If death and sin were never part of God’s original plan, then why did He create the tree of knowledge of good and evil?! We are taught that God knows everything before it happens. Did He know Adam and Eve were going to sin ahead of time?!
Many people mistakenly take God’s foreknowledge of what will happen and equate it to His will. God knows all things, there is nothing hidden from Him. Hebrews 4:13 tells us, “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” Just because He knows it doesn’t mean He chose it!
To create a being in love, you have to create them with choice. Why? The Bible tells us that love is free to choose, it is not forced (read 1 Corinthians 13). God didn’t create us to obey Him, He created us to love Him. If He said, “you have to love Me,” then we would not have been created out of love but forced in bondage. Think about it like this, how good is a relationship where the one of greater power says, “you must love me, and you have to be in this relationship with me. Because I love you, I will make you love me!” Doesn’t sound appealing does it? It doesn’t because it is not love. God created us in love, to love, and so with that we have the choice to or not to.
God cannot help that He is all knowing. I know that may seem to be a paradox but it isn’t. You cannot be all knowing without knowing everything and if you know everything then you by default are all knowing! This is God, He just knows. That said, God also loves and desires to be loved. He wanted a creation that loves Him truly, because they wanted to. He created everyone to be able to love Him, but this they each must choose.
God also loves variety. How do we know this? Point to scripture, I demand it! Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” God didn’t just make one kind of tree, or flower, or rock, He made them all! Each is different, each has purpose and we can understand how He does things by what He has done. If He created the lesser things like this and was pleased, the greater things like humans would be no lesser. Every variety of human has the ability to love God the same. However, that doesn’t mean everyone will.
All of that said, I do not believe that scripture is clear as to exactly why He created the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. I do believe that we can draw conclusions to this through what we do know of God and His will. I will share my thoughts but with this caveat, you may get to Heaven someday and find out I was wrong. If so, please have patience with me, I did my best!
God loves knowledge. He wants us to also have knowledge. Proverbs 4:7 says, “The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom; And with all your acquiring, get understanding.” The scripture is a book of knowledge though it isn’t a book on all knowledge. We also cannot all handle all knowledge all at once, but we must grow into. I believe this was the purpose to this tree in the garden. Given time, had man listened, God would have prepared him for this knowledge and how to handle it.
Now you may ask, why place the tree there at all? When God created the garden as well as everything else, He called it good. Just because something is good doesn’t make it good for all or all the time. For example, many would agree with me that a real tasty medium rare steak is good, but you would try feeding it to a one year old. They have to grow to be able to receive it. To a baby, it would only make them choke. God saw it as good, knew that where He put it was also good, but that it wasn’t good for man to eat of it. At least right then.
He knew Adam and Eve would eat of it, but He still had to give them choice. Remember this, and this I want to stress: God knows what’s truly good and what’s not. If He saw it was both good to exist and good where it was placed, then it most certainly was! Just because we weren’t meant to partake at that time or even at all does not change this fact. I would assume that because God is only good, this had good purpose! To think another way, consider water. Water is good and life sustaining, however in the wrong context it can be very bad and life taking. Drinking of it, verses drowning in it. That fact makes water no less good.
Now let me present another, well, what if. What if because God knew we would sin because we would not resist free will, He created things in the best possible scenario to allow that but also allow our redemption. What if because God wanted creatures that loved Him, had to make us with this likelihood of sin, but did it all in a way that ensured a path back to Him? In other words, in exactly the way all things were created, God made absolute the possibility of free will and imperfect creatures with ability to rise to perfection? I know this can be confusing but my ultimate point is, an infinite all knowing and perfect God can and will do that which is perfect. We have to believe His purposes have the greatest and perfect affect to achieve His perfect plans.
Of course, I presented a lot of what ifs and if you continue in this line of thought, I’m sure you will discover more. We simply will not and cannot know all things here. God however has ensured that we will have access to way more knowledge than we could possibly embrace in this existence. After all, we are trying to understand an infinite God with a finite mind. That alone is an interesting thought! 🤔