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Short Stories

Abraham and Lincoln: Episode 3 – Why Did God Place the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden?

“This was a good idea, Lincoln, to get a quick bite before we head off on our way home. Two and a half hours on that coach would seem like forever if we left on an empty stomach,” Abraham approached the food stations.

“I know that the coach will have a full tank before it departs and so should we,” Lincoln followed behind.

“Yes. You are quite right my friend. No point in having our stomachs grumbling during the journey. And, ten dollars for an all you can eat buffet is inexpensive,” responded Abraham, as they both filled their plates and headed toward their table to eat.

While they were eating, Lincoln asked, “Why did God place the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the middle of the garden of Eden?”

“That’s a very good question,” Abraham rested his fork on the side of his plate. “I believe that we can find the answer in a passage from our earlier query in which we showed that God knew that mankind would eventually sin by disobeying His command.”

“Oh yes,” said Lincoln. “In Genesis 2:16-17.” And he began to recite, “And the LORD God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die (NIV).’”

Then Abraham began to breakdown the Scripture according to Genesis 2:16-17. He said, “God spoke to the man with a command (v16a), giving him permission to eat of every tree that was in the garden of Eden (v16b), followed by a restriction, which forbade him not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (v17a). God then finished off His command by allowing the man to know the consequence that would follow if he did not adhere to His command (v17b).”

Lincoln smiled.

“When we look closely at the passage of Genesis 2:16-17 we find a discipline that is used by many Old Testament writers called ‘chiasm’. And using this we can clearly see that God was establishing His command among mankind.” Abraham continued. “So, then the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was placed in the middle of the garden of Eden as part of the process which God would use to establish His command among mankind.”

“Well done Abraham. I see a similar picture of God establishing his commands among the Israelites when he delivered them out of Egypt and brought them to Himself at Mount Sinai (Ex. 20).”

“Very good,” replied Abraham. “God is still seeking souls today so that He may establish His law within their hearts through Jesus Christ (Jer. 31:33; Heb. 10:16; John 3:16, 14:21, 15:10; 1 John 1:1-3).” In any case let’s get a second serving for the time of our departure is nearing. We will have to pick up our query next time on “How mankind first sinned?”

“I am sure we will get to that query soon enough,” replied Lincoln, as they got up to replenish their plates.

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