I just want to confirm based on scripture if God made Adam and Eve with both free will and knowledge of good and evil (right and wrong) or if one came after the other when they ate the forbidden fruit?

  • You can't simply say "based on scripture", because people interpret the scriptures differently. Some people will think the Bible does clearly indicate that Adam and Eve had free will, others could say it clearly indicates they didn't. – curiousdannii Jan 13 '15 at 4:45
  • @curiousdannii But isn't that so with every single question asked on this site? – Steve Jan 13 '15 at 5:34
  • @Steve which is why we try scoping questions to established groups or to ask for only one side of an issue. – curiousdannii Jan 13 '15 at 7:24
  • @curiousdannii Thanks. That did not come across in your first comment. Christianity certainly includes what is based on scripture (my point), and that means people of various denominations will have something to say about that (your point). – Steve Jan 13 '15 at 15:46

Genesis 3 answers this question pretty definitively:

Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” Genesis 3:22 NASB

Adam and Eve were not created with the knowledge of good and evil. They were innocent--not righteous, but innocent. After they sinned, they knew both good and evil.

God knows good and evil, but not from the same perspective, as He has never committed any sin or done anything unholy.

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    does it mean that ADAM and EVE don't know that eating the fruit is BAD or DISOBEYING God is BAD(Evil) before they did what they DID? – FFCoder May 7 '13 at 4:14
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    @FFCoder No, it means that they had never known sin in that they had never experienced it. Shame, guilt and fear were all completely foreign to them. They did have a command to obey, which they failed to follow. – Narnian May 7 '13 at 12:09

"Adam and Eve were not created with the knowledge of good and evil. They were innocent--not righteous, but innocent." Agreed.

For Adam and Eve, a "knowledge" of Good and Evil was not imparted to them, but was their own creation.

BEFORE Eve touched the fruit, it is said, Gen.3:6 "And when the woman saw that the tree was GOOD for food, and that it was PLEASANT to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one WISE..."

Just as Eve declared 3 things to be good, namely that something could look good, feel good and be good, after the "TREE" experience they declared that some things were bad, wrong or evil. Included in list new list was being NAKED, being AFRAID, being BLAMED.

BEFORE Eve was created, God brought the animals to Adam to name. (Gen. 2:19b) This was an act of naming things that exist in physical form. The "TREE" experience was the first time that the humans started declaring or giving names to things that exist only by interpretation or as an explanation of an experience or feeling. The experience of SHAME, FEAR and FEELING BADLY were created by Adam and Eve.

The TRUTH is that the "TREE" was NOT good for food, NOT pleasant to the EYES, and was NOT to be DESIRED. Eve invented that. Made it up. On the spot. She, herself, made the tree more than it was.

The TRUTH is that after the "TREE" experience, nakedness didn't CAUSE shame, Adam didn't NEED to fear God's presence, and blame couldn't MAKE Adam feel bad. Adam invented those. Made it up. On the spot. He, himself, made the event bad and wrong.

I understand this:

    God is a creative being who creates with His words, who created 
             creative being who create with their words.

Before the tree experience we describe the life of Adam and Eve as living in paradise. After the "tree" we describe their fallen state.

What happened at the tree changed everything. What happened at the tree, was that for the first time, mankind created good and evil, right and wrong.

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    what verse is that where the bible tells the EVE made all up those things about the tree? – FFCoder May 7 '13 at 3:58
  • anyway so what i'm reading here is both of them is innocent(no knowledge of good and evil before they ate the forbidden fruit?) – FFCoder May 7 '13 at 3:58
  • Interesting points. I would disagree with one point, though. The fruit of the tree was, indeed, good for food. It likely tasted great. It also probably looked great, and it did impart to them wisdom that they did not otherwise have. God was not denying them something that was terrible in and of itself. This is the deceptiveness of sin, though. Things appear to be good and to our benefit, and there is certainly pleasure in sin for the moment, but the lasting impact is quite bad. – Narnian May 7 '13 at 12:55

In fact, the passage quoted is too short to derive an answer. In my opinion, you have to read Genesis from the beginning up to chapter 3:19 in order to answer the question. Here is my interpretation:

  • everything God created was good, so there was no way to know evil before the fall.
  • modern readers, and probably even Eve, expect that by eating the fruit, man's mind was somehow magically enlarged and changed, so that they could know evil. However, there is no reason to assume that.
  • rather, by eating the fruit, Adam and Eve signify that they would like to know evil, and would like to have the power to judge things as evil.
  • when they assume this power, the first thing they judge as evil are themselves. It is them hiding from God, not God driving them away.
  • with the curse, God grants their request and creates evil, so they can know evil as they wished to. He mixes work with sorrow, child bearing and the marriage relationship with pain and jealousy, i.e. he adds negative feelings and judgements to things which in themselves are good and fulfilling.

So, in the end, Adam and Eve learn to know evil by experience, not by enlightenment, and in a practical, not an abstract sense. All that is the result of their asking, out of their free will, and God's granting their request and honoring their decision.

