Why did God create a tree that Adam and Eve could not eat from?

Those who know the Biblical story of the first sin often ask why God allowed sin. Why did God create a tree that Adam and Eve could not eat from? Why did God allow Adam and Eve to disobey? Let’s take a look at the details of God’s command and then I will give a reason why God did what He did.

Gen 2:8-9 tell us about Yahweh creating the Garden of Eden. Notice that there were many good trees in the garden. Amidst these many trees were the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Gen. 2:8 The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed.

Gen. 2:9 Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Gen 2:15-17 continues the story. Notice in verse 16 what the man was allowed to eat. Notice the word “any”. Notice in verse 17 what he was not allowed to eat.

Gen. 2:15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.

Gen. 2:16 The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;

Gen. 2:17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

The man had a garden full of trees he could eat from and only one tree he was not allowed to eat from.The man had plenty of trees he was allowed to eat from, and only one he was not allowed to eat from; therefore, the temptation to disobey should have been small. But why did Yahweh allow even a small chance that the man would disobey?

Let me answer that with a story. Once upon a time, John arrived home from work and his 4 year old daughter jumped in his arms and said, “Hi Daddy! I love you”. Meanwhile, another man named Doug walked into his house after work, picked up a doll, pulled a string, and listened as the doll said, “Hi Daddy! I love you.” Which man was more gratified? John was more gratified because his daughter expressed her love voluntarily. The doll that Doug picked up simply did what it was programmed to do.

God allowed the possibility of disobedience for the same reason people choose to have children. Children can be very gratifying when they freely choose to do the right thing. However, if they have the freedom to make good choices, then they are also free to make bad choices which would be heartbreaking. The same is true of Adam and Eve. If Adam and Eve had not been allowed to choose disobedience, then they would have been nothing more than machines who did what they were programmed to do. That would not have been very gratifying to God. Instead, God chose to allow the possibility of disobedience so that the man could freely choose obedience and both Yahweh and man could enjoy a fulfilling relationship.

The Apostle John included this concept in his writings several times. Notice the definition of love in the following verses.

John 14:15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

John 14:21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me;

John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word;

John 14:24 “He who does not love Me does not keep My words

1John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

2John 6 And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments.

If we love God, we will obey God. If we don’t obey God, that means we don’t love God. Yahweh God created a tree that Adam and Eve could not eat from so that they could choose obedience and demonstrate their love for God. Likewise, Yahweh has given us many commands in the Bible so that we can choose to obey Him. When we obey Yahweh, we demonstrate our love for Him.


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“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”