the one exception

Genesis 2

15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”


We know that all the trees of the garden were pleasing to look at, and their fruit good to taste.  And here God speaks to the man, and issues his command.  He begins by saying : you are free...  

God lays before the man an array of good and beautiful choices. He may pick whichever he chooses. But there is one choice that will have a deeply unhappy consequence.  All the trees (including the aforementioned Tree of Life, we assume) are there to provide fruit for the occupant of the garden.  But one of them is different, and eating its fruit will change everything. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is off limits.

Interestingly, God doesn’t just command, but he explains his command.  You must not eat from it…because.

It is the one exception because.

It is what he must not do because.

Because if he does, this living being will lose what he has been given.  He will lose life itself.

The author of this story certainly knows how build up tension.  Planted here is a possibility, a frightening possibility.  It hangs there teasingly in the reader’s mind.

2 thoughts on “the one exception

  1. Lucy Mills says:

    Well, firstly I should say that here I am immersing myself in the story, regardless of people's interpretations on what is literal and what is symbolic; I'm just reflecting on the words that are there and what they might mean and convey.However, since you asked I will try and answer! My opinions on this are quite soft around the edges. I suppose I do lean towards the more symbolic, although this is a journey for me too, as I grapple with the various genres of the bible and how to interpret them. Sometimes I think our modern divisions of 'fiction' and 'non-fiction' and even 'symbolic' and 'literal' can be a bit unhelpful here. Something can be literal and symbolic, likewise something that is not literal can still be a true account – using the available images of the culture to communicate what happened, if not text-book style. I've struggled with this mindset in the past, as if non-fiction and fiction are the same as true and false. It's taken me a while to grow out of these definitions and see things differently…A slightly garbled response, but an honest one!


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