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Which Forbidden Fruit Did Eve and Adam Eat from the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden?

A section of rabbis, Bible scholars, Christians, and non-Christians, have pondered for many decades which fruit Adam and Eve, the first humans, were forbidden to eat from the Tree of Knowledge (Good & Evil). Was it an apple? A banana? A grape? A pomegranate? A fig? Or, was it wheat?

Maybe, as some speculate, the events narrated in Genesis 3 are fictious. That the writer of Genesis, assumed to be Moses, employed apologue, a literary technique, for the purpose of teaching people the importance of obeying God. They remark the forbidden fruit symbolizes choice (free will), and therefore, eating of the prohibited fruit symbolizes disobedience.

Or, as others assert, the forbidden fruit referred to Eve having sex with Satan. Or, when Eve learned of this pleasurable act as a gateway of gaining Godly status, she made out with her mate, Adam. Or still, as some others suggest, Adam and Eve made out after being enlightened by Satan of the spiritual significance of engaging in the intimate act.

Faced with these varied views, one is left in the unknown what the fruit was though the message behind eating the fruit is well-known. So, which fruit did Eve and Adam eat that caused them to be banished from Eden?

The Story

On the sixth day, as narrated in Genesis 1, God created man and woman. They were made in the image of God unlike animals. Chapter 2 of Genesis narrates how the first man and woman were formed, the creation of Eden, an earthly paradise, and the event that ushered in the evils and hardships prevalent in our world.

After creating the first humans on the sixth day, God rested on the seventh day - marking the end of the initial first week in the world and cessation of His creative work.

When God had formed Adam after His own likeness, he placed him in the garden of Eden. Eden, as defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary was " a place of pristine or abundant natural beauty." In the earthly paradise, God planted a garden. "The Lord God planted all sorts of beautiful trees there in the garden, trees producing the choicest of fruit." (Gen 2:9 TLB)

God assigned Adam the task of being the garden's keeper - to tend and care for the garden.

Two trees distinct from the rest of the trees in the Garden of Eden were placed in the middle of the garden - the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life.

God warned Adam against eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. He told him, "You may eat any fruit in the garden except fruit from the Tree of Conscience—for its fruit will open your eyes to make you aware of right and wrong, good and bad. If you eat its fruit, you will be doomed to die.” (Gen 2:16-17 TLB)

God knew Adam needed a companion (mate). He brought to him the animals in the garden so he could name them, and choose from one of them as his companion. However, none of the animals satisfied his longing for a 'perfect' companion. Consequently, "the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep, and took one of his ribs and closed up the place from which he had removed it, and made the rib into a woman, and brought her to the man. (Gen 2:21-22 TLB)

After Eve was created, it was Adam's task to relay to her God's instructions in caring for the garden, and His warning against eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.

In Genesis 3, we come across a serpent that was termed as the craftiest of all the creatures God had made. What was this serpent? Was it a snake we are familiar with as "a limbless reptile with a long body?" Did Satan, through magic, cause the serpent to speak, and thereby deceive Eve in disobeying God? Or, was there a talking serpent in the garden Eve was familiar with? A serpent-like-creature they're accustomed to which possessed human capabilities? An animal that lost its limbs, and began crawling, following the curse pronounced on it by God?

When Eve informed the Tempter they're forbidden to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, the Tempter, in a scornful voice said, "Really! Did God tell you not to eat any of the fruits from the flowering plants in the garden?" Eve reiterated to the Tempter they're commanded not to touch or eat the prohibited fruit.

"That's a lie," the Tempter told her. "God knows when you eat the fruit of this tree you'll become wise like God - able to differentiate good from evil."

It's evident Adam and Eve had contemplated for many months, or even years, which secret the forbidden fruit held that they're warned against eating it. Furthermore, the fruit was pleasing to look at which might caused a longing in the heart to taste it

Eve, having learned from the Tempter of the spiritual significance of the fruit, was overcome by the desire to it. She picked it, took a bite, and passed it to Adam.

When they ate the fruit, their spiritual eyes were opened, and as a result, they became aware of their outward appearance - they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together to cover their nakedness.

It's interesting to note Adam didn't warn or prevent Eve from eating the forbidden fruit. He didn't tell the serpent to its face God's warning against eating the fruit. Was he mesmerized at the possibility of becoming like God as a result of eating the prohibited fruit?

As it was customary of God, He paid them a visit. It was in the cool of the day when he approached them. Probably, it might have been mid-morning, or as some others suggest, in the evening.

"Where are you?" God called out when He didn't see them at the designate place in the garden where they always met.

Adam responded he hid when they heard Him because he was afraid he was naked. God asked him who told him he was naked. Before Adam could reply how he knew he was naked, God asked him if he'd eaten the fruit. Adam, pointing a finger at Eve, told God the woman He gave her deceived him in eating the fruit. God turned to Eve and asked what it is she did. Eve told God it was the snake that beguiled her. Curses were pronounced on the three - Adam, Eve, and the Serpent. An enmity between the serpent's seed and Adam's seed was declared, and Adam's seed victory over serpent's seed.

God made clothes for Adam and Eve from animal skins before expelling them from the earthly paradise.

So, What Was the Forbidden Fruit? Or, Was It Just a Story?

No one knows which fruit Adam and Eve were prohibited from eating. Other than the fruit was edible and pleasing to look at, there aren't other specific descriptions of the fruit to permit us to arrive at a desirable conclusion of its identity.

Another hurdle faced in identifying the fruit is the nonexistence of the Garden of Eden. Various Bible scholars, and archaologists, have attempted to find the location of the Garden of Eden but to no avail. This doesn't imply the Garden of Eden didn't exist because it's location hasn't been located.

