Tree Of Knowledge Of Good And Evil Analysis

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For the Christian, the scriptures are a foundation of truth amidst a world of disorder. However, even the Christian has trouble interpreting the Bible’s rich meaning. Thus God, in his wisdom, gave us the Catholic Church, that we might interpret Scripture properly. The book of Genesis depicts for us a tree symbolic of man’s first sin, “the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”. The question to be answered in this paper is not so much whether a literal tree existed, but precisely what is meant by “The Knowledge of Good and Evil”. There are various ways of interpreting this passage, but the best interpretation is arguably the following: In light of Catholic Theological tradition, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil symbolizes the attempt of Adam …show more content…
This argument, however, does not take into account what C.S. Lewis mentions in Mere Christianity: man’s innate ability to discern good from evil. Additionally, this interpretation suggests that it’s possible for one to commit mortal sin without sufficient knowledge. Are we to say that understanding good and evil in this way is a mortal sin? However, one may object, saying that Adam and Eve ‘knew’ evil by partaking in it, thus committing a sin. This interpretation would be accurate if the tree was merely “The Tree of Knowledge of Evil”, but as the text stands, one would have to conclude that Adam and Eve are partaking in good and evil in the same act. Clearly, it is impossible for an act to be virtuous and sinful at the same time, as it is impossible for an assertion to simultaneously true and false. Although these interpretations are true in certain respects, using only one or the other leads to different moral impossibilities. Therefore becomes necessary, to consider a different interpretation. Defining the Tree in the third chapter of Genesis as the creation of a new good and evil contrary to God’s will accounts for …show more content…
Using their reason, they came into union with their pre-existing ideas to create a new form. This act, however, is impossible for a created being; man cannot redefine an integral part of the natural order, an act only possible for God. Adam and Eve try to be like God in a way that is impossible,”knowing good and evil,” thereby placing themselves in a state of being contrary to God’s will for the natural order. This is the primordial disobedience understood as original sin. St. Pope John Paul II reaches a similar conclusion and expresses the symbolism of the tree flawlessly: ‘According to the Book of Genesis, "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" was to express and constantly remind man of the "limit" impassable for a created being.’ He later touches on the concept of disobedience: "Disobedience" means precisely going beyond that limit, which remains impassable to the will and the freedom of man as a created being. For God the Creator is the one definitive source of the moral order in the world created by him. Man cannot decide by himself what is good and what is evil -- cannot "know good and evil, like

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