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'Christ in You...'

    by Dale Krebbs

That Tree
Date Posted: June 11, 2023

Several weeks ago I wrote an article for this column entitled "A Legacy of Eden" (see the Archives), in which there was a discussion of Adam and Eve, and the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil". It addressed some of the consequences this had for men and women down through history until now, with the main focal point on marriage, together with being single, and men and women in general.

This week we will look at the scope of the consequences for humanity and our world today, as it has and IS impacting all of us - every moment.

We are looking at the most consequence intense event of all history! It is difficult to imagine anything more all encompassing in scope and magnitude. The great flood of Genesis 6,7 was worldwide in effect, but even that was the result of the events surrounding this tree. When the events of that time are mentioned in conversation, it is many times couched in humorous tones, as though it is just all fiction anyway. Although, some admit that some of the "story" is really "true to life", or maybe even "stranger than fiction"! No fiction could begin to compare to this event. The latter phrase is closer to being correct.

By eating of this tree, Adam and Eve set in motion a chain of events truly impossible to grasp. It undoubtedly would take more books than the world could hold (to borrow a phrase from the Apostle John - John 21:25) to even begin to commence to start to embark upon an attempt to fathom them! There is an interesting parallel here. John supposed that the world could not hold the wonderful acts of Jesus during His time on earth. At the other extreme, I suppose that the world can not hold the magnitude of the evil acts the eating of this tree set in motion! Now, it is ONLY JESUS who can undo it all...but that’s getting ahead of things a bit.

The NAME of the tree is very interesting and VERY revealing. Think for a moment as we break down the words. There are some variations in translations, but we can still get at what the scripture is getting at with the KJV: "tree of the knowledge of good and evil". The root of the consequences which would follow the disobedience somehow revolve around "knowledge" and "good and evil". Although there is some question as to just what is being said, I will try to use the KISS method (you know the one I mean). What the Serpent said will tell us much, although certainly inadvertently on his part, about what IS meant by the phrase. Adam and Eve, up until now, are sinless, innocent. They have not "known" sin - only "good". When they ate of the tree, a new ingredient was added to the "good" - EVIL. If we have one ingredient of something, and then ADD another, what do we have?...a MIXTURE! Now, Adam and Eve, by disobedience, are imbued with a "mixture" of good and evil!

A very deadly mixture!

All through the Bible we are commanded, admonished, and warned about this deadly mixture. Imputing evil into something inherently good creates poison - it is like "sugar coating the poison" with enough "good" to make it palatable enough to swallow. In a way, we have become Dr. Jekells and Mr. Hydes. We have become split personalities. The Apostle Paul addressed his personal struggle with "the dark side" in Romans 7:14-24; Galatians 5:16-24, etc. Once this event occurred, the sin expands into a broader problem, and one that has, does, and will become worse until the Lord returns (2 Corinthians 3:13). That is the issue of self-sovereignty! Somewhat obscured in the words of the serpent is the implication that Adam and Eve are being pushed by God out of co-regency over the earth as a "god"! Following is a footnote from the NET Bible, on Genesis 3:5:

"You will be like divine beings, knowing good and evil". The serpent raises doubts about the integrity of God. He implies that the only reason for the prohibition was that God was protecting the divine domain. If the man and woman were to eat, they would enter into that domain. The temptation is to overstep divinely established boundaries. (See D. E. Gowan, When Man Becomes God [PTMS], 25.)"

Ever since Adam and Eve ate of the tree, this desire, this tendency to be "lord of my own life" (and, for some, as many other lives as they can), has permeated every human who has ever lived on the earth, to a greater or lesser degree. The mixture does not always "mix" the same. Some seem to exhibit more or less of "good" or "evil". The mixture of each individual depends upon many factors, all influenced to one degree or another by some factors known to science and psychology. The evil augmented and encouraged by Satan’s influence has led to more and more intense conflict in the world between people. It was completely hopeless for "good" to win this struggle, and prevail. Finally, the evil predominated until God sent the great flood and destroyed all - except Noah and his family. They apparently were the least affected by this poison of evil. Then begins the long period of history of God’s intimate dealings with the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and many, many others. Satan knew that God made mankind a steward of the earth, with a caretaker assignment to replenish the earth and subdue it. Adam and Eve were instructed to "dress and keep" the Garden of Eden. They were NOT given ownership, only a trust and responsibility. Satan apparently suggested if they ate of that tree, they would have the opportunity of OWNERSHIP. It may be implied within Satan’s (the Serpent) words that he knew that God intended to eventually GIVE MANKIND RULERSHIP. Satan said in effect, "you deserve it now"! Ever since, the human race has sought shortcuts, in almost every conceivable sphere of their existence. How many times have we heard the siren song, "You can have it NOW", or "You DESERVE it now"! At the tower of Babel, they balked at spreading out, and attempted to pool resources and to build a tower to heaven - all for SELFISH ENDS. There the perversion of "self" once again necessitated God’s intervention. The problem of "self-sovereignty" was manifested again.

