What is the established church's (Church of England's) view on the theology of the eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil as being a metaphor for the act of questioning God's judgement and requirement for acquiescent obedience?

  • 1
    If you spend any time at all on this site, or in the Creation/Evolution chat room associated with this site, you'd see the answer is "We all disagree." As such, this answer doesn't stand the test of not being primarily opinion-based. "Who is right and who is wrong" is off-topic here. See: the help page, How we are different than other sites?. Dec 29, 2013 at 3:11
  • Being in the UK I was referring to the Church of England which is the established church here. I have inadvertently overlooked the fact that other societies will differ in their view of an established church. I am aware that this is a matter of opinion but mainstream denominations tend to define their doctrinal positions formally. Hence I am seeking clarification on the CoE's position on this issue and their justification for that position. My hope is that an informed respondent educated in comparative theology might be able to help clarify the boundaries between CoE and others.
    – Maple Lad
    Dec 29, 2013 at 3:33
  • That brings it in line. Hope you don't mind, I edited the question to avoid having others jump to the same conclusion I did. Dec 29, 2013 at 3:41
  • @ David Stratton - Not at all. An enthusiastic newbie here who is, "Learning the way of the Force," ;-) Wish I'd thought of editing it myself. Sorry for the confusion. I need to bear i mind the global nature of the website.
    – Maple Lad
    Dec 29, 2013 at 3:47
  • @Celberon good luck navigating the mine field. You'll do well if you don't take the occasional misstep personal. Me? I find the mines and apparently jump on them or so it seems sometimes. Dec 30, 2013 at 2:11

1 Answer 1


The Church of England doesn't generally have a published doctrinal stance on this sort of thing.

However, there is a passage in the Catechism which might be relevant.

What is thy duty towards God?

My duty towards God is to believe in him, to fear him, and to love him, with all my heart, with all my mind, with all my soul, and with all my strength; to worship him, to give him thanks, to put my whole trust in him, to call upon him, to honour his holy Name and his Word, and to serve him truly all the days of my life.

Eve, and Adam, certainly didn't follow that: by disobeying, they did not put their whole trust in God. Whether that turns the story of the apple into a metaphor can only be determined by the individual — the Church of England holds that it's reasonable to believe that the first few chapters of Genesis are literally true and it's reasonable to believe they are allegory or metaphor.

Acquiescent obedience would imply simply being an automaton. No-one is an automaton; God gave Man free-will, and he's used it. It was the basis for the Fall in the first place.

The Catechism continues:

What is thy duty towards thy Neighbour?

My duty towards my Neighbour is to love him as myself, and to do to all men as I would they should do unto me: To love, honour, and succour my father and mother: To honour and obey the Queen, and all that are put in authority under her: To submit myself to all my governors, teachers, spiritual pastors and masters: To order myself lowly and reverently to all my betters: To hurt nobody by word nor deed: To be true and just in all my dealing: To bear no malice nor hatred in my heart: To keep my hands from picking and stealing, and my tongue from evil-speaking, lying, and slandering: To keep my body in temperance, soberness, and chastity: Not to covet nor desire other men's goods; but to learn and labour truly to get mine own living, and to do my duty in that state of life, unto which it shall please God to call me.

This certainly sounds like "acquiescent obedience", but bear in mind that this was written in the seventeenth century for young people coming to confirmation (and it had to be learned by heart!). These two questions follow directly after the recitation of the Ten Commandments and their distillation into the two Dominical commandments, Love God and Love thy Neighbour.

God's will for mankind is to love God and love one's fellow-man. The Catechism makes it clear that there is no greater calling, since it is God's; is that "acquiescent obedience"?

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