‘And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD 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 2:15–17
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Luke 4:1–13
We have reason to believe that before sin brought a curse upon the creation, the whole earth was a Garden of Eden in comparison of[with] what it is now. Yet when all was good, it pleased God to make a further display of his goodness in favour of man, and to enrich and beautify a peculiar spot for his residence. In this paradise man was placed with a general permission of the right and use of all that he could desire—with only the one exception mentioned in my text where we may note the name: the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
On the conduct of our first parents (for they were both included, see 3:2) with respect to this tree, depended their knowledge of that good for which they were created, or the evil which was yet unknown that would be the consequence of disobedience. Note that Adam’s whole duty to God consisted in abstinence from the forbidden fruit—for we have shown that his being made in the divine image signified that he had the law of love, holiness and righteousness written in his heart. But his ability to maintain communion with his Maker was suspended upon his observation of this positive precept.
FOR MEDITATION: ‘I go to prepare a place for you’ (John 14:2).
‘To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God’ (Revelation 2:7).
‘In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him’ (Revelation 22:2–3).
SERMON SERIES: GENESIS, NO. 4 [1/2], GENESIS 2:15–17