Hashem Elohim allowed the human being to eat the product which was produced by every tree in Gan Eden, except from the tree of knowledge (understanding) of what’s good and bad. So with this knowledge human knew of which trees one could eat and of which tree one couldn’t eat; they should have known that it would be a transgression of the command (i.e. a sin) if they indeed ate from it.

But without the knowledge of what’s good and what’s bad, produced by this one tree, how could Adam and Chavah have known it was ‘bad’ to eat from it’s fruit, and ‘good’ not to eat from it? How could they have been able to make a discernment between good and bad, make a judgement?

One more thing, Hashem seems to have made everything He created ‘good’ and even ‘very good’. If the human being had only experienced good – and witnessed, experienced or practiced nothing with which to contrast good – up until the point they sinned and their eyes were opened, how would the human being have ever been able to inherently know it would be bad to eat from the fruit of this one tree?

How could the human being have known what would be proper and fitting? How could they have known it was the right thing to listen and obey G-d’s voice, and wrong to follow their own voice (i.e. the snake)?

  • A possible explanation: good and bad mentioned are in our moral framework, not theirs. They weren't told "eating from that tree is good", they were told, "if you eat you die". No good or bad.
    – Al Berko
    Oct 28 '19 at 18:53
  • Living is good, but dying is certainly not. Of course, if you haven't died before, how would you know what dying actually is? However, if you read the Bible the right way because studying the Torah is good, but the correct Torah study is excellent, all questions will be deleted. See my answer here for a correct interpretation and correct way of Torah study.
    – Turk Hill
    Oct 28 '19 at 20:01
  • Is this a duplicate of the other question? AFAICT the other question is asking, "How could Adam and Chava have chosen to do wrong?", while this question is asking, "On what basis could Adam and Chava have known to choose right?"
    – Zev Spitz
    Nov 10 '19 at 15:53

The problem you see is wrong assumptions!

Since G-d does not emit evil it is inconceivable to image that G-d would produce or create "dark forces" such as Satan or malevolent talking serpents (snakes) to manipulate or distort the creation of the world in which the Bible calls "Very good."

The "Garden of Eden" story is about morality and intelligence, and the duty and obligation to develop one's intelligence. The Rambam felt that the Garden of Eden parable taught a person how to live life correctly because the Torah is certainly holy, he felt that no other book - and I agree with him - tells a man how to live life correctly.

The Rambam sees the Tree of "good and evil" in the parable not as a distinction from right and wrong but from truth and falsehood. Meaning, that people should evaluate every situation, determine the best course of action, and act intelligently, not morally because morality is only a set of rules for the general public who needs to be told how to act in any given situation, but is by no means conventional.

  • You keep saying "The "Garden of Eden" story is about morality and intelligence" but this is not a widely accepted position in Judaism. You might say "it might be interpreted as metaphorical", but then it loses its meaning.
    – Al Berko
    Oct 28 '19 at 20:05
  • @AlBerko It is the way of the Rambam. His writings are not widely known. My answer unveils his teachings for the general public, I hope. Additionally, you could read Rabbi Micah Goodman's books to get a better understanding of the same interpretation.
    – Turk Hill
    Oct 28 '19 at 20:08
  • That's fine, but that's exactly why you should phrase your claim more gently. THe problem with Rambam is that to say - it's all metaphorical does not help to understand anything, that's why your answer turns worthless. Keep in mind also, that Rambam wasn't accepted in the Ashkenazi Rabbinical communities up until very recently, so by pushing his idea you seem to neglect the traditional views.
    – Al Berko
    Oct 28 '19 at 20:49
  • You make a good point. I enjoy traditional views, too.
    – Turk Hill
    Oct 28 '19 at 20:52

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