Did Satan have sex with Eve? Not really! Having sex with Satan wouldn't have made Eve any wiser. It wouldn't have opened her spiritual eyes to spiritual things. If there is anything Eve would have learnt from having sex with Satan is the physical pleasure derived from the act, and a means of procreating (if Devil might've succeeded in impregnating her).

What about with Adam? It's God's plan for the world to be populated by humans. He had provided the means through sexual intercourse. If it wasn't God's desire for Adam and Eve to engage in the intimate act, He would have spelled it out. But, He didn't. This signified it's God's intention for them to engage in the act. In fact, following their disobedience, and before God banished away from the garden, God told Eve "You shall bear children in intense pain and suffering." (Gen 3:16) This implies if Adam and Eve never rebelled against God's command, Eve, and her subsequent female offsprings, wouldn't experience the birth pangs and labour pain that they're accustomed to.

The Reality of the Garden of Eden

Is the story narrated in Genesis 3 fictious? Is it allegorical? Not really! While it contains important lessons to learn from, chief among them, the importance of obedience, its physical reality is attested in some books of the Bible.

In Ezekiel 28, the Prophet Ezekiel is told to weep for the King of Tyre, and deliver a message to him. Careful study of verses 12-19 indicate the message Prophet Ezekiel was to deliver to the King of Tyre had a spiritual aspect to it. The physical description of the King suggests it didn't describe the mortal king of Tyre but a spiritual being - Satan. In the verses, reference is made of the Garden of Eden, and Satan, an annointed Guardian Angel (Cherub) being in the garden. Ezekiel 31 and Isaiah 51 also mention the Garden of Eden in reference to the message the prophets were told to deliver to the Pharaoh of Egypt, and to the people of Israel who pursue righteousness.

In the Book of Revelation, reference is made of the Tree of Life. In Genesis 3, God permitted Adam to eat of any fruit in the garden expect the Tree of Knowledge. This implies Adam and Eve were allowed to eat fruits from the Tree of Life as it's the only means of extending their life on earth. The mention of the Tree of Life, in Revelation, is a confirmation the Garden of Eden existed in ancient time.

Which type of fruit did the Tree of Life produce? Genesis 3 doesn't provide us with a description of the fruit. The same applies to Revelation. The Tree of Life being spoken of in Revelation will be brought into existence following the destruction and creation of a new earth. Herein too, there is no description of the twelve different types of fruits the tree will be produce every ear - a different fruit for each of the 12 months.

In Revelation 2:7 (NLT), Jesus tells John, "Let this message sink into the ears of anyone who listens to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious, I will give fruit from the Tree of Life in the Paradise of God."

In Revelation 21, John is shown a vision of the New Jerusalem that will act as a centre of worship - to God - on earth. In the Garden of Eden, God always visited Adam and Eve, and had intimate conversation with them. The two - God and the first humans - enjoyed an intimate relationship before the entrance of sin in human's heart that severed the close-knitted relationship. Following the creation of the new earth, God will build a new city, referred to as the New Jerusalem. God's throne, and that of His Son, Jesus, will be located in the city. While God's dwelling will still remain in heaven, He will also have an earthly dwelling in the city of the New Jerusalem. "Look, the home of God is now among men, and he will live with them and they will be his people; yes, God himself will be among them," states a voice from the throne. (Revelation 21:3 TLB). The close relationship that was severed through man sinning against God will be restored when God brings to an end all sin, including Satan and his evil forces.

In the vision, John describes the nature of the new city of Jerusalem - what it's made of, its size, the location of God's and Jesus' thrones, and a river (of the Water of Life) flowing from the thrones of God and Jesus through the middle of a street in the city. In verse 2 of Revelation 22, John states, "Between the street of the city and the river there was a tree of life visible from both sides. It produced 12 kinds of fruit. Each month had its own fruit. The leaves of the tree will heal the nations. (Names of God Bible)."

In Revelation 22:14, Jesus states, "Blessed forever are all who are washing their robes, to have the right to enter in through the gates of the city and to eat the fruit from the Tree of Life. (NLT)"

In Revelation 22:19, Jesus says, "And if anyone substracts any part of these prophecies, God shall take away his share in the Tree of Life, and in the Holy City just described. (NLT)"

Lastly, going back to verse seven of Chapter Two of Revelation, Jesus states, "To the one who conquers I will give to him of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God." The paradise referred to isn't heaven - God's dwelling place - but here on earth - in the city of the New Jerusalem.

The Conclusion of the Matter

Striving to find out what type of fruit Adam and Eve were forbidden to touch or eat is a fruitless attempt. Who knows whether that fruit exists to this day? And if it exists, it might have lost its spiritual significance.

On another note, it might be the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge was ordinary like the rest of the fruits we're accustomed to. It might not have contained any spiritual significance. The unmistakable reason why God put the Tree of Knowledge in the middle of the garden was to act as a litmus test to Adam and Eve. God allowed Satan access to the garden, even though he'd rebelled against God and as a consequence lost his place in heaven, to tempt the two. He knew it's Satan's desire to cause enmity between Him and humans. The test proved Adam and Eve were willing to disobey His commands in pursuit of their selfish ambition - to be like him. In essence, to be gods, or semi-gods.

"So while we can’t know what that fruit in the Garden looked like, every person has the opportunity to trust in Christ for salvation and know for themselves in eternity what the fruit on a different tree—the Tree of Life—looks like (Revelation 22:2). In that glorious day, the consequences of that rebellious bite into the “forbidden fruit” will be gone, all because of our great and merciful God “who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all” (Romans 8:32)..."

© 2022 Alianess Benny Njuguna

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