One day, I saw someone posted this question in a forum, “Why did God forbid Adam and Eve from eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil? I think God is a tyrant who tries to control people by restricting their knowledge, just like some governments prefer covering up news to fool civilians.”
Some brothers and sisters provided the following answers:
1. God did give Adam knowledge and intelligence – otherwise he won’t be able to name the animals.
2. The knowledge about evil should be forbidden.
3. It is the disobedience rather than the fruit itself that caused spiritual death.
I looked up Genesis and read the original Hebrew texts. Something very interesting was discovered. There are two words being used in the Bible: “da-at” and “yo-dah”.
On one hand, God ALWAYS used “da-at”:
Genesis 2:9: The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground… In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of (da-at) of good and evil.
Genesis 2:17: “but you must not eat from the tree of (da-at) of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
Genesis 3:22: And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, (da-at) good and evil. He must not be allowed to…”
On the other hand, the snake and people ALWAYS used “yo-dah”:
Genesis 3:5: “For God (yo-dah) that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, (yo-dah) good and evil.”
Genesis 3:7: Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they (yo-dah) they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Most scholars think that “da-at” and “yo-dah” are noun and verb of the same word. Therefore in the Bible they have been translated as “knowledge” and “know”. However, some people (e.g. Jeff Benner) suspect that they are actually two different words. After many days of thinking, I agree that these are two different words. Why?
We know that the snake (Satan) always tells lies. In Genesis 3:1, Satan told the first lies: Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden”? But of course not. We know that this is a distorted version of what God really said. Therefore, logically speaking, Genesis 3:5 must also be a distorted version, otherwise it would become a contradiction if we compare Genesis 3:5 and Genesis 3:22. Satan said Adam and Eve would know good and evil, and then God agreed that they knew good and evil therefore should be expelled from Eden. No, it must be wrong. As we mentioned before, Satan always tells lies. For me, it becomes a strong proof that “yo-dah” and “da-at” should have different meanings.
The meaning of “yo-dah” is a very close relationship. For example:
Genesis 4:1: Adam (yo-dah) his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.
In Genesis 3:5, what Satan meant is: Why only come close to goodness? Why not trying to come close to evil as well? Try something new today! God also tried both good and evil (which is the lie!) Do you want to be like God?
This is a distorted version of what God really said. I believe that the word “da-at” means the authority to judge or define. What God really meant is: people should follow God’s definition of good and evil. When people start to invent their own definition of good and evil, they are leaving God.
Genesis 3:22: …The man has now become like one of us (i.e. God the Father) who makes definition to good and evil…
This interpretation makes sense. People always try to find loopholes in the Law that will enable them to excuse their immoral behavior and attitudes. They have written new interpretations of these laws, and defined exceptions to them.
Judges 21:25: In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.
We saw crazy things happened in the Bible as well as in modern days (e.g. homosexual marriage, unfair taxation policy, etc.).
As a conclusion, the act of eating the forbidden fruit is not only disobedience but also denial of God’s definition of good and evil. And as we saw in history, our society became a mess when everyone tried to define what is right and wrong for their own benefits.