Eating a fruit* is not even a real wicked deed like killing somebody or something. Why did this whole sin thing get started with something so innocuous that by today's standard it wouldn't even be considered a sin?

* I'm pretty sure it was a fig.

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    I really feel the title is off, my first thought was to come and edit since the Bible never specifies the fruit... Well, I see you know that quite well. Commented Sep 5, 2011 at 18:02
  • 2
    My wife will argue with you that it was a pomegranate :)
    – wax eagle
    Commented Sep 5, 2011 at 18:05
  • @dancek Ya I asked this specifically because it the whole concept around the eating of the fruit is widely misunderstood and maligned. I felt we needed a very specific question to air out WHY eating a fruit of any kind was considered a sin.
    – Caleb
    Commented Sep 5, 2011 at 18:05
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    Jesus said not to feed the trolls. Commented Oct 28, 2013 at 7:54
  • i'm convinced the fruit was a pear. nice ripe juicy perfect Barlett pear. Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 18:43

7 Answers 7


There was probably no power at all in the fruit. The issue was that God gave them a choice and they chose to disobey Him. And so sin, in this case disobedience, entered the world.

I suspect that it could just as easily have been a, "Wet paint, do not touch!" sign.

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    But clearly there was power in the fruit: the ability to confer the knowledge of good and evil upon the eater. That's the whole point of this magic fruit.
    – Chelonian
    Commented Sep 5, 2011 at 19:06
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    @Chelonian. I don't think that's necessary. Simply by eating the fruit they became aware of the concept of evil, since they had disobeyed. Before then, all they knew was obedience. Commented Sep 5, 2011 at 19:38
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    But that's simply not the story in Genesis 3. Only upon eating the fruit do they even realize they are naked, for example. God even refers to it as "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." It's clear in the story that the fruit confers the knowledge.
    – Chelonian
    Commented Sep 5, 2011 at 22:42
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    Love the "Wet paint, do not touch!" example!
    – daviesgeek
    Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 2:31
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    @Chelonian: Nothing is said about the fruit being magic. The act of disobedience created a rend between themselves and God and their once innocent consciences now knew what was on the other side of the mirror.
    – Caleb
    Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 10:45

The sin wasn't in eating the fruit, but in what it represented. It's interesting to examine the exact text of the commandment:

16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Note that verse 17 does not say "if" anywhere. "In the day that thou eatest thereof" is the language of certainty, not of possibility; it was part of the plan that it would happen. Why did he forbid it, then?

Hard to say. Maybe they weren't meant to eat of it yet and there were other things that were supposed to happen first to prepare them. Maybe that's why this world turned out such a mess. (This is pure conjecture, of course.) But it's clear from the text that eating the fruit at some point, and thereby becoming mortal, was a part of the overall plan. The sin lay in disobeying God, not in eating the fruit.

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    "Maybe they weren't meant to eat of it yet" - Interesting thought.
    – user32
    Commented Sep 5, 2011 at 19:12
  • How do you define "became mortal"? Did he lose his eternal nature, was it just a physical death (in which case why didn't it happen on the day-of) or was it something else? What is the specific meaning of "die" in Genesis 2?
    – Caleb
    Commented Sep 5, 2011 at 19:22
  • @Caleb: I define "became mortal" as "became mortal." The day-of question can be resolved either of two ways: either by interpreting a "day" as being on God's time, equivalent to 1000 years, (2 Peter 3:8, and even the longest-lived of Adam's descendants never quite made it to the one-millennium mark,) or by a literal interpretation: On the day that you eat of the fruit, it shall become true that "you will surely die," (because before that point, you're still immortal,) but with no exact specification as to when the actual death will take place.
    – Mason Wheeler
    Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 3:40
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    Got to downvote for the ideosyncratic interpretation, based on a single missing word in an archaic translation. Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 18:16
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    @DJ: That "archaic translation" is still accepted as authoritative by tens of millions, and the "when, not if" verbiage also exists in more modern translations. Feel free to look up Genesis 2:17 in the NIV, for example.
    – Mason Wheeler
    Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 18:24

Many people take the narrative about the eating of the fruit, and indeed both trees (that of 'life', and that of 'knowledge of good and evil') as figurative. Some, including as C.S. Lewis, go farther and say that Adam and Eve may not have been literal people, either. The point they take from this narrative is simply "Humans chose to rebel against God." And I think all can agree that this is the most important point to be gleaned from this narrative, literal or not.

