Sjolander Road Fellowship

Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

Threat or a Warning?



I discussed the story of the Garden of Eden with a friend recently. We spoke specifically about what caused mankind's death; was it the fruit of the tree, or was it God and his wrath? Another way of looking at the question would be to ask whether mankind would have died from eating the fruit even if God had not forbade eating it?


It is noteworthy that, in telling Adam to avoid the forbidden fruit, God said eating will cause you to die. He did not say, if you eat, I will kill you. Some may see that as insignificant, but that distinction allows for considering God's words as a warning of danger and not a threat of divine punishment.


My friend went on to say that, what one makes of the story of the Fall, determines how you see the rest of the Bible. To misunderstand the beginning of the story should lead in the wrong direction, in interpreting what follows.


It seems logical that the divine plan to deal with what resulted from gaining the Knowledge of Good and Evil must somehow reverse the ill effect of that knowledge and thereby restore the life that was lost. If that ill effect resulted from the fruit itself and not God's dissatisfaction with fallen man, then reversing that effect does not involve any changes in God's view of or attitude toward mankind.


Knowledge killed in the first place, so corrective knowledge should be the answer to this death. I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. What was the Way? What was the Truth? What was the Life? Was the way another sacrifice? Was the Truth church doctrines? Was the Life something in the hereafter? What Truth corrects the consequences of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? Adam died in the here and now; why isn't life restored here? This lack of parallelism, for me, is highly significant and a reason to rethink the whole story.