Talk:Tree of the knowledge of good and evil

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Off-topic discussion[edit]

Off-topic discussion and evangelism has been moved to /off-topic

Tree of Life[edit]

I'm new here. Well, old actually. I contributed something a couple of years ago. I see "they presented a risk that they would also eat the fruit of the Tree of Life and become immortal".

It was only once they had eaten of the Tree of Conscience that God forbade Adam and Eve from eating of the Tree of Life.

Genisis 3:22 And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever."

That is, immortality was theirs until they had acquired conscience. Banishment from the garden meant banishment from the source of immortality - the Tree of Life.

The above quote from your article may be understood to imply they were denied access to the tree of life before they sinned, that they might "become immortal". Banishment was not about preventing them from becoming immortal but denying them the immortality they had hitherto enjoyed.

Genisis 3:2 The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.' "

Anthony (talk) 06:56, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

What about Cannabis?[edit]

I find it interesting there's no mention of cannabis here. Cannabis is held out as the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil by several religious groups, such as Rastafarians, Essenians, Ethiopian Coptic Christians, even Sufic Islamists and Zoroastarians use cannabis in their ceremonies, and several of them explicitly identify cannabis as the Tree of Knowledge - which, if you've ever taken it, isn't too surprising.

Furthermore, cannabis was one of the ingredients of the Anointing Oil used for the Judaic kings, Solomon was said to have it planted on his tomb, it was widely utilized in ancient Semetic culture, it is reputed by some to be the identity of the "Burning Bush" that Moses was overcome by, and it is mentioned explicitly in multiple place in the Bible as Kaneh Bosem, fragrant cane, and other ancient names.

It seems like a large oversight to make no mention at all of cannabis when several religions or religious sects identify cannabis as the Tree. Even if it's a conflicted account and not fully supported, it's intellectually dishonest to completely ignore the topic.Chaos Motor 00:49, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

You may be interested in the cannabis chapter of M. Pollan's book The Botany of Desire, in which he interprets the story as an effort of a young monotheistic religion to discourage pagan veneration of psychoactive plants. If more than one source with this interpretation of the story could be found, I think it would be worth including in the article. Orthografer (talk) 04:24, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

The mystery of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil[edit]

The knowledge of evil:

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

Genesis 4:1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived

Genesis 4:17 And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived

Genesis 4:25 And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son

Judges 19:25 But the men would not hearken to him: so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night

etc., etc., etc.


The knowledge of goodness:

John 4:14 And Jesus said: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.

Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.


The crossing of two forces, symbolized by the christian Cross, the jewish seal of Solomon, the daoist Yin & Yan, etc., is the great Arcanum of world-religion. The tree of knowledge, also called Daath or Gnosis symbolizes the root wisdom of generation. Here's a link that should prove illuminating: http://www.gnosticteachings.org/

The gnostic position should therefore not be left out in this article.

Jewish interpretation missing[edit]

Um, Genesis is part of the Torah. Why are Jewish interpretations not listed? Arch O. LaTalkTCF 04:53, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Please see WP:BIAS and {{sofixit}} - I will strongly support you and cheer you on. KillerChihuahua?!? 21:08, 4 April 2006 (UTC)
Except that I don't know what the Jewish interpretations are. The article does discuss Rabbinic commentary on the fruit (grape or fig or wheat), but not the tree itself. Grigory Deepdelver of BrockenboringTalkTCF 21:12, 4 April 2006 (UTC) (The editor formerly known as Archola.)

I found some info on the Jewish interpretation of the tree in the original sin article and added the info here. A web search also found this commentary, which references Maimonides. Grigory Deepdelver of BrockenboringTalkTCF 09:26, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Christian interpretations[edit]

I'm about to trim this article to a nub unless some sources are found - I've looked a little, but I have no idea of the sources for most of this, and the weaseling and casual wording is a bit much - "Christian interpreters" What Christian interpreters? When? Who? "you strung up the guy right away" This is not encyclopedic writing. KillerChihuahua?!? 21:15, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

It is a bit strange. You'd expect a discussion of Augustinian original sin vs. Pelagianism as it relates to the nature of the tree itself. Grigory Deepdelver of BrockenboringTalkTCF 09:29, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Well, I just did a rewrite. Be sure to look it over. Grigory Deepdelver of BrockenboringTalkTCF 13:48, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Should there be a gnostic interpretation of the tree as well? Or just a bit on original sin/eating of the fruit as an entering of conciousness, as a modern or secular interpretation.