  • Later in Scripture we find Adam discussed as a literal single man in parallel with Christ as a literal single man.
    – Caleb
    Commented Sep 17, 2011 at 6:10
  • Proponents of a mythical Adam would say that when Christ is compared with Adam, it is not proof that Adam was literal, but that the concept of Adam is important.
    – Flimzy
    Commented Sep 17, 2011 at 6:20
  • Where did CS Lewis say that Adam and Eve may not have been literal/historical people?
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Dec 7, 2013 at 15:52
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    @curiousdannii: In The Problem of Pain, pg 71 and 75: "What exactly happened when Man fell, we do not know; but if it is legitimate to guess, I offer the following picture-a 'myth' in the Socratic sense [possibly historical], a not unlikely tale... We do not know how many of the creatures God made, nor how long they continued in the Paradisal state. But sooner or later they fell. Someone or something whispered that they could become as gods-that they could cease directing their lives to their Creator..."
    – Ryan Frame
    Commented Dec 8, 2013 at 0:37

Why did God make it a sin to eat an apple?

Almighty God could have chosen any means he wanted to in order to test our first parents, but he chose a simple fruit 🍎 in the Garden of Eden to accomplish this end.

It is not the fruit in itself that is sinful, but in the act of eating it that is sinful. For in disobeying God’s decree not to eat of the fruit of the tree 🌲 in the middle of the Garden. It is only after they had eaten of this fruit that Adam and Eve perceived that they where naked and they realized that they had indeed sinned against God.

God being God could have chosen any other means to accomplish this, but the simply fact is that he chose not to do so.

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 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.” - Genesis 2: 15-17

In any case, we do not even know that the fruit in question was indeed an apple. Nevertheless people do believe or at lest think it was an apple 🍏. That even goes for some popes. Here follows a comical story to say the least:

Msgr. Angelo Roncalli once found himself seated at a banquet next to a woman who was dressed with little regard for the virtue of modesty. Others observed him, wondering how he would deal with his predicament, given his moral convictions and his reputation for diplomacy.

After the dinner, Msgr. Roncalli took an apple and offered it to the woman in question. She declined his offer. Nonetheless, he persisted in his offer, to the point that the woman asked why he was so interested in having her eat the fruit. He responded with a twinkle in his eye, “Because when Eve ate an apple, she realized she was naked.”

Msgr. Roncalli went on to become Pope John XXIII — now Blessed John XXIII. It’s not known what happened to the woman. - The Secret of Modesty

Notwithstanding, the actual fruit may have been something totally as Blessed Catherine Emmerick divulges in her revelations:

4. The Tree of Life and The Tree of Knowledge

In the center of the glittering garden, I saw a sheet of water in which lay an island connected with the opposite land by a pier. Both island and pier were covered with beautiful trees, but in the middle of the former stood one more magnificent than the others. It towered high over them as if guarding them. Its roots extended over the whole island as did also its branches, which were broad below and tapering to a point above. Its boughs were horizon­tal, and from them arose others like little trees. The leaves were fine, the fruit yellow and sessile in a leafy calyx like a budding rose. It was something like a cedar. I do not remember ever having seen Adam, Eve, or any animal near that tree on the island. But I saw beautiful noble-looking white birds and heard them singing in its branches. That Tree was the Tree of Life.

Just before the pier that led to the island, stood the Tree of Knowledge. The trunk was scaly like that of the palm. The leaves, which spread out directly from the stem, were very large and broad, in shape like the sole of a shoe. Hidden in the forepart of the leaves, hung the fruit clustering in fives, one in front, and four around the stem. The yellow fruit had some­thing of the shape of an apple, though more of the nature of a pear or fig. It had five ribs uniting in a little cavity. It was pulpy like a fig inside, of the color of brown sugar, and streaked with blood-red veins. The tree was broader above than below, and its branches struck deep roots into the ground. I see a species of this tree still in warm countries. Its branches throw down shoots to the earth where they root and rise as new trunks. These in turn send forth branches, and so one such tree often covers a large tract of country. Whole families dwell under the dense foliage.

