Beyond the Apple


Lucas Cranach the Elder
[Public domain]

So we all know that there was more than just the apple that Eve was after in that garden encounter. But what was it exactly?

The tree that God forbade them to eat from was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. I’ve always wondered about that. Did they not know the difference between what was good and what was bad? Was it because everything was good in their world?

Except the tempter, of course.

I’ve wondered if it might be the knowledge — the ability to determine — what was “good” or “evil” for themselves instead of relying on God to make that determination for them.

When I look at Jesus, I don’t see Him making choices that an everyday man would have made. Or an everyday woman. I don’t see Him “looking out for Number One.” He didn’t do the things that would have, for example, furthered His “career” as Israel’s foremost prophet.

And He didn’t turn the loaves and fishes into KFC family meals complete with hushpuppies. Or chocolate.

He only did and said what His Father told Him.  And for a time, I think it was that way in the Garden, too. Adam and Eve listened to God and did whatever He told them to do. And it was good.

But then that pesky serpent showed up and opened Eve’s eyes to the seductive world of self-determination. If she would just eat the fruit, she would be able to decide what was good or not for herself. She wouldn’t have to rely on Someone Else to decide what was best for her, Someone Who might really not have her best interests at heart. Who would know what was best for her any better than she herself?

And with that bite, I think her eyes were opened to the idea that she was the best judge of what was good and evil for HER. Not God. Not her Creator. Not the Lover of her soul. Not the One with infinite knowledge, not just of her but of all of her circumstance. But herself, with her limited and now-flawed judgement. She should be the one to say what was good and evil for her. What was right, and what was best.

And that’s where I find myself. Instead of doing and saying only what my Father tells me, as Jesus did, I calculate and scheme and determine for myself what will be best. My decisions are so often evidence that I, too, have eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil rather than relying on the goodness and grace of the One Who knows me best and still loves me.

This week my desire is to turn to Him instead of the tree. For the food that I eat and the words that I say and the things that I do to be in direct response to Him.

Is there evidence of that tree in your life?


Beyond the Apple — 18 Comments

  1. Good morning, sweet friend! Thank you for sharing the beautiful gifts that come through our times of study and waiting.
    I have thought so many times about the fact that Jesus gave his life for us on a tree. Hmmm…
    And, boy, do I relate to the choice of self-determination! How vulnerable do I really want to be?! Praise to our God who has given us Hope of restoration through salvation in Jesus!
    Have a beautiful day :) .

    • Hi Jenni ~ I’m thankful that as I eat the “fruit” of His death on the tree, it cancels out the effects of the fruit that Eve ate. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!

  2. Is it really about turning from the “tree”? Or is it about who’s talking (the serpeant) about the tree to make it the object of our focus/confused desire? Distracting us from remaining in God’s will and intended purpose for us? TRUST has been my word of the month (I blogged about it though not as eloquent as you have.) Self-determination overshadows trust, which is always evident when we decide to “steer the car” ourselves rather than letting God. Yes, thought provoking, convicting, affirming, all at the same time. Thank you Susan!

  3. Thank you for catching my attention this morning. I took time to stop and read your article and found that the Eve in Me was rising up in her defense, of which there is none! There is no one or nothing other than GOD who cares that much about me so why can’t I totally trust Him to take care of it ALL. That’s what I’m working on……and grateful for people like you give us the tools to work with.

    • Hi Susan! Thanks for stopping by. It IS all about trust, isn’t it? Hoping to do better today than Eve did!

  4. First, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the picture…the photographer captured the real Susan beautifully. Child of God. Lover of Jesus. He shines through your eyes…and smile. Love the “outside” view, too!

    Second, WOW! This made me smile: <> Truly your words pictures take me to a new way of thinking of familiar Bible stories. Thank you for drawing me “deeper” into God’s upper story.

    This made me squirm a bit: <>

    And, thank you for this challenge: <>

    Praying that we all stop, drop, and pray for the wisdom to seek and find what our souls CRAVE…GOD above all.

  5. I, too, love the picture! However, that may have something to do with the fact that something shows ALL the time that a photographer cannot give! Aren’t we blessed that His love does not depend on the thoughts that we have or the mistakes we make!!! Stay can do anything you want to badly enough because He lives in you! All who know you, know how you so want to please Him! Relax! You DO!

    • Thanks, Lois. I do want to please Him, and I know that He is pleased with me whether I “perform” or not. As He is with you :-)

    • Thanks, Mary Lou! Gotta love a good photographer – and that would be Melinda Goodwin of MG Photography in Winter Haven. She can be contacted through her Facebook page.

  6. First, I LOVE the new picture! Someone has captured your inner beauty as well as your beautiful eyes and lovely smile!

    And I love the article. You have a gift of words and I love the way you use your gift to point us to scripture and to Jesus – our only hope!!

  7. Thanks for the very thought provoking post, Susan. Oh yes, there’s evidence of that in my life! :( I like your challenge, turn to Him (repentance or turn back to God). That’s exactly what I need to do whenever I’m eating from the good/evil tree. I’d like to rename the trees for clarity in my life. The tree of man instead of the tree of God. The tree of exhaustion instead of the tree of renewal. The tree of self will, control, and judgement instead of the tree of Shalom. Can we further this discussion?–this passage is “pregnant” with divine instruction, knowledge, and healing (wholeness) for our culture today. In other words-for life! Hit the pause button! :)

    • I like the names of your “trees,” Elizabeth. Yes, let’s discuss further! Thanks for stopping by the blog this morning.

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