The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil: By Dr. Mourad Rashad
How did eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil change Adam and Eve?
According to the literal text of the scriptures, the sole cause for the dismissal of Adam & Eve from the Garden of Eden was eating from the forbidden tree, against God’s warning.
A warning stating that if you eat from this tree, you will surely die -And the Lord God commanded the man, saying “of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 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 2:16, 17).
God created Adam in the Garden of Eden to tend & keep, this was the sole concern of Adam & in return Adam would enjoy permanent residence in the Garden & immortality. God created Man’s consciousness in a way that leads Man to witness & appreciate God’s Perfection, manifest in the Garden of Eden, and to be perpetually enjoying God’s Grace, and God knew that as soon as Man eats from the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil, Man will use this knowledge wrongly, in the sense of trying to become like God. To put it in other words, Man will use this knowledge of good and evil to feel Unique and Capable, through Man’s claimed capabilities that results from the wrong use of this knowledge; Man will achieve this Uniqueness. While God is the only Unique and the only Capable Being there is.
Man cannot prevent himself from using the knowledge of good and evil in a way that will establish Man’s alienation from God, through creating Man’s ego -Unique & Capable- in an attempt to be like God, in the sense that man will claim to himself all the knowledge, merits, virtues etc that will distinguish him from others -Uniqueness- and becomes self-complacent & self-sufficient -Capable- and stops from being in perpetual need for God’s grace and ruins the Garden of Eden which Man was entrusted to tend and keep. Therefore, Man transforms the Garden of Eden – through this change in his consciousness to the world he lives in & consequently looses the Garden of Eden for ever and becomes a mortal being. This is exactly what the serpent told Eve “if you eat from the tree of good and evil, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4,5)
Therefore, eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is simply a symbol for the process of conditioning and upbringing of Man -in which Man’s consciousness changes from simply witnessing God’s perfection to witnessing Man’s own perfections. This is actually what happens to every infant and child, being created with a virgin consciousness -Adam before eating from the tree of good and evil- to become transformed and molded into an Ego that has capabilities, powers, virtues, merits, ambitions, security, independence etc up to Man’s most consecrated believes. Every Man has to undergo this change, but it is up to Man to retrace his steps -purifying his consciousness from the alleged notions of being unique and capable due to his wrong use of the knowledge of good and evil. If Man succeeds in freeing his consciousness from these two notions, Man will enjoy once more the Garden of Eden and Immortality.
So actually, the story of Adam is every Man’ story.