What is the forbidden “tree”?

We find the account of the forbidden tree in Genesis 2:15-16 Here we see God warn Adam and Eve that they would “surely die” if they were to eat from the “forbidden tree”. 

Genesis 2:15 Then the Lord God took the man (Adam) and put him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and tend it. 16 The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may freely eat17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for on the day that you eat from it you will certainly die.” 💀

The serpent 🐍 LIED to Eve, accusing God (YHWH) of lying to her. 😲 Isn’t that what evil always does? The very evil that they accuse the RIGHTEOUS of doing, they themselves are doing!

Genesis 3:4: The serpent said to the woman, 🐍 You certainly will not die! For God (yhwh) knows that on the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will become like God, knowing good and evil.

The serpent accused God of LYING to Eve, but it was the serpent who LIED – telling her that she would not die. What a BOLD-FACED lie! Sadly, Eve believed the lies of the serpent over the truth of God (YHWH) and ATE from the nasty fruit. Spiritually, Eve did die that very day, the day that she ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 💀Physically, death had now entered the world and she and Adam (who also ate from the fruit) would eventually DIE the physical death. Everything rapidly spiraled downhill after this single act of disobedience. Now every human being (except for Jesus Christ, the Son of God) who is born into the world is “born dead” (spiritually) and will eventually die the physical death. Adam and Eve had been created in the image of God. Their children would be born in the image of Adam, still the image of God – but FALLEN.

Genesis 5:3:  When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth.

But, what, exactly is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?  Obviously, it’s not JUST a natural tree.  However, it is interesting that as soon as Adam and Eve “ate” from its fruit, they recognized that they were naked and immediately clothed themselves in Fig Leaves.  Hmmm…Was the forbidden tree a fig tree?  We see the Fig Tree mentioned many times in Scripture.  As we stated in a previous post, God uses physical concepts to teach us spiritual realities.

The forbidden Tree in the Garden of Eden was most likely NOT JUST an actual tree.  Though SYMBOLIZED by an ACTUAL TREE (probably a fig tree), the fruit of the forbidden tree was the IDEA that we, as human beings, BY OURSELVES, can tell the difference between good and evil!  It is the idea that we DO NOT NEED our Creator to teach us, tell us, or instruct us in any way.  In-fact, we can take it a step further, and state that we don’t WANT or even REFUSE His help or instruction.   This is open rebellion, and this was the tree from which Adam and Eve (and eventually all mankind) ate.

In the New Testament, Jesus saw the FIG TREE, and He cursed it because it wasn’t bearing any FRUIT, and then it RAPIDLY (within a day) withered and died.  Why did Jesus do that?  Did He hate figs??  No!  He did it because the Fig Tree was a METAPHOR for our rebellion against our Creator.  The fig tree represents the “humanistic ideology” that we can do life ourselves, without God. Mankind is incapable of being able to properly discern between good and evil – without God’s help. We will miss the mark every time. This is just as true today as it was 6,000 years ago.

  • The FIG TREE represents our open rebellion against God
  • The FIG LEAVES (that Adam and Eve “clothed” themselves with) represent the erroneous idea that OUR “good works” can make us righteous before a Holy God.

Jesus FIRST cursed the Fig Tree and then Healed Mankind through His Sacrifice (We will detail that in a future post).  Jesus cursed that tree so that EVENTUALLY no man would eat of it again!

Here is an interesting tidbit….Let us take a quick look at Buddhism, a very popular “RELIGION”. Religion says that we can make ourselves “righteous” through our own works. True Christianity says that we can never make ourselves righteous, that only God, through the shed blood of His Son Jesus Christ, can make man righteous. True Christianity is not a religion, it is a RELATIONSHIP. 

“The tree more particularly revered by Buddhists is the Bo-tree, or Tree of Buddha. Often it is used as a symbol of Buddha. It belongs as close to Buddha as the Cross does to Jesus Christ. Legend states that Buddha attained his great ENLIGHTENMENT after six year’s meditation under the Bo-tree. Bo is a contraction of Bodhi, WHICH MEANS WISDOM THROUGH A TREE. Here again we are confronted with THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE” (Tree Worship, by Charles Alldritt. Strong & Ready Ltd., Auckland. 1965, p. 60).

And what TYPE of tree was the Bo-tree? A book published by the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of New York answers:

“Deciding that the answer was to be found in his [Buddha’s] own consciousness, he sat in meditation under a PIPAL, OR INDIAN FIG TREE. Resisting attacks and temptations by the DEVIL MARA, he continued steadfast in his meditation…until he supposedly transcended all KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING and reached enlightenment” (Mankind’s Search For God, 1990, p. 137).

Here, again, we see the fig tree (symbolic for our open rebellion), that demonic tree that still feeds people today.  I’m sorry if that hurts people’s feelings, but it’s the truth. SADLY, I’m no exception as I, too, have nibbled from this tree many times!   Even those of us who know the truth, still nibble off of its nasty fruit from time to time. 

Truth is, ALL PEOPLE have fallen short of the Glory of God.  The devil has deceived THE ENTIRE WORLD! 👨🏻‍🦯The only place we can really tell the truth is the Bible, which is the Word of God.  There’s actually a verse in the Bible that states every word is “GOD BREATHED”.  This means that the Bible is the only TRUSTWORTHY book of TRUTH!  If God says something is “wrong” or calls something evil in the Bible, then it is!  We cannot change what is written just because we want it to be different, or even because we it to be believe different.  See? Depressed yet?  Don’t be……

Here’s the GOOD NEWS!!!  Just because we have ALL eaten from this tree, are we doomed?  No way!  God’s RESCUE PLAN UNDERSTANDS that we’ve been DECEIVED, and that we can’t help but to nibble at this tree from time to time.  But God wants us to learn the truth because the truth will set us FREE!

See you back next time!  🙂

About TFJ 281 Articles
My name is TFJ, which stands for Thankful for Jesus. I'm a wife, a mom, and a grandma. I have a passion for Jesus because He literally drug me out of the pit, washed me clean, and made me new. I know He will do the same for you, if you let Him.