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    Hi hbarck! Welcome to Christianity. I think you have a pretty reasonable and interesting interpretation (so +1). But I'm curious if you have any sources to back up this answer. – Jon Ericson May 30 '13 at 23:48
  • @Jon Ericson: what kind of sources would you expect? As I wrote, this is my own interpretation of the first chapters of Genesis. I arrived at it when studying it together with other people, all seasoned Christians and most of them with a year or two of formal theological training. However, I'm not trying to back up my thesis with any authority, or trying to convert anyone to my point of view. Just see for yourself, check, and keep what is good. I believe this interpretation contributes a new angle to the question of how evil came into the world and how that fits in with the nature of God. – hbarck Jun 1 '13 at 9:09

I've read some great content here. I think, though, the exact answer to this question is much easier. When God had only so far made Adam, in Genesis chapter 2:16-17, God gave Adam the warning that, "You may freely eat any fruit in the garden except fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you will surely die". Adam had a choice right from the get-go, he was NOT a robot who HAD to obey. Until the fall, Adam and Eve may not have understood good and evil, but they had the choice to obey the Lord and not eat the fruit or to eat the fruit. Knowing the difference between good and evil is not a prerequisite for whether one chooses (with the free will we are given by God immediately) to obey or not.

  • Good point. If there were no free will, then there would be no need for a command. Can you add the biblical references? That would make this a better answer. – Narnian Sep 19 '14 at 16:38

Realizing that our understanding is limited by the written Word, we all agree that our perfect God cannot create anything that is bad. Logically, the very fact that Eve had the reasoning capacity to make a choice between God's firm commandment and Satan's beguiling ... in my opinion indicates that she was, in fact, created with free will. And Adam chose to eat of the fruit that Eve gave him innocently trusting the woman God gave him. Apparently, free will existed without the knowledge of good and evil. These series of events created the need for man's spiritual salvation since the penalty of sin is death. Any further thoughts on the free will comment?

Is there any comment about free will? Were Adam and Eve given free will to chose to eat of the tree of good and evil with understanding that God directly commanded them to not eat of it? Or were they so innocent and unknowing of evil that they were easily beguiled?

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    Welcome to Christianity! This is a good start at an answer; but adding official sources and references would make it more like what is considered a good answer on the site. Do that and it will definitely earn my upvote. – Matt Gutting Jul 21 '14 at 16:06
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    Welcome to the site, we are glad you decided to participate. To learn what this site is about please see What this site is about and How this site is different. I hope to see you post again soon. – fгedsbend Jul 21 '14 at 19:21

Imagine the Creator of the universe forming and fashioning, like a potter, His prize creation. Take a deep breath and relive that extraordinary experience of the first human person awakening and being holy like God and made in His image. This is a place in time we do not come to in our minds often enough. We should, for it is here where we see man in sinless perfection. Imagine a world without sin, where the breath of God, even His sacred breath, fills us within! There is no compulsion to sin, and man has full ability not to! Man was created to live indefinitely, but no part of Adam and Eve was created immortal. As God had warned, they were able to die.

The soul that sins shall die Eze 18:20. But God is not the author of death. One cannot help but elude to 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. It is somewhat ironic as we look at Adam and Eve standing in the garden, they were like Him! Now Adam would have instructed Eve, “Of every tree of the garden we may freely eat.” And he would have been careful to point out to her God’s warning not to eat of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil”. They could freely eat of “every tree of the garden” except from the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil”. We might ponder why, when Adam was talking to Eve, he did not contemplate that they should eat from the “tree of life”. They were allowed to! God had created man with the freedom to choose to obey Him. “Of every tree of the garden they could freely eat,” including the tree of life! Of only one tree were they not to eat. True, they were seduced to disobey God, but they had the ability not to sin. God never instructs us to do something we are unable to do. Now, just as in the beginning, God is offering to refresh our spirits in time so that we may eat of the “Tree of Life” in eternity. He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God Rev 2:7.


The woman had knowledge to know about the tree b4 she ate, yet the Lord say's it is about when the man has “knowledge”, that “knowing” when he “knew knowledge”, = eyes opened.

God told the man he would have knowledge if he ate, then God gave him a woman. Genesis 2:16-17 the Lord God commanded ---the man---, saying, of the tree of the ---knowledge---of good--and--evil Genesis 3:6-7 and 22 ---and--- he did eat. ---And---the eyes of them both were opened, and they---knew---that they were naked And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to ---know---good and evil

the Lord God said the man would have knowledge of evil when he ate, the serpent said God knows the woman would be knowing evil when she ate, scripture says--they--knew evil--after --the man ate, not when she ate, God says the man now knows evil, just as God had told him would happen.

  • Welcome to C.SE. This is an on target answer, although the texting lingo (b4, really?) seems out of place. Also, it addresses knowledge, but not really free will. I thus haven't voted one way or the other. When you get the chance, I'd encourage you to check out our tour and how we are different than other sites – Affable Geek Aug 12 '13 at 11:38

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