Knowledge of Good and Evil
The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil . . . 15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 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.” Genesis 2:8-9, 15-17 NKJV
Siamese twins are a set of twins born with bodies joined together. The knowledge of good and evil are like Siamese twins. They are a pair of fruit of the same tree. This fruit leads to spiritual death, distance, alienation, and separation from God. It isn’t the knowledge of good and evil that God wants us to feed on–but it’s the knowledge of God! The goal that God set forth for man is: “they shall all know me” (Isa. 11:9; Jer. 31:33-34; Heb. 8:10-11; 10:16-18)
The knowledge of God is the Word of God (Deut. 8:3; Matt. 4:4). We live by God’s Word and we will die (spiritually)–to the degree–we don’t live by every Word of God. Before Adam’s fall in the Garden, he had the knowledge of God but not the knowledge of good and evil. The knowledge of good and evil puffs us up, i.e., it goes to our head in a way that makes us arrogant, egotistic, prideful, and self-important; but love for the knowledge of God builds us up (1 Cor. 8:1-3).
The two trees in the middle of the Garden represents what is in us: we can choose life which comes from hearing and obeying God, or we can choose the knowledge of good and evil and experience spiritual death, distance, alienation, and separation from God.
Please note that before God commanded Adam to stay clear of the tree of the knowledge and of good and evil, He gave him the responsibility of cultivating and guarding the Garden (Gen. 2:15). Even in paradise (Eden), there was cultivation. Cultivation is work; thus, Eden isn’t the absence of work. Although there weren’t thorns, briers, and thistles in the Garden, there was still work—it was a labor of love to keep God’s command. Adam had a responsibility to guard the Garden. Now, if the serpent is in the Garden, then Adam has already been irresponsible (Gen. 3:1). The Bible doesn’t condone laziness but rather teaches industry and responsibility (2 Thess. 3:10; Eph. 4:28). As we live, move, and have our being in Him, our work will be an ease and pleasure. But if you fail to cultivate (to prepare and self-improve) and guard the garden of your heart, if you will, you have failed at the core of your existence and the center of your being (Prov. 4:23).