What is the purpose behind “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,” and why the penalty of death in connection with eating of it?


Gen 2:15  And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

Gen 2:16  And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

Gen 2:17  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.



My understanding is that the implementation of the plan of evil took place in the heavens first among the angelic realm and then upon the earth. The fact that the plan of evil was already in existence by the sixth day of creation is evident to me by the fact that when God created Adam both “good” and “evil” were in existence, and Adam was made aware of it through the presence of “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Briefly put, my understanding is that “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” was put in the garden because of the existence of the Satanic Plan of Evil. Though in Genesis 1 and 2 God does not explain what had taken place in the angelic realm with Lucifer before Adam and the woman were created on the sixth day, (as He sees fit to describe later on in places like Ezekiel 28), He does set forth enough information to make it evident that something definitely did take place in that realm and that it was not good. In fact, the very fact that “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” was in the garden on the sixth day also makes it clear to me that not only was the “good” of all that God had done and purposed in the six days of creation in existence and evident to Adam, but so was “evil.”


Eze 28:13  Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.

Eze 28:14  Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.

Eze 28:15  Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

Eze 28:16  By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.

Eze 28:17  Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.


It was already in existence, and was a factor to be dealt with, and Adam was informed of its existence. However, though the “evil” was in existence and Adam knew it existed because of God’s statement about it; it was not yet personally evident to Adam. He hadn’t seen it, or seen any evidence of it. He just knew it existed because God said it did. In view of this, when God “put him in the garden of Eden to dress it,” He also told him “to keep it.” And that is “keep” in the sense of protect, guard, etc. Hence Adam also was informed that whatever was involved in the “evil,” it wasn’t in the garden yet; but it would endeavor to be there. «) So primarily (though not exclusively) on the basis of this my understanding is that Satan implemented his plan of evil first among the angels of the heavenly realm and then upon the earth as set forth in Genesis 3.


Gen 3:13  And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

Gen 3:14  And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

Gen 3:15  And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.


Regarding the time frame for all of this, and the time between the two events, briefly put my understanding is as follows: First of all I do not subscribe to the idea of a “gap” of substantial time, either great or not so great, between what is stated in Genesis 1:1 and what is stated in Genesis 1:2. Years ago I used to think that such a “gap” probably existed, but I have since changed my mind. So I do not think that Lucifer fell, implemented his plan of evil in heaven (or in heaven and on a pre-Genesis 1:2 earth) and then after a span of some undefined time God re-worked the earth after judging what Satan had done, etc., etc. In my present understanding I do not see any “gap,” nor the need for it. Instead my understanding is that from the second day of creation to the fourth day the things in connection with Lucifer’s sin and the concoction of his plan of evil took place. From the fourth day on the implementation of his plan of evil took place among the angelic realm, with the result that when God created Adam and his wife on the sixth day the plan of evil was already in existence and the earthly realm was set to be its next target as Satan sought to be “like the most High,” “possessor of heaven and earth.”


Job 38:4  Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.

Job 38:5  Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?

Job 38:6  Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;

***Job 38:7  When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Job 38:8  Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb?

Job 38:9  When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it,


Likewise my understanding is that the implementation of the plan of evil on the earth also took place rapidly. Especially in view of the dominion of the earth being given to Adam, in order for Satan to become the possessor of the earth, (and to do so with the least difficulty and greatest chance of success), he would need to move quickly. And I am persuaded that he did, with the event of Genesis 3 occurring most likely within just a day or so following the seventh day.


Until next time,

Keith Blades

Enjoy The Bible Ministries

***Note from the Administrator: Job 38:7 shows that “all” the sons of God shouted for joy as God was creating the earth, and this was during the 7 days of creation; which ‘gap theory’ teachers teach that Satan had already developed his plan of evil by then and caused some of the angelic realm to ‘sign up’ unto his plan of evil. And also this is how they explain the dinosaurs, and the ‘billions’ of years that evolutionist claim that has past us by, but as you can see in verse 7, “all” the sons of God shouted for joy: including Satan! Sin had not entered into the world at that time, and it would be impossible for dinosaurs to live ‘billions’ of years ago and die off, because the only way they could have died off would be by the effects of sin; and as we all know, death came by the sin of Adam.

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