Now, keep in mind, Genesis is a theological explanation of the world’s beginnings, not a scientific one, which means it is just as true as evolution, but pertaining to a deeper truth than the purely physical matter of the world. It uses allegory, poetry, symbolism, and rich language that cannot be unpacked using a literalist/scientific approach.
We moderns tend to think in the abstract. We think that everything can be measured and empirically tested and neatly put into a box that we can wrap our minds around and say, “Oh I get it, next topic.” We want to be totally objective, looking at it from afar where it doesn’t bear much meaning to us. For us, knowledge of good and evil fits that same kind of knowing, but unfortunately that’s just not the case for us humans, and Genesis reminds us of that truth, we are subjective beings, too.
See, there’s a reason that Adam and Eve eat something that represents knowledge of good and evil. By eating it, they take it into their bodies. Its essence becomes part of them (ergo us too). Not abstractly either, like we want it to be, but instead we know good and evil concretely, with our entire being, body and soul, heart and mind. Good and evil are not just something that we look at from afar and understand. Our knowledge of it is a lived knowledge, and that includes death, which is not what the living God desires for us.
God became man. Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, took on our human nature, being born of the Virgin Mary, sharing in our humanity in every way except for sin. He became part of our lived knowledge of good and evil, and in his passion and death allowed the full horrible violence of Evil to destroy his body on the cross, but that was not the end. Death has no power over the living God. Jesus rose again on the third day in the fullness of life, the resurrection from the dead. We are restored in our dignity and now have the way to redemption, we are able to break out of our fallen nature and share in eternal life with God, because God himself has set us free concretely. It is in our union with Christ, the resurrection from the dead, that we are able to participate in his salvation and eternal life.
Written by: Marty Arlinghaus