Some of my favorite electronic gizmos are made by the Apple company, such as my iPhone, iPad, AirPods Pro, and Apple Watch. The official Apple logo is the image of an apple with a bite out of it. When the logo was introduced years ago, people at the company explained the image represents the forbidden fruit from the Garden of Eden, the “apple” eaten by Adam and Eve.
I suppose you could make the case that too much information, especially easily spread false information, does more harm than good in our society. But in general terms, the more knowledge we have, the better off we are.
Therefore, some people might wonder why the Lord God told Adam and Eve they were not allowed to eat fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. Why would God want our original ancestors to be ignorant? Why did He want to prevent them from learning more?
Why did the world have to wait eons for the Apple company to come along and build on the immortal words of college founder Emil Faber, who brilliantly proclaimed, “Knowledge Is Good”? Is this another case of organized religion trying to keep the masses ignorant, until progressive visionaries could break the shackles of Church oppression and provide the tools for people to grow in knowledge?
However, the truth of the matter is quite different. First, if you read Genesis, the tree in question is not called the Tree of Knowledge. God did not order Adam and Eve to remain ignorant. The more knowledge and wisdom mankind accumulates, the better off we are and the closer we can draw to the all-knowing Creator of the Universe. Surely brilliant Christian minds like St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Sir Isaac Newton did not shy away from acquiring knowledge.
The tree in the Garden is actually called the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. OK, but if that’s the case, why would God forbid Adam and Eve from learning what is good and what is evil? It seems like those would be helpful things to know.
Yes, knowing good and evil is indeed very important information. How can we do the right things and avoid the wrong things if we don’t have the knowledge of good and evil?
The answer is simple: we can’t do the right things if we don’t have that knowledge, and we are commanded by God to have well-formed consciences so we can know the difference between good and evil.
In Adam and Eve’s case, they already had a basic education on good and evil: doing what God tells you to do is good, and doing what God forbids is bad. Many theologians explain that eating the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was not the moment Adam and Eve learned the definitions of right and wrong. Instead, it’s when they made the decision to ignore God’s definitions and instead decide for themselves what is right and what is wrong. They were the first to go down this self-centered, prideful path, which the Church calls “original sin.”
When human beings, collectively or individually, ignore God’s law and decide to define morality for themselves, the results inevitably are chaos and heartache. Thousands of years of recorded human history bear this out.
Knowledge is and always will be good. Ignoring God’s law and deciding for yourself what’s right and what’s wrong is and always will be bad.