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GOD's words will never change from the beginning of creation and forever. If we read in Mathew chapter 7 words 17-18 it says:

17) Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18) A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

I need to understand how this tree of knowledge bringeth forth GOOD and EVIL fruit which Adam and Eve eat.

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Thanks for asking. There are some important principles here.

First it is important to understand that in Matthew 7 Jesus is not talking about trees. He is using trees as a metaphor for people. To try to learn about trees from his statement is a wrong approach.

Looking at the Garden of Eden, the Tree was in fact bringing forth good fruit - its purpose was to produce fruit which gave knowledge of Good and Evil, and it did. The tree itself wasn't doing anything wrong. It did not bring forth either Good or Evil, but only the knowledge of them.

The problem was not that the fruit was bad, but that Adam and Eve were doing something with it that they weren't supposed to do. They were told not to eat it and they did.

There are plenty of trees today that give fruit that has a good purpose, but that purpose isn't for eating. The Horse Chestnut comes to mind. If you try to eat a Horse Chestnut you will get very sick, but that's not because the chestnut tree gave bad fruit - it's because you ate something that wasn't for eating.

  • So why is it wrong to 'eat' of the tree. Why is it wrong to 'partake' of the tree, if the knowledge is 'only knowledge' ? – Nigel J Apr 26 at 0:56
  • That's a whole other question. – DJClayworth Apr 26 at 1:33
  • With respect, I disagree. It is the whole of this question. – Nigel J Apr 26 at 1:36
  • You can use the Ask Question button to ask. – DJClayworth Apr 26 at 1:45
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    I'm just using it as an example to show that just because a fruit shouldn't be eaten doesn't mean it's a bad tree. – DJClayworth Apr 26 at 13:28
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It is the tree of knowledge of good and evil and not the tree of good and evil.

The fruit of this tree is knowledge. You discern whether that knowledge of good and evil was good or evil in itself.

I would say the fruit of the tree was good. It was only by mans disobedience that we have a tarnished view of this tree.

For example, if God had said it was okay to eat of this tree, man wouldn’t have sinned, and would have gained the knowledge of the tree and remained in paradise in a perfect state of harmony and conscience with God.

Sadly the knowledge of this tree was gained in an unlawful way and thus we look on the this tree with disdain as it was the instrument by which Satan caused man to sin.

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The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was not simultaneously good and evil. It was a wholly corrupt tree yet one with a deceptively righteous facade. That what makes it so scandalous. Like legalism.

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil promised to make Adam and Eve to know good and evil like God, which was in effect, an act of usurpation to their own detriment (Isaiah 42:8). This was indicated by Satan's statement (Genesis 3:4-5) and later reaffirmed by God Himself (Genesis 3:22, Proverbs 12:15, Proverbs 21:2, Luke 16:15, most of the Book of Judges).

That is why it's the Tree where Original Sin, well originated from. That is why they were uncomfortable being naked after giving into the tree of the knowledge of the good and evil's "promise", because they know deep down that they will always fail being exactly like God Himself.

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How come Good and Evil fruit brought from same tree of knowledge in the garden of Eden?

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Matthew7:17-18 is clearly a metaphor while the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil is also a form of metaphor but since it is clouded with mystery it is the subject of a lot of interpretation.

How can we be sure that the Tree of Knowledge is only a metaphor? Let's look at God punishment in Genesis3:16-19 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+3%3A16-19&version=NIV

From the said passages we can see that God punished Adam & Eve and cursed the Serpent and you might not noticed it God cursed the ground too. Why would God cursed the ground and not include the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil? Becuase it was not a literal tree. Remember in the New Testament, Jesus cursed the fig tree;

Jesus Curses a Fig Tree and Clears the Temple Courts https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+11%3A12-25&version=NIV

Now, it's clear that the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil was also a metaphor.

But, what is the connection of the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil to the Tree of Life in the Old Paradise?