The "tree" is still here...

Again, how incredibly pervasive has been the influence of this Tree! First, all of CREATION is under a curse, and is flawed in its very constituency, and function. "For the creation eagerly waits for the revelation of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility - not willingly but because of God who subjected it - in hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers together until now" (Romans 8:19-22 NET). Creation scientist and others understand that many aspects of the created order must be reversed. When we think about this, it seems that EVERY created thing is flawed in some way - objects, heavenly bodies, the earth and the universe. Relationships, government, etc. Even our physical bodies are NOT perfect. Hereditary quirks and distortions of the newborn, seems to multiply yearly. The closer we look, the more intricate it is, but in another way, more imperfect also. There is nothing "perfect"! Everything in the creation - the whole world system could be renamed THE "WORLD" OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL! All that we see and much of that which we cannot see, is the result of a TREE - a tree that could not be resisted. After this fall of Adam and Eve, I believe there is now a sin principle so deeply embedded in "human nature" that it is very near impossible to resist without urgent intercession to God on someone‘s behalf (Romans 7:18-25; 1 John 5:17)). I suppose it is much like the expression "I can resist anything except temptation". Evidently, so it was with Adam and Eve.

That "tree" is STILL AROUND!. It is being eaten of every second of every hour of every day of every year - by others, by me, by you. It isn’t necessarily because we want to eat of it. We JUST DO! It is the WAY if this world - my world and yours, wherever we may be. We were born into a ready made "garden" with this " tree" in our backyard! It appears beautiful, desirable. It seems to provide shade in the summer heat, and bears its fruit year round (Matthew 7:16; Luke 6:44). Everyone (almost), and everything in us and around us is saying day and night, that its fruit is tasteful - and "GOOD" for us! The "produce" of this tree is evident anywhere and everywhere. In the market, the workplace, your neighborhood, the school your children attend, and horror or horrors, perhaps even in the church down the street, or on the king of all influence mediums, television! The deadly mixture caused by its fruit sometimes defies identification, because it SEEMS so good...the evil has been so skillfully counterfeited. An unrestrained spirit of competition has escalated into ever more severe conflicts and violence - in the workplace, school, and the home. It is being publicized, promoted, and advertized, as smart and wise and prudent. This perverted "good" begins to feed upon itself, and increase at an increasing rate. It is the way to "get ahead", succeed, be "happy" say millions of human beings as they chase the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and inherit only dust when its over (Ecclesiastes 1:1-11) And all the time, the Serpent is attempting to destroy every activity, every institution, every effort for good that he can, through his minions of evil spirits in the earth and in high places. (Ephesians 6:12;1 John 5:19) He attempted to destroy the Christ child (Matthew 2:13-16), and He is and will eventually reinforce and confirm ‘A LIE"! (2 Thessalonians 2:7-12, margin "THE lie")

In the meantime, for whatever number of years mankind may live and move upon the earth, the inevitable occurs, slowly, but surely - unless all is cut short, out of God's mercy (Isaiah 57:1-2), or by "time and chance" (Ecclesiastes 9:11), or by an early judgment of God, most have not comprehend the true reality. Having partaken of that Tree for so long - they have forgotten to remember...

"So remember your Creator in the days of your youth - before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you will say, "I have no pleasure in them"; before the sun and the light of the moon and the stars grow dark, and the clouds disappear after the rain; when those who keep watch over the house begin to tremble and the virile men begin to stoop over and the grinders begin to cease because they grow few, and those who look through the windows grow dim and the doors along the street are shut; when the sound of the grinding mill grows low, and one is awakened by the sound of a bird, and all their songs grow faint and they are afraid of heights and the dangers in the street; the almond blossoms grow white and grasshopper drags itself along, and the caper berry shrivels up because man goes to his eternal home and the mourners go about in the streets - before the silver cord is removed, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is shattered at the well or the water is broken at the cistern - and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the life’s breath returns to God who gave it. Absolutely futile laments the Teacher. All of these things are futile!" (Ecclesiastes 12:1-8 NET).

All this, because of a Tree... "THE TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL"

There is hope. There is ANOTHER tree...

"Refreshment in Refuge" from Gina Burgess

Koinōnía

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Biography Information:
Dale Krebbs served as an Elder, preaching, counseling, and conducting Bible studies for over 25 years in Texas, California, and Arizona. He is now retired, lives in Arizona, and continues the study and research of Gods Word.
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