Also, this section needs to state more explicitly that the concept of original sin is almost exclusivly Catholic (and maybe Anglican) dogma. Few other christian religions believe in the concept of original sin.Padillah 15:30, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Sources[edit]

Per Archola's request, I reviewed the page. However, until citations are provided (per KC's still valid request), it will be hard to decide if any true POV remains, thus I used the citation needed tag in places where I think a cite would benefit the article. If help is needed in setting up the sourcing, etc, give me a holler. •Jim62sch• 18:12, 24 April 2006 (UTC)


Semi-automatic peer review[edit]

Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil[edit]

The following suggestions were generated by a semi-automatic javascript program, and may or may not be accurate for the article in question. *This article has no images. Please see if there are any free use images that fall under WP:IUP and WP:IT that can be uploaded. To upload images on Wikipedia, go to Special:Upload; to upload non-fair use images on the Wikimedia Commons, go to commons:special:upload.[1]. Done. Arch O. La Grigory Deepdelver 08:32, 6 September 2006 (UTC) *Per WP:CONTEXT and WP:BTW, years with full dates should be linked; for example, link January 15, 2006, but do not link January 2006.[2] Done. *Per WP:MOS#Headings, headings generally do not start with the word "The". For example, ==The Biography== would be changed to ==Biography==. Done. Arch O. La Grigory Deepdelver 06:35, 6 September 2006 (UTC) *Please reorder/rename the last few sections to follow guidelines at WP:GTL. . Done. Arch O. La Grigory Deepdelver 06:44, 6 September 2006 (UTC) *Please alphabetize the interlanguage links.[3] Done. Arch O. La Grigory Deepdelver 06:44, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

  • Watch for redundancies that make the article too wordy instead of being crisp and concise. (You may wish to try Tony1's redundancy exercises.)
    • Vague terms of size often are unnecessary and redundant - “some”, “a variety/number/majority of”, “several”, “a few”, “many”, “any”, and “all”. For example, “All pigs are pink, so we thought of a number of ways to turn them green.”

*As done in WP:FOOTNOTE, footnotes usually are located right after a punctuation mark (as recommended by the CMS, but not mandatory), such that there is no space inbetween. For example, the sun is larger than the moon [2]. is usually written as the sun is larger than the moon.[2] Done. Arch O. La Grigory Deepdelver 06:46, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

You may wish to browse through User:AndyZ/Suggestions for further ideas. Thanks, Arch O. La Grigory Deepdelver 06:34, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (round 2)[edit]

The following suggestions were generated by a semi-automatic javascript program, and may or may not be accurate for the article in question.

You may wish to browse through User:AndyZ/Suggestions for further ideas. Thanks, Arch O. La Grigory Deepdelver 07:50, 7 September 2006 (UTC)


I deleted the section citing Family Guy as under Popular Culture, largely because it is insignificant. Personally enjoying Family Guy, this information is not informative to the subject matter and is mildly offensive.

Arbor scientie, the "Tree of Knowledge" tended by layman and monk, in a German 16th-century woodcut

"Huge birds of prey were common in those days and they fed upon mankind...."[edit]

...Hilarious. What does Stephen Colbert make of such a statement, one wonders? One is scarcely tempted to make sense of such an article. I thought the German 16th century woodcut at right might be suitable, but I don't think it's worth the trouble. --Wetman 20:59, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

References in symbolic interpretation of tree[edit]

The following speculative remark from the symbolic interpretation section adds nothing:

"If so the fruit of the tree might be using moral law as a tool to break the commandment "Judge not."

There is no "Judge not" commandment. The author probably refers to the following text: "Judge not, and you will not be judged ... for with the measure you use it will be measured back to you" - which warns against hypocritical judgment.

--Dynamind (talk) 23:17, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

Popular Culture[edit]

Many articles have a section about that article's topic's portrayal or appearances in Popular Culture. I wonder if this article should have one. I can think of numerous books and a couple of television shows that portrayed the tree significantly. Thoughts? Hooper (talk) 17:19, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Clarification, please.[edit]

"This is a natural process for neurological systems (humans and animals) to make to avoid pain or gain pleasure."

I think this statement can be cleaned up, mainly because both humans and animals have neurological systems. I don't think that specific point needs to be made and it muddles this sentence.

"It is a natural neurological process that is made which makes an organism either avoid pain or gain pleasure."

Or something... in any case, what is there now is hard to read.

209.212.5.190 (talk) 18:03, 10 October 2008 (UTC)someguy

I agree with "someguy". The tree of knowledge of good and evil is the nervous system. It is being explained in detail at www.facebook.com/tree.good.evil 74.78.29.125 (talk) 22:45, 10 February 2011 (UTC)Beth

New Age[edit]

I think the new age section of this article is very poor. The style is un-encyclopaedic, there are no references; to be honest, it reads more like a recruitment brochure than an objective summary. Unless some sources can be found or some improvements made I think it should go. I have no knowledge of new age interpretations of Genesis or of sources to find out about it, or I'd do it myself. Visual Error (talk) 06:47, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

I agree. I went ahead and removed the astrological bit just after as well, because it was plainly the opinion of the writer alone, it was only about two nonsense sentences long, and it appeared to be spelled, capitalized, and punctuated in English by someone who speaks only Swahili. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.195.185.148 (talk) 07:35, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Fruit of the Tree[edit]

The attempts to identify the forbidden fruit seem to me somewhat simplistic. Why would a grape or an apple convey a knowledge of good and evil? The story needs to be interpreted in spiritual terms. What exactly does knowledge of good and evil imply? I realize this is theology, but how else are Biblical subjects to be dealt with?