In the Book of Revelation the fruit of the Tree of Life is Jesus, and eating the Fruit will give one a taste of Eternal Life promised by Jesus in John Gospel Chapter 6 in the Bread of Life Discourse.

>Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." They said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always." Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." (John 6:32-35, New Revised Standard Version)[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bread_of_Life_Discourse

For Catholic this pertains to the Holy Eucharist as written in the CCC1000, that Jesus promised to all believers.

Now, how about the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil? What is it?

We can have a good information on the prayer of the Hail Mary, as Mary is the New Eve.

"Hail Mary full of grace the Lords is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the FRUIT OF THY WOMB, Jesus".

Jesus the fruit of the Tree of Life comes from the Pure Womb of Mary the New Eve.

With this reflection, it is noteworthy to mentioned the Poem of St.Hildegard describing the sin of Eve;

"She destroy her womb by her ignorance".(St.Hildegard poem)

From the poem we can contrast that Mary the New Eve bears the Author of Life in Her Pure Womb. The Wisdom of God Jesus was Incarnated in the pure womb.

Adam & Eve on otherhand lacks wisdom, because the Gift of Wisdom can b acquired by a life of humility & obedience.

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."

Satan, offered Eve a short-cut to acquire wisdom by eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil. Eve was beguiled by the serpent to take the easiest route to acquire wisdom, and that is thru disobedience.

Now, since St.Hildegard described the fault of Eve as related to her womb, what can we infer?

I don't want to go further but as believer of St.Ambrose and St.Augustine profound wisdom the Sin of Eve is related to procreation. Why? God punishment to Eve is related to child-bearing which is related to her womb in procreation.

In closing, both the Tree in Matthew and Genesis are both metaphor.

Note: From a pure Catholic point of view on the Tree of Life;

Pope Benedict XVI has said that "the Cross is the true tree of life."[16]

Saint Bonaventure taught that the medicinal fruit of the tree of life is Christ himself.[17]

Saint Albert the Great taught that the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ, is the Fruit of the Tree of Life.[18]

Augustine of Hippo said that the tree of life is Christ:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_of_life

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    Do you have a text from scripture to prove that 'the fruit of the tree of life is Jesus (sic)' ? – Nigel J Apr 26 at 0:58
  • @Nigel The fruit of Tree of Life is a symbol for eternal life. Who offers us eternal life? Jesus offers "his flesh & blood" for us to have eternal life. "“Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink."(John6:53-54).I cited the Hail Mary.."blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus". Jesus is the Fruit or the Holy Eucharist.CCC999-CCC1000.Rev.2:7 & Proverbs3:8 – jong ricafort Apr 26 at 2:48
  • @jongricafort and yet it says “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.'” ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭2:7‬ clearly this tree is a tree and has fruits. The fruit of the womb does not make Jesus a fruit. The expression eating His flesh and drinking his blood according to Jesus is explained as “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” ‭‭John‬ ‭6:63‬ – Autodidact Apr 26 at 13:23
  • @Autodidact Pope Benedict XVI said Jesus is the "Tree of Life" and Jesus passion,death & ressurrection is the "Fruit" coming from at the "Foot of the Cross." St.Albert the Great teaches that the Holy Eucharist is the Fruit. So, Jesus is the Tree and the Fruit are his redemptive sacrifice which is the source of all grace & eternal life. The question is who is the paradise? St. Montfort teaches that Mary is the paradise of God which the Tree of Life was born. Jesus did not compromise John6:53-55 as evident his followers left(John6:66) and even all the apostles are tempted to leave.. – jong ricafort Apr 26 at 13:31
  • @jongricafort I’m interested in what the Bible says. Does it say we are to eat Jesus now or later? Because Revelation 2:7 says people WILL (future tense) eat of the fruit of the tree of life. You are equating and conflating the two and therefore have made The tree of life an analogy about Jesus. Do you believe there is an actually tree? Do you also believe that tree is Jesus and therefore the tree in the garden was Jesus in the form of a tree? Help me understand what you actually believe. Thank you. – Autodidact Apr 26 at 14:23
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The tree of the knowledge of good and evil (עֵץ הַדַּעַת טוֹב וָרָע) is one of two specific trees in the story of the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2–3, along with the tree of life.

