God loves us and always has our best interest foremost in mind regardless of our current circumstances. This goes for both trials and temptations. I’ve always been curious as to why the same Greek word in the first chapter of James is at one point translated as various “trials” and then later as various “temptations.” Trials and temptations have one main thing in common. They both lead us into doubting God’s good intentions toward us. A trial, a pain, a sickness, a loss of a loved one, or a plethora of other maladies will challenge our faith in God’s love and care for us. Temptations on the other hand lead us to question whether God really does love us if he’d keep something good from us. The temptation that Eve faced in the Garden was about God’s love and care for her even though he withheld something from them. Genesis 3:6 tell us that Eve saw that the fruit was good for food. Maybe Satan ate it and showed her. She then noticed that it was beautiful, or delightful, delectable, when just looking at it. Exell explains the last thing Eve noticed, “The test selected was the taking of the fruit of a tree …which was good for food, desirable to the eyes, and in some mysterious sense described as a ‘tree desirable to make one wise.’” [1]

What did Eve want so desperately to know? The Mormons argue that it was knowing how to have children. They look back to God’s command to “Be fruitful and multiply” and suggests that Eve was frustrated by her inability to have children she thought that eating from this fruit would be the answer. But Satan never even suggested that eating the fruit would make her reproduce, but just make her wise. For a full discussion of a Mormon understanding of this check out this website blog.[2] Adam and Eve had a sincere desire for children but could not conceive because they did not “leave the garden.” In order to fill the earth they had to leave the garden. God would not allow children unless they left.  Quoting from the Book of Mormon, Here’s what the website says, “But, if Adam and Eve had stayed in the garden of Eden, ‘they would have had no children’ (2 Nephi 2:23). Adam and Eve were given two irreconcilable commandments: have children and don’t eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”

Murphy suggests, “Appetite, taste, and philosophy, or the love of wisdom, are the great motives in the human breast which fancy assumes this tree will gratify. Other trees please the taste and the sight. But this one has the preeminent charm of administering not only to the sense, but also to the reason.”[3] Food is a good thing. Beauty is a good thing and wisdom is a good thing. Paul instructs his young disciple who faced these same temptations, especially the one for wisdom. In 2 Timothy 3:14-15, He says, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” Real wisdom for Paul, was the revealed will of God expressed in the Scriptures.

[1] Exell, Joseph S. n.d. The Biblical Illustrator: Genesis. Vol. 1. The Biblical Illustrator. London: James Nisbet & Co.

[2] https://kindlylight.wordpress.com/2017/03/05/a-tree-to-be-desired-to-make-one-wise/

[3] Murphy, James G. 1873. Notes on the Old Testament: Genesis. Boston: Estes and Lauriate.