Has anyone out there suggested that the female orgasm might be the forbidden fruit? People in some societies use extreme means to prevent female orgasm (e.g.,clitoridectomy or female circumcision). These practices are apparently very old, suggesting an ancient antipathy to the idea of a woman enjoying sexuality. Virgil H. Soule (talk) 21:12, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

translation[edit]

Could someone please explain what the Hebrew words are that we translate as good and evil? How are those words used in other places in the scriptures? Is this the same "evil" that God repents of doing to the Israelites, thanks to Moses' intervention? Leadwind (talk) 16:35, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

Reversed edit by Espoo[edit]

I have removed this from the introduction.

According to some scholars, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life are in fact the same tree.[1] According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, both are forms of the world tree.[2]

"World tree" literature refers to the tree of life, not the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The deleted section says "some scholars" conflate the two trees. Which scholars? The reference is to one book with no page number. To include something as obscure and contentious as this in the article, you'll need to provide more precise and detailed support; and under no circumstances does it belong in the introduction. Anthony (talk) 15:19, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Tree of knowledge is Actually a term to denote Sex[edit]

Actually it is generally agreed by muslim scholars that tree
of life as mentioned in bible and the quran is actually the "Act of Sexual Intercourse".
The term "tree" does not refer to a real tree. Adam and Eve were ordered to leave heaven
because they committed the action of intercourse against
command when both were tempted by Satan.

Shahzad Anwar 01:06, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Please do not use multiple ='s to make your statements bold (it creates a new section in the page), and do not remove other editors' posts. Do you have a printed source for this assertion? Ian.thomson (talk) 01:46, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Mormon Interpretation[edit]

Having read Jon Krakauer's history of mormonism, Under the Banner of Heaven, I wonder why one of the claims in his book isn't listed here. Apparently Joseph Smith went around the US and outlying territories claiming that the Garden of Eden ( where this tree lived ) was in the US state of Missouri.

I'll leave this to people who are more familiar with the history and theology to figure this out, now that the issue has been raised.

--SeattleHiker (talk) 22:12, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

See Adam-ondi-Ahman, Adam and Eve (LDS Church), & Original sin#The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. -- 208.81.184.4 (talk) 21:59, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Religion Explained[edit]

There's at least one further interpretation of the myth this article is written around, that isn't listed in the article. Pascal Boyer, in his book Religion Explained, talks of doing field work in parts of Africa, and explaining the Adam and Eve story to villagers who still follow traditional religions. From memory, his explanation goes like this:

All pain, suffering, and death in the world is because two ancestors ate exotic fruit in a garden.

Considering that this may well be the only Wikipedia article without a "criticisms" section, and also that this is an on-topic comment from a scholarly work, able to be cited, and dealing with the religious interpretation ( ancestor worship ) of this myth, I believe it deserves a place in this article.

--SeattleHiker (talk) 22:18, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Should the serpent get its own article?[edit]

Just a thought. It could have a lot of potential, considering the debate on whether or not it was indeed a snake or Satan.Mariomassone (talk) 16:24, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

Mythological serpents are discussed here: Serpent (symbolism). But I think a concise summary of the ideas of theologians who equate the serpent with Satan ( and those who dispute the equation) would be very appropriate here - provided it is well-referenced, of course. Anthony (talk) 17:12, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

Key question not addressed[edit]

I read this article for clarification on the most obvious issues -

a) what kind of knowledge did this tree offer? [Moral knowledge? Sexual knowledge? Scientific knowledge? Rational knowledge? All knowledge?] - and
b) what was wrong with obtaining it? [Presumably God had a moral reason and was not just being selfish or envious. The fruit did not, as God seemed to suggest, cause them to die that day (Adam lived to be 930 years old) but seemed to do what the Serpent suggested. Is that an error in translation?]

