Saturday, December 1, 2007

What Did It Mean To Freely Eat Any Fruit In The Garden?

But the Lord God gave him [Adam] this warning: "You may freely eat any fruit in the garden except fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat of its fruit, you will surely die" (Genesis 2:16-17, NLT).

If "eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil" was metaphoric language for "having sex with the Devil," then what did God mean when He said Adam and Eve could freely eat any fruit in the garden except fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? It logically follows that these other trees, i.e. the ones Adam and Eve were allowed to freely eat from, were other people, either humans or unfallen angels or both. Such an interpretation probably will raise a few eyebrows. However, if eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was metaphoric language for having sex with the Devil, then freely eating from the rest of the trees in the garden almost has to be metaphoric language for having sex with either humans or unfallen angels or both. We are led to this inescapable conclusion.

First, let's talk about the existence of other humans in the Garden of Eden. How is this possible if, as most modern Christians believe, Adam and Eve were the first two humans to exist on planet earth? Some believe in what's known as "The Pre-Adamite Hypothesis" or "Preadamism." This belief states that humans or human-like creatures existed before Adam. Preadamism has a long history and is also the belief of many modern-day evangelicals.

One such leading proponent is Hugh Ross. Ross is a leader of what is termed "progressive creationism." According to Ross:

"...bipedal, tool-using, large-brained hominids roamed the earth at least as long as one million years..." (Ross, Hugh. The Fingerprint of God, Orange: Promise Publishing, 1991, pages 159-160).

Although Ross does believe God created Adam, Ross also believes that the fossil record proves there were human-like creatures in existence before Adam. These creatures, according to Ross, became extinct before Adam and Eve were created. Other proponents believe that these preadamites continued to exist after the creation of Adam. Unfortunately, some have used "The Pre-Adamite Hypothesis" to justify and promote various forms of racism.

But here's something to ponder; first, Genesis 1:24-31 says that God created all of the following on the sixth day of creation:

  • every kind of animal-livestock, small animals, and wildlife
  • all sorts of wild animals, livestock, and small animals
  • people, both male and female

Then, according to Genesis 2:7, God formed Adam. In verses 19 and 20, Adam names the animals. But still there is no companion suitable for Adam. So in verses 21 and 22, God causes Adam to fall into a deep sleep. God takes one of Adam's ribs and creates Eve. When Adam sees Eve in verse 23, Adam exclaims: "At last!" This is not exactly the response we would expect if Adam had only waited for Eve for less than twenty-four hours.

If we believe that the account of God creating Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:7-23 is simply a retelling of the sixth day of creation found in Genesis 1:24-31, then we have to believe that all of the following things happened within a twenty-four hour period:

First, God created all the animals. Then, God created Adam. Then, Adam named all the animals. Then, Adam got incredibly lonely. And finally, God causes a deep sleep to fall on Adam, takes one of his ribs, and creates Eve. It's no wonder that many believe that days of creation were not twenty-four hours in length.

Certainly, it is true that the word "day" does not always refer to a twenty-four hour day in the Bible. It's also true that there are scientific reasons that suggest that the days of creation may have been much longer than just twenty-four hours. Nevertheless, the most logical explanation is that Adam and Eve were not created on the sixth day of creation. Some have suggested that God created a planet fully populated by humans. Or perhaps even angels. Since the Bible doesn't tell us exactly when angels were created, we can only guess. Whatever the case may be, it seems logical that either humans or angels inhabited the earth at the time of Adam's creation. And whoever those people were, God said to Adam:

"You may freely eat any fruit in the garden except fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" (Genesis 2:16-17, NLT).



Your Comments

Are Welcome!

All comments are welcomed and appreciated, as long as those comments are thoughtful, constructive, and reflect a Christian perspective. Please, no profanity. Be respectful of others. Also, be sure to stay on topic. The comment button is located below on right.