A literal translation of the Hebrew text for Genesis chapter 3, verse 5 reads, “… the tree was desirable for causing insight …” This is an important aspect of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We are left to ascertain that Eve arrived at this conclusion by her conversation with the serpent. This helps us to understand that there are two sources of insight – God’s and Satan’s.
When Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the forbidden tree, they connected their minds to the satanic source. “Then the eyes of both were opened …” They now became aware of good and evil. This enabled them to determine right and wrong from the good and evil they now perceived. The tree did indeed “cause insight,” just as Satan convinced Eve that it would.
The sad fact is that mankind has lived by this “insight” ever since. The only exceptions are those individuals or families that God so chose to work with and through for His purpose.
The inescapable fact is that both trees had fruit that was good for food. Adam and Eve did not drop dead upon eating the fruit they were told not to eat. The fruit itself was not harmful. The issue was one of obedience or disobedience to the Word of God.
The Hebrew word for “causing insight” is sakal. It means to be circumspect, intelligent. Certainly a desirable quality. The attractiveness of the qualities offered by that tree is why they ate it.
That fruit is still on offer today.
And the issue regarding it is still the same – obedience or disobedience to the Word of God.
Solomon, in his introduction to the book in which he provides important principles on how to live successfully in an ungodly world, makes this observation. “Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord, they would have none of my counsel and despised my every rebuke. Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled to the full with their own fancies” (Proverbs 1:29-31). Sounds like a rendering of what took place in the garden.
We should have a very clear perception that this is God’s description of our environment. Man has rejected God and lives by the insight derived from the natural human mind. It is a brilliant mind but devoid of the content needed to have godly insight. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).
In this godless world, we are pressed to learn this lesson. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
There is insight that comes from the demonic mind of Satan – and insight that comes from God Himself, from above. (See James 3:13-18). Through God’s Holy Spirit, we are given the knowledge of the two sources – just as Adam and Eve were. We may not be in the Garden of Eden, but we have the choice of two trees from which to eat.
We need to consciously be cautious of human wisdom, “… where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there” (James 3:16). We must choose “… the wisdom that is from above …” (verse 17).
It is a choice that each of us must make – day by day. Satan will continue to try and convince even God’s people that what he offers is “… good for food, pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to [cause insight] …” (Genesis 3:6). However, the insight it produces can lead you away from God. “… but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17). The issue is one of obedience or disobedience to the Word of God.
After pointing out the two sources of insight, James concludes that section by telling us, “Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:18).
Let’s be very diligent to ensure that we are eating the right fruit.