I know that several Bible verses condemn philosophers and those who seek to understand the mysteries of the world, Martin Luther called Reason "The Devil's Whore" and the Pope tried to stop Galileo looking through his telescope - but it seems unfair to interpret this story as saying that knowledge is evil or dangerous or best avoided. I am sure there is not theological consensus on this - so I would welcome well-referenced details about the major interpretations and how they differ. --Tediouspedant (talk) 14:38, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

I was taught, 50 years ago by nuns at my primary school, that the fall was a consequence of Man taking it upon himself to determine right from wrong, by eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It's always seemed the most obvious explanation to me. It is the genesis of the conflict between Man's law and Gods's law, or between democracy and theocracy, a prototypical revolution or usurpation, with banishment, suffering and mortality the punishment. But I think Wikipedia needs a more reliable source than my memories of a nun's interpretation. :) --Anthonyhcole (talk) 06:22, 21 May 2011 (UTC)

Augustine section: Grammar[edit]

Originally, this was written as:

Catholic interpretation goes back to Augustine of Hippo, who taught that the tree should be understood symbolically but as a real tree - similarly to Jerusalem being both real city and a figure of Heavenly Jerusalem. Another example was Sarah and Hagar, real persons representing two covenants: Old and New (Gal 4,24n).[3] Augustine underlined that the fruits of that tree were not evil by themselves, because everything that God created was good (Gen 1:12).

Here's the revision to the first sentence:

Catholic interpretation goes back to Augustine of Hippo, who taught that the tree should be understood both symbolically and as a real tree - similarly to Jerusalem being both real city and a figure of Heavenly Jerusalem.


dabill Dabill (talk) 13:42, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

Cherubim[edit]

I corrected the prexisting phrase:

God set a guard about the garden to protect the tree of life from Adam, Eve, and their descendants.

To read as follows:

God set guards ('Cherubim' is plural for 'Cherub') at the east side of the garden to protect the way to the tree of life from Adam, Eve, and their descendants.

The previous statement was technically inaccurate in failing to recogonize the plural nature of cherubim and that they were stationed on only one side of the garden.

dabill Dabill (talk) 19:08, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

Centuries before when?[edit]

Vague and controversial claim here.

The same story with male, female, serpent, and tree can be found centuries before the version of the story we know from the Bible - depicted on a Mesopotamian cylinder seal.

I wondered whether this claim was based on the long since debunked views of Julius Wellhausen. 135 years ago, that guy, with very limited understanding of biblical archaelogy, posited that only portions of Genesis date as far back as 850 B.C. The claim is just plain wrong. Conservative scholarship, these days, considers authorship to date back to 1450-1410 B.C. and to have depended on pre-existing sources. See the Toledoth Hypothesis credited to P.J. Wiseman (also known as the tablet theory or the Wiseman Hypothesis)

See: http://creationwiki.org/Tablet_theory <---see the list of references at the bottom of this article

    http://creation.com/who-wrote-genesis-are-the-toledoth-colophons

The statement above refers to two dates without stating what those dates are. Centuries before when? So I checked the date of the Mesopotamian cylinder seal. There is even a wiki article about that:

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cylinder_seal

Cylinder seals apparently go back very far and remained in use for very long. But the particular cylinder seal under discussion here is one that supposedly portrays Adam and Eve. So I searched again for that. And according the British Museum, male, female, serpent and tree cylinder seals indeed existed as far back as 2200-2100 B.C. BUT...........(And I quote T.C. Mitchell, The Bible in the British Museum (London, The British Museum Press, 1988))............"there is no reason to connect the scene with the story in the Book of Genesis."

See: http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/me/a/adam_and_eve_cylinder_seal.aspx

So I have re-written the sentence in bold above as follows:

Stories with male, female, serpent, and tree can be found depicted on Mesopotamian cylinder seals dating as far back as 2200 B.C. But they are very unlikely to constitute a source for the author of Genesis because they do not connect very well with the Genesis account. According to Toledoth Hypothesis, sources probably did exist for the writing of Genesis that extend into history even earlier than 2200 B.C. but they would have belonged to someone in the genealogical line of Abraham.

dabill 86.51.135.90 (talk) 05:29, 17 November 2010 (UTC)

The True Tree of Knowledge Unveiled[edit]

http://img707.imageshack.us/img707/9334/2bgtruetreeofknowledge.jpg With the Trinity unveiled: http://img215.imageshack.us/img215/5571/444unveiledchalicegrail.jpg The Grail is the Child, making mankind immortal. -- Sgmnd (talk) 16:23, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

So what?—Chowbok 18:31, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

Tree of Knowledge in Hebrew[edit]

This is what the article says the tree is in Hebrew: עֵץ הַדַּעַת טוֹב וָרָע. The last word is transcribed as "vera." Should that be "vara?" Or perhaps the pointed vowel is wrong in the Hebrew given? That or maybe my Hebrew just isn't good. - Cyborg Ninja 23:34, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

Daniel Quinn[edit]

It might be a bit too niche to include here, but Daniel Quinn's interpretation of the Fall has fascinated me for some time. 148.87.23.4 (talk) 16:34, 20 January 2017 (UTC)

  1. ^ See footnote
  2. ^ See footnote
  3. ^ See footnote
  4. ^ a b See footnote