Eating fruit is supposed to be healthy for us. The saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” is a positive testimonial to its nutritional value and fiber content.
So why would God warn Adam and Eve not to do something which offered real health benefits? What made the forbidden fruit forbidden? If one does not think deeply about this, then the only conclusion to be made is that this particular fruit was not necessarily bad to eat, but that the act of disobeying God made it evil.
If one does think deeply about this biblical event it becomes quite troublesome. The outcome, called “The Fall,” challenges our intuitive and deep sense of justice and rightness.
In this story, God concocted an artificial test, which had nothing to do with a person’s actual character or morality, yet became so indignant by this minor infraction that all humanity was doomed to suffer. Why would someone’s moment of weakness be transferred to future generations as deadly original sin?
It seems as though God acted more like a spoiled brat than one possessing Infinite Love and Wisdom. And why did God later choose to become more practical with the Ten Commandments, which does indeed address and test the quality of human souls? Was God still tinkering with how humans should behave? Tinkering does not suggest inerrancy.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe in the inerrancy and authority of Scripture. The problem is that the literal interpretation of its stories kills heavenly communication.
The Word of God could not be the Word of God unless it contained the boundless depth of Infinite wisdom. God could not have created everything in the universe, including bio-complexity, from the Holy Word, unless it too, contained unimaginable complexity. The only way Infinite Wisdom and complexity can exist in a finite book is if Scripture is a multidimensional document with layers of meaning.
These higher meanings allow God to reveal more and more divine wisdom to us. For instance, on a higher level, the act of eating in Scripture represents appropriation. When we eat and metabolize food (or fruit) it enters into our very fabric and becomes “us.” The same thing holds true with ideas and beliefs – which we can swallow whole.
Simply put, the forbidden fruit was harmful because it was really poisonous to eat – poisonous for the soul. God warned against eating this fruit because it came from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which represents humankind’s misguided belief and faith in their own self intelligence, rather then being led by God’s wisdom (Tree of Life).
To be expelled from the Garden of Eden is to be removed from God’s wisdom. Everything wrong about today’s world and human affairs is not from any ongoing punishment. It all stems from a lack of wisdom.
Don’t you think that the “fruits” of one’s self-pride and ego reasoning are much more tempting and sweeter than a mere apple? This higher lesson is carried over into the New Testament by the Lord’s words, “wherefore by their fruits you shall know them” (Matthew 7:20) and “for the tree is known by his fruit” (Matthew 12:33).