The Tree in the Midst of the Garden


God deliberately placed that tree in the Garden

Michael Youssef


Why sin? Why do something you know is detrimental? Would you deliberately put your hand in the fire? How about jumping into the tiger habitat at the zoo? No one, in their right mind, puts themselves into willing jeopardy. Sound reasonable? You don’t just sit on top of the mast and tell God to “bring it on” in the face of a hurricane unless you’re Captain Dan. Even he gained a little insight into the nature of God during that storm.

But, before you agree too strongly, I submit that we do it every day. How? We tempt the Holder of the storm, the Creator of the tiger, the Source of the fire. Sin is us flying in the face of God. It may have been unwitting, it may have been innocent (huh?), but it was sin. It was a direct refutation of the holiness of God. That is the act of someone clearly not in their right mind. That is insanity.

So, we have established that we’re all idiots who continually act in a manner that only leads directly to danger (read Paul’s thoughts on this subject in Romans 7:15-20). Why do we do it? Who started it all? Of course, you know the answer, but let’s look at the original act of sin.

For the object of this post, we’ll only look at a few verses from the account in Genesis.

(Note: Allow me to break in here and state a personal preference. I have often referred to the factual, historical recounting of events portrayed in the Bible as “stories”. I admit that I dislike the use of that word. Story, to me, brings to mind a fiction. Something akin to a fairy tale. That is why I will often search for a word like “account” or “recounting”. It is a personal preference, and probably wrong, but that is my personal bias. Let’s just say that it’s a legalism that I impose on no one else. But I had to get it “off my chest”. Now back to the post.)

Following is the succession of events:

  • Genesis 2:9 “And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
  • Genesis 2:16,17 “And the Lord God commanded the man saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day the day that you eat of it you will surely die.’
  • Genesis 3:6 “So when the woman saw the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
  • Genesis 3:14,16,17 “Because you have done this…you are cursed more than all cattle…in pain you shall bring forth children…cursed is the ground for your sake…

Here it is in a few words: God set man in a beautiful garden that included the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; the man was not to eat of that tree; Eve ate of it and gave Adam some also; the serpent, the woman and the man were all cursed.

So, it begs the questions: Was God then complicit? Was it deliberate? Did He want Adam to sin? What a silly and irrational string of questions.

No, it was not deliberate on God’s part. He did not want Adam and Eve to sin, but He knew it could happen. Actually, He knew it would happen. But Adam and Eve still had a choice. Unfortunately (for all of us), they made the wrong choice. Do you think you would have done it differently? Unless your name is Christ Jesus, I doubt it. When given the choice we all will often choose sin.

If it was not a deliberate act on God’s part to invoke the sin of Adam and Eve, why put the tree there in the first place? Good question. I may have the answer.

God did not create us as automatons; He created us with a will of our own. The reason for this is that He wanted companionship and He wanted our devotion. However, forced devotion is not true devotion; just as forced love is not true love. We had to be able to make a choice between God and our own way or we would never be truly His. Being able to come willingly to God makes us fully His, truly His companions and His heirs.

Thus, God put the tree in the midst of the garden. Yes, it was a test. Just like, God tested:

  • Job,
  • Abraham,
  • Moses,
  • Christ,

And many others. God put a test in front of them, but He did not tempt them to go the other way. He asked that they trust Him in their trial. When it all came out, only Christ passed the tests.

The tree in the midst of the garden was not meant as a temptation, but Satan made it one. God wanted Eve and Adam to pass the test, but they didn’t. The result, we are all born into sin. The result, Christ had to die a horrible death.

Luckily, though he had His own trees to deal with, He never ate the fruit. He always “did the will” of His Father. Praise God!

What is your tree “in the midst of the garden”? How is God using it to your edification and understanding? Do you pass the test or do you fail? Hopefully, as time moves on and you mature in Christ, the test becomes easier and you fail less often. If not: “rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks” (I Thessalonians 5:17,18).


2 thoughts on “The Tree in the Midst of the Garden

  1. You’re welcome. Understanding that God is not complicit in our sin and doesn’t try to trip us up is an important realization. Unfortunately, I think some Christians still feel that God is responsible for their misery.


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