one tree is given.”[1] God continues his address to Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:17 and says, “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” I find it interesting that the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was good, like everything else God created (cf. Gen. 1:11-12, 31). More than this, it was very desirable: “And out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Gen. 2:9). It is no wonder, then, that Eve was attracted to the “forbidden fruit”: “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate” (Gen. 3:6).[2]

The current movement to defund the police and to go easy on crime from the perspective of the far left in our government is based on the systematic unfairness of our society. The argument is that the poor, the unenfranchised of our country are just expressing their dissatisfaction with their situation. The jails, and the ghettos and the tenements make criminals of people. If the country increases benefits to the poor and is lenient on crime it will solve the sociological injustices. “The attractiveness of the garden was in harmony with all else that God had created and concerning which He had said it was ‘very good.’ The evidence (regarding the impact of environment on criminal activity) points unmistakably to the fact that a poor environment tends to encourage all manner of evil.” But then he observes, “The situation in which the first man was placed could not by any reasoning have been a contributing cause of his failure.”[3]

I like the way Exell puts it. He says, “Man is not to do as he likes in this world. God places him under moral restrictions, which are for his welfare, but which he has the ability to set aside. There are certain trees in the world, of whose fruit we are not to eat.”[4] Having these “forbidden” zones in life is the only way man is free. Roop says it very well, “The freedom requires known boundaries. No freedom exists without limits. If we could only do one thing, e.g., eat from all the trees, that would not be freedom. Freedom must include genuine choice, choice that matters. If God had left the tree out of the garden, there would have been no disobedience, but also no freedom to choose. Hence the provision of freedom includes one tree from which the person may not eat, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”[5]

[1] Kissling, Paul J. 2004–. Genesis. The College Press NIV Commentary. Joplin, MO: College Press Pub. Co.

[2] Deffinbaugh, Robert. n.d. Exodus Commentary.

[3] Chafer, Lewis Sperry. 1944. “Anthropology.” Bibliotheca Sacra 101: 264.

[4] Exell, Joseph S., and Thomas H. Leale. 1892. Genesis. The Preacher’s Complete Homiletic Commentary. New York; London; Toronto: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[5] Roop, Eugene F. 1987. Genesis. Believers Church Bible Commentary. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press.