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil produced fruit that was good in itself and was desirable for eating. Both Adam and Eve proved that by eating it. The fruit of this tree is sometimes referred to as the forbidden fruit and not "good or evil fruit". It was forbidden for Adam and Eve to eat of this fruit, thus it is called the forbidden fruit.

And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 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. - Genesis 2:16–17

In Genesis 3, the serpent tempts the Eve:

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil. -  Genesis 3:4–5

Desiring this wisdom, the woman eats the forbidden fruit and gives some to the man who also eats it. They become aware of their "nakedness" and make fig-leaf clothes, and hide themselves when God approaches. God curses The Serpent, The Woman then The Man, and expels the Man and Woman from the garden and thereby from eternal life. - Forbidden fruit

Various fruit have been suggested as being the forbidden fruit.

The word fruit appears in Hebrew as פֶּ֫רִי. As to which fruit may have been the forbidden fruit of the Garden of Eden, possibilities include apple, grape, pomegranate, fig, carob, etrog or citron, pear, and mushrooms. The pseudepigraphic Book of Enoch describes the tree of knowledge: "It was like a species of the Tamarind tree, bearing fruit which resembled grapes extremely fine; and its fragrance extended to a considerable distance. I exclaimed, How beautiful is this tree, and how delightful is its appearance!" (1 Enoch 31:4).

An alternative view is that the forbidden fruit is metaphorical, possibly the fruit of the womb, i.e. sex and procreation from the tree of life. In his Autobiography of a Yogi, Hindu spiritual teacher Paramhansa Yogananda cites an interpretation by his master Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri that the Garden of Eden refers to man's body, with the fruit in the center being that of the sexual organs. - Forbidden fruit

There is a interesting and funny story about the Good Pope St John XIII and the apple before he became a pope.

One day, Msgr. Angelo Roncalli 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, Because when Eve ate an apple, she realized she was nakedtook 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 Pope St. John XXIII. It's not known what happened to the woman.

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Both DJClayworth and www.gffg.info already pointed out:

1.) The tree in Genesis 3 doesn't bring good or evil but the knowledge of good and evil.

2.) The usage of tree in Matthew 7:15-19 is a metaphor, and if I may add, it's a metaphor to distinguish between true and false prophets.

I have always been fascinated by the significance of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Don't we need to know them in order to choose good rather than evil? This is beyond the OP's question, but for those who're interested, here's an interpretation.

Scholars have offered various explanations of what the tree in Genesis 3 represent. I'm quoting from a survey of scholarly opinions in the entry of the Fall from the IVP Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch. H. Blocher ("In the Beginning", IVP 1984, pages 121-134) proposes that the "knowledge of good and evil" refers to moral autonomy. By eating the fruit you acquire the ability to determine good and evil without reference / obligation to God. Yet it is hard to imagine that God would delegate this prerogative to human beings. G. J. Wenham (New Biblical Commentary on this passage) says "The latter was forbidden for human consumption because the wisdom acquired through eating it leads to independence from God, whereas true wisdom begins with the ‘fear of the Lord’ (Pr. 1:7). The dictionary article author continues:

We should note that in a sense the man and the woman already had knowledge of what was right and wrong before they ate, since it was implicit in the command. On the other hand, Hebrew thought recognized the experiential and relational dimensions of knowledge. To eat from the forbidden tree was an act that gave knowledge based on experience but also established autonomy from God inappropriate for humanity. We know only too well that the very nature of temptation, especially a new form of temptation, begs to be experienced for the knowledge it is thought to offer. Such knowledge inevitably proves disappointing, if not illusory, but it is the attraction that gives temptation its power. The irony is that true wisdom, and the right knowledge of good and evil, lies in rejecting the experience.

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