At some distance to the right of the Tree of Knowl­edge, I saw a small, oval, gently sloping hill of glit­tering red grains and all kinds of precious stones. It was terraced with crystals. Around it were slender trees just high enough to intercept the view. Plants and herbs grew around it and they, like the trees, bore colored blossoms and nutritious fruits.

At some distance to the left of the Tree of Knowl­edge, I saw a slope, a little dale. It looked like soft clay, or like mist, and it was covered with tiny white flowers and pollen. Here too were various kinds of vegetation, but all colorless, more like pollen than fruit.

It seemed as if these two, the hill and the dale, bore some reference to each other, as if the hill had been taken out of the dale, or as if something from the former was to be transplanted into the latter. They were to each other what the seed is to the field. Both seemed to me holy, and I saw that both, but especially the hill, shone with light. Between them and the Tree of Knowledge arose different kinds of trees and bushes. They were all, like everything else in nature, transparent as if formed of light.

These two places were the abodes of our first par­ents. The Tree of Knowledge separated them. I think that God, after the creation of Eve, pointed out those places to them.

I saw that Adam and Eve were little together at first. I saw them perfectly free from passion, each in a separate abode. The animals were indescribably noble-looking and resplendent, and they served Adam and Eve. All had, according to their kind, certain retreats, abodes, and walks apart. The different spheres contained in themselves some great mystery of the Divine Law, and all were connected with one another.


That's a wise question. Eating an apple cant be a sin. Also the almighty god cant be so short tempered to blame Adam and Eve as sinners for eating just an Apple. I have put the similar question, i strongly think the story is simply a metaphor. The apple is nothing but the symbol of selfish desires. That's why it was forbidden to eat. The selfish desires are the root of all man's pain. The longing to sensual pleasures binds him with the worst karma like killing animals, humans , cheating each other , robberies , thefts , hurting each others emotions and many more. God almighty got angry because man chose the bad thing , the apple of selfishness. And as a result humans suffered the sin cycle of birth and rebirth which occurs because of bad karma.

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    Reincarnation (if that is what you mean by "birth and rebirth") is not part of Christianity. Commented Oct 28, 2013 at 9:40
  • There slight truth in what you say and therefore I suggest you read some of the answers here specially those tagged under 'original sin" like this Commented Oct 28, 2013 at 11:14
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    This doesn't really answer the question. I catch your opinion, but that isn't really what we do here. When you get the chance, please check out our tour and specifically How we are different than other sites. Commented Oct 28, 2013 at 13:38

To understand the fall, we need to put it in terms that we can relate to today.

God created the universe with a drive that is directed to growth and dominance. This force needed to be harnessed, and God made man His partner in doing this. The universe could have been created in a domesticated form, but God took the different route so that it could be a completion project for humanity, where it could work with God and learn from Heavenly Father. Like a father and child doing up a custom car, or a mother and child baking a cake. The interesting part is that humanity itself also possesses this drive, what the Talmud calls the yetzer hatov. Without yetzer hatov, there would be no motivation to eat, to reproduce, to mark out territory, all important drives needed to ensure the continuation of the species. Uncontrolled yetzer hatov becomes yetzer hara, the evil force leading to gluttony, adultery, rape, oppression and murder. So when God gave the command to subdue creation, Adam himself was part of the project: he needed to subdue himself. God basically put two teenagers in the garden and commanded them to follow Him until they could function independently.

Every task God commands has a touchstone, a test to prove loyalty. The test in the garden was the tree of knowledge of good and evil. One may ask how Adam would be able to choose the right when he did not initially know good from evil. Well, the command was not a law, in the sense of being different from a morally evil thing to do, but was a warning, being right in the sense of being the safe thing to do. Safe right, not moral right. Don't go near the fire: safe, not morally, right. Don't play in traffic: safe, but not morally, right. You could say the sin Adam committed was not immorality, but unsafe action.

