The Biblical account of man’s fall (Genesis 3) often raises questions among believers and unbelievers alike.
One of the most common questions concerning the fall of man is: “Why did God put a tree of forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden?” The underlying implication behind this question is often that God must have wanted Adam and Eve to sin and fail.
This post is for the purpose of studying God’s Word to answer the tree question.
But first let’s understand why we need to be prepared to answer this and other tough questions.
Man’s Fall – Why Prepare to Answer Questions?
In 1 Peter 3:15, we’re told: “…but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence…” (NASB).
The original Greek for that word “defense” is apologian from which we get our term apologetics.
Never in our lifetime has it been more critical for us to be able to give a defense for our hope and faith. The enemy continues His lies to humanity through secularism, the new age movement, and more. So many are falling for these lies, and we need to be prepared combat the enemy’s falsehoods with God’s truth.
While some may shoot questions like darts, other truth-seeking people legitimately want to know and understand.
Either way, human souls are at stake, and our answers to their questions could make an eternal difference.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of the enemy gaining ground and deceiving so many.
We’re commissioned to go and tell, make disciples, and teach obedience to Christ (Matthew 28:16-20). This includes answering tough questions for the purpose of sharing truth and winning souls to God’s kingdom.
Now that we know why being able to answer questions is important, let’s head to those answers, beginning with who and what.
Answers to Why God Placed Forbidden Fruit in the Garden of Eden
1. Remember Who God Is
We must always remember that God is the all-powerful and self-existing Creator and Sovereign of the universe. He doesn’t answer to us or seek our input in His decision-making process. In short, God is the final and absolute authority.
Our modern-day culture struggles with this concept and often rebels against God’s authority. But the raised hackles of humanity will never diminish His kingship.
In fact, His authority is the foundation for the rest of our answers to this question.
Our God is in the heavens; He does all that He pleases.
2. Remember That This is HIStory
As Sovereign Lord of the universe, He has an ultimate plan in mind for all of the world, and He reveals much about that plan in His Word, the Bible.
Since we are created by Him and answerable to Him, it’s our responsibility to comply even if we don’t fully understand or approve.
Think of Mary, the mother of Jesus. There was no way she could have fully comprehended God’s plan for her life as spoken by the angel, but her words in Luke 1:38 reveal an obedient heart in spite of not fully understanding: “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”
God’s Plan Revealed And Implemented
3. God’s Creation (Including the Tree) Was Good
Throughout the overview of Creation found in Genesis 1, we see that everything God created was good.
This means that the tree wasn’t the problem.
Blaming the tree is a pretty common response among humans when confronted with our sin. It’s always easy to assume the source of the temptation is the problem.
The real problem is our response to the temptation. That was true for Adam and Eve, and it’s true for us.
4. Lack of Trust
Since the beginning of time, mankind has had trust issues.
But Adam and Eve had no reason not to trust God. He created them, gave them authority over the world He created, and placed them in a beautiful garden that met all their needs.
They chose to trust the serpent’s lies instead.
The lesson here is this: Every time we choose not to trust God, we are by default placing our trust in things that stand in opposition to Him.
5. Freedom of Choice
Our Creator could have chosen not to given mankind the freedom to choose. But obviously, He wasn’t interested in robots or puppets. Instead God gave humanity — us included — the freedom of choice.
By doing so, He surely recognized the possibility of choosing wrong over right, evil over good, and disobedience over obedience. And since He is all-knowing, He certainly knew what would happen with Adam and Eve.
6. The Ultimate Test
Not only did God give Adam and Eve the freedom of choice, He also plainly told them the boundaries and the consequences for overstepping those boundaries (Genesis 2:16-17).
As a former public school teacher (AKA authority figure), it was my responsibility to test those in my charge on the information they’d been taught. Without that testing, I had no way of knowing if they had learned what I wanted them to learn.
As mankind’s authority figure, God did the same with Adam and Eve. He tested their obedience.
There was nothing vague about the rules He set. Adam and Eve simply chose to disobey.
7. The Ultimate Problem
Sovereign God provided richly for the first man and woman. In the garden, they had plenty and a wide variety of food. They weren’t going to starve or be deprived.
The ultimate problem — and one we still face today — is that Adam and Eve weren’t completely content with what they had. They wanted more.
The lure of the forbidden and possible greener grass beyond what we currently have remains a temptation, doesn’t it?
8. The Ultimate Plan
Remember that foundation we laid in the first part of our answer to why God put the tree in the garden? In case you don’t, I’ll save you the time of scrolling back up.
God is the one in charge.
Though He didn’t want and Adam and Eve to mess up, He tested their obedience. But here’s the really cool part: their sin in no way derailed God’s plan.
Instead, His ultimate plan moved into motion, and that plan was to redeem us all. In His great wisdom, God placed that tree in the garden with His plans and purposes in mind.
The following verses reveal that even at Creation, God’s plan included the sacrifice of His Son. And God’s ultimate plan for our redemption was gained and guaranteed by Jesus’ death and resurrection.
All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast — all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world. (Revelation 13:8, NIV)
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. (1 Peter 1:18-20, NIV)
Man’s Fall Question: Wrap-Up
Whew! Answering the question of why God put the tree in the garden is pretty involved. But at the same time it’s also very cut-and-dried.
That doesn’t mean it will be easily accepted.
A whole lot of people (us too, if we’re honest) don’t like to be confronted with their sin problem. We also struggle with the idea of someone else being in control.
It’s helpful to remember that we’re not responsible for the results when we answer the tough questions of others. Instead we’re responsible for sharing truth (our defense), and for doing so gently and respectfully (1 Peter 3:15).
Praying that each of us so immerse ourselves in His Word and ways that we are always prepared to give a reason for the hope within us!
GREAT GOOD NEWS!
“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!”