The teenage brain is lacking in judgment. That's why they do foolish and unsafe acts, unless given guidelines. After puberty, adrenal stress hormones, sex hormones, and the growth hormone production, plus the effect of guidance, lead to physiological changes in the brain, that makes it competent to make the right judgment calls. That's why secular penal codes absolve minors of crimes, because of the teenage mentally incompetent state. This is why God warned Adam not to jump the gun in gaining mental competence: he would become culpable. The Jewish sages deduced that God would have given Adam the facility of being able to tell apart good from evil, on the Sabbath, AFTER he had subdued his body, harnessed it to productive service of God.

After ignoring the warning, and eating the fruit, Adam was stuck with the culpability, without the ability to counter it, without having the body that could do good! It kept doing bad, as judged by the recently acquired conscience. Sinned. Only the pure can see God, so tainted humanity could not follow God, know Him like Joseph knew Mary, be in union with Him, which is critical, is absolutely necessary, to live the life eternal, the life with real fruit, permanent results, Chayei Olam, needed in subduing creation. Demons, even the wind and the waves, all submit, when we are in union with God, have eternal life, have our names written in the Book of Life.

The Gospel is God’s fulfillment of His promise to disarm the yetzer hatov. How it is done in the Cross, by giving a different form of immunity, kaporeth, hilasterion, is outside the scope of this topic, and would require books to explain coherently and comprehensively, so we are not going to deal with that here.

To answer the question "Why did God make it a sin to eat the apple?", the answer is, "God did it so that humanity could be immune from the rebuke of sin, whether in the form of the voice of conscience or the administering of the formal law, just as minors are immune from the criminal justice system, on the grounds of mental incompetency, resulting in them being pure, able to be united with God, alive, rather than separated, dead". Things that do not function as planned are termed "dead", like a car that stops and does not convey us to our destination, like a power drill that won't switch on.

This answer is not having the official doctrinal view of any group, but since the others also do not have either, and the question is not formatted to require that framework, I suppose it should be acceptable. Very vague and inconsistent, the rules of the site.

  • Is eating an apple or any kind of fruit can defile a Virgin and holy body of Eve? This is main question that your answer not addressed specifically. Can you point any statement on your answer that answer this specific question? Commented Nov 17, 2019 at 19:41
  • That is not the question asked. To answer your question, eating of the fruit caused mental competence. The mind could tell good from evil, but the body could not obey the mind. God had warned against gaining mental competence for exactly that reason.
    – Seeker
    Commented Nov 17, 2019 at 20:02

Why did God make it a sin to eat an apple?

Eating a fruit* is not even a real wicked deed like killing somebody or something. Why did this whole sin thing get started with something so innocuous that by today's standard it wouldn't even be considered a sin?


Eating a literal fruit like an apple is nowhere a sin. But if we view the word "fruit as a symbol of life and death" then it is not a literal fruit, but it is a figurative language.

The question is what is meaning of the word "fruit"? We are talking about a fruit that can bring "life or death" to Adam & Eve soul.

From Catholic Church teaching the "fruit" from the Tree of Life is Jesus Christ, the Author of Life that will give "eternal life" to a soul. This fruit is similar to the "Holy Eucharist". Jesus is the "fruit" that comes from the "pure womb" of Mary. The Catholic Church teachings point to Mary as the Tree of Life.

Jesus as the "fruit" can be eaten because He is the "Bread of Life". See John gospel Chapter six. In contrast, the fruit from TOKOGE cannot be eaten because it is not Jesus that comes down from Heaven. The "fruit" belongs to Adam & Eve disobedient action, that's why God forbids it.

Mary as the Tree of Life

Concerning the Tree of Life, in ‘The Mirror of the Blessed Virgin Mary’ St. Bonaventure (1221-1274) writes:

The Angel showed John "the tree of life, bearing its fruits every month, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of nations." The tree of life is Mary, the Mother of Life; or the tree of life is the tree of the Cross; or else the tree is Jesus Christ, the Author of Life, who is also the Fruit of Life. Those healing leaves are edifying words and deeds. If even the leaves are healing, how much more healing and life-giving is the fruit? Therefore, that we may be healed by this fruit, let us approach its tree; let us draw near, I say, to Mary. Let us pray with St. Anselm [1033-1109]: "Hear me, O Lady! Heal the soul of thy servant who is a sinner, by virtue of the blessed Fruit of thy womb, who sitteth at the right hand of his Almighty Father."(Bonaventure, The Mirror of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Chapter XVIII.) http://tenstringedlyreofthenewisrael.blogspot.com/2016/12/mary-immaculate-conception-tree-life.html

Now, when the chosen Woman gave birth to Jesus Christ, her conception is the Will of God, and the famous greetings of St.Elizabeth reminded us that the "fruit" of the pure womb of Mary was the Logos.

"...and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus." (Hail Mary's prayer)

Now, since the "fruit" that you called "apple" comes from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, does it also represents a "child" like the Incarnated Logos? No, it represent a "carnal child" and this cannot be eaten, why? Its like the crowd in the Bread of Life Discourse that left Jesus, thinking of "cannibalism".

Mary's fruit, does not comes from the "seed" of an earthly father but from the Eternal Father, the "source of life", and Logos is the "author of life", and it was formed by the Holy Spirit "the giver of life".

In contrast, Eve's "pure womb and sinless body" is capable of producing a "fruit or a child" by mere "sexual procreation" provided Adam is the source of the "seed". This "forbidden fruit" brings death not life.

Did Adam & Eve committed the "sexual act" to procreate a "child or a fruit"? Yes or No?

If Yes, why would it be a sin? It is a sin because God had forbidden Adam & Eve to eat from the "fruit" of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. So, the word "eat" connotes an "action" on the part of Adam & Eve, and it means they cannot do a "sexual procreation acts" in the Garden of Eden. Why? Because the Garden of Eden is situated in the east, it is the Temple of God, the First Sanctuary of God.

Now this will be difficult to comprehend if we do not accept the seven views written on the answer provided in this link; What is the Catholic understanding of the first sin committed by Adam and Eve? (Note : Please look at my answer to appreciate, that the "fruit" is not an "apple" but a symbol of "life and death" or a "child". The "seed" of Adam implanted at the "pure womb" of Eve bringa death not life.)

It is a sin, because God clearly commanded it to Adam that it was forbidden.

The "fruit" that the "sexual procreation" of Adam & Eve had produced does not carry the image of Jesus but an image of the serpent, a "murderer". This is the reason why Cain murdered his brother Abel because his soul was infected by the malice of the serpent.

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John8:44)

The "fruit" from the "pure womb" of Eve because of her disobedience brings "death", while the "fruit" coming from the "pure womb" of Mary brings "life" because of her "obedience".

In the poem of St.Hildegard a Doctor of the Church, it was revealed what happened to Eve;

"She destroyed her womb by her ignorance." (St.Hildegard)

St. Hildegard poem contrasted the womb of Eve and Mary both virgin and sinless.

For that woman, whom God had set to be the mother of us all, she destroyed her own womb with the wounds of ignorance and gave birth to all pain for her children.

But, O dawn, from your womb a new Sun rises, which has cleansed all Eve’s sins, and through you a blessing flows greater than the harm Eve did to men.

(From the sequence O virga ac diadema purpurae Regis , translation by Kate Brown, as posted on the Scottish Early Music Consort homepage: http://www.scot-art.org/semc/trans.htm .)

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    So much atrocious misreading of scripture here. If eating fruit is a metaphor for having sex, then how can it be that both trees were in the garden?
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Nov 14, 2019 at 8:07
  • @curiousdanni Have you read and comprehend my answer? The "fruit" was a symbol of an offspring coming from the "womb" a symbol for a "Tree". Jesus was the fruit of Mary's womb., this is a solid Catholic teaching. And Eve's womb a symbol of TOKOGE, and her fruit is Cain, whose soul was infected by the malice of serpent, thats why Cain became a "murderer". John8:44. This is validated by St.Augustine theory and St Hildegard poem, they are both Doctor of the Church. Commented Nov 14, 2019 at 9:22

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