Genesis 2:15-17  The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;  but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ. This is the 62nd Lecture on Genesis. In tonight’s scripture, God is giving an order to Adam, saying “From the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” However, God the Father foreknew that Adam would eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God loved Adam, but then why did He put the tree, which can cause people who eat from it to die, in the Garden of Eden, and then give Adam an order not to eat from it? I will tell you why God placed the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden. Simply speaking, God did it to give true happiness to Adam. It was also a deep providence of God to acquire true children through human cultivation. Let me explain what it means now. There are many fruit trees in the Garden of Eden. There is a vast variety of fruit and they are all different in sizes and colors. In the center of the Garden of Eden, there are two unique fruit trees. They are the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Fruit from these 2 trees are surely different from each other in shapes and colors. First, the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is somewhat similar to a peach of this earth; it has a color of pink. And the fruit from the tree of life is similar to an apple with the color of red. But it is not completely red; it has a beautiful color with a little of reddish color. The fruits of the Garden of Eden taste so much better than the fruit of this earth. Adam could freely eat them as much as he wanted. Except one fruit; the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil Why? It’s because God commanded him not to eat from it. The fact that God ‘commanded Adam’ is very important here. God didn’t give any orders to Adam concerning other matters. God gave Adam authority to rule over everything, and a freewill for Adam to do whatever he wanted to do. Regarding the fruit from the tree of the Knowledge of good and evil, however, God strictly commanded Adam, saying, “You shall not eat from it, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” And He established the center area of the Garden of Eden as a Restricted Area, and had it guarded by cherubim. You can see clearly here that God didn’t put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in a defenseless situation even though He foreknew Adam would eventually eat from it. He not only restricted the area, but He also had it guarded by cherubim. He also showed an example of the results of violation through the case of dinosaurs. God warned Adam in various ways so that Adam could put it in his heart. Some people misunderstand God. They say that God tested Adam to see whether Adam would eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. James 1:13 says, however, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.” God doesn’t test or tempt anyone. He doesn’t take advantage of someone’s weaknesses and cause him fall. Quite the contrary, He knows the strengths of everyone and gives each individual the opportunity to make full use of it. This is the test of blessing. For example, God commanded Abraham to give Isaac as a burnt offering. It was not that God tested Abraham. Since God knew Abraham perfectly believed in God, He gave him an opportunity to put his faith into action. He made Abraham’s faith to become perfect through his deed. Consequently, Abraham passed this test of blessing with a perfect score, and he was acknowledged as the Forefather of Faith’ and ‘the Friend of God.’ Our God may give this kind of test of blessing, but He doesn’t tempt people to cause them to fall. The temptation to make people fall is managed by the enemy devil and Satan. Now, God placed the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden, and Adam ate from it and then he was driven out to the earth. How could this have become a blessing to Adam? How could Adam get true happiness through this? I will explain in much greater detail about how Adam ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil as we get to Genesis Chapter 3. I said that, before Adam ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, he enjoyed everything in the Garden of Eden, and that he even subdued and ruled over the earth. The Garden of Eden is so beautiful and peaceful; everything is well provided. Since Adam lived in such a place like this, he must have been happy, right? No, he was not; he was not happy. To be more specific, I should say that Adam couldn’t feel true happiness. Why? Adam didn’t experience unhappiness which is opposite of happiness. In the Garden of Eden, there is no getting sick or dying from an accident. It does not happen in the Garden of Eden. There is no death for any living thing there. Therefore, they don’t need to feel pain, sorrow, or sadness. When people come across with an event which makes them feel pain, sadness, or sorrow, they say it is unfortunate. Adam knew about emotion as knowledge. But he didn’t understand it in his heart. It was because he didn’t personally experience anything unfortunate. In his heart he could not understand what was to feel adversity of any kind. He had no comprehension of distress, pain, or remorse. When he experienced the dinosaur incident, of course, he thought deeply about ‘death.’ However, he just confirmed a concept which had been a mere bit of knowledge in his heart. When dinosaurs died at the judgment of fire, Adam didn’t feel the horror that dinosaurs would have felt. In fact, the earth which was devastated by dinosaurs, soon recovered and its peace was restored. In this way Adam didn’t feel unhappiness in his heart which is opposite to happiness. To realize the true value of something, you must experience its opposite and understand the relativity. That is, only when people get sick can they understand the importance of being healthy. Say, there is a fully grown man who has never been sick in his life. Such a person cannot understand the pain, sadness, and suffering of heart that the sick may feel very well. Even if it is thoroughly explained, he just accepts it as knowledge, but he cannot empathize with it. When others groan in pain, he may feel sorry when he sees them, but he cannot share the pain the others are experiencing. If he cannot feel the pain of others, he cannot realize how thankful he ought to be for the fact that he has always been healthy. Comparing himself with others, he may say, “I am really fortunate to be healthy.” But he cannot be grateful from the depth of his heart for his good health. On the other hand, suppose there is someone who had an incurable disease, and he suffered from it for long time. One day, he was somehow healed of it. Now, he can feel the gratitude deep in his heart for the fact he recovered his health. It may be true as well with a minor illness. Perhaps you had a stuffy nose when you caught a cold. Then you are able to realize how thankful you should be for the fact that your nose is clear and you can breathe well. By the same token, the principle that you can understand the true value of something only when you experience its relativity can be applied to anything. Let me give you another example. Those who experienced the Korean War must have the memories of the days in poverty. Especially, during the period of time known as the “Barley Hump”, it was very difficult. It was the season when you ran out grain from the harvest of the previous year and the barley had not yet ripened. You had to collect all kinds of wild vegetables, mix them with a little bit of flour or rice, pour on a lot of water, and made porridge to share with your family. Sometimes, you stripped the bark off a tree and ate its soft part. Those of you who suffered from hunger like this understand the importance of food, and save even a grain of rice. You consider it a grave sin to waste food. Now, what about the young people of today? It is rare to miss a meal just because there is no food. From the time that they were young, there has always been enough food. Instead of not enough food, they worried about getting fat from eating too much. These young people think it is better to throw it out than to eat it all or save it. When elders keep telling them how important the food is, they consider it excessive nagging by the elderly. It is because they’ve never felt how miserable it is not to be able to find food when they are very hungry. That said, it is very important to experience the relativity of things. People can understand the importance of goodness when there is evilness; they can realize how precious the light is when there is darkness. They don’t appreciate wealth without experiencing poverty; they don’t know how good it is to have love without feeling hatred. Adam, who lived in the Garden of Eden where unhappiness cannot be found, couldn’t realize how happy he was. Since he didn’t feel the pain of death, even though God said that Adam would surely die if he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, in his heart he couldn’t understand what it meant. While witnessing the dinosaur incident, he thought, “So, things like that can happen…” but it did not make a deep impression and couldn’t be input into his heart with feelings. Those who don’t experience misfortunate cannot appreciate the fortunate things they enjoy now. Adam was not truly grateful for the things that God gave him in His love for Adam. When he was driven out to the earth after he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the situation changed. As Adam lived on the earth which is a fleshly world, he went through many things. He experienced cold and hot weather, and he felt hunger, fatigue, and pain. He also felt stuffiness and uneasiness resulted from spiritual disconnection from God. He saw his sons’ discord; he even went through a misery of his son murdering his other son. He felt as if his heart was torn apart, and he shed tears endlessly as an ambiguously heart-heaving sorrow hit upon him. Sometimes, anger burst out as if he had a burning fire in his heart. He sighed deeply in great despair. After all these, Adam finally realized how happy his life had been in the Garden of Eden. Adam lived for 930 years on earth, and finally met with fleshly death. Adam and Eve will live in Paradise of Heaven forever. Paradise is the lowest place among the many dwelling places of Heaven. Since it belongs to the 3rd heaven, it is far better than the Garden of Eden which belongs to the 2nd heaven. Since Adam underwent all kinds of misfortune in the fleshly world, he is now ready to give true thanks to all he can enjoy in Paradise. Even though he committed sin of breaking the order of God, God the Father saved him and led him into Paradise; from the depth of his heart he gives thanks forever to God as he lives in Paradise. Adam could finally understand and enjoy the true happiness. The true happiness that Father God wished to give to Adam finally came upon Adam. All of Adam’s descendants he gave birth to on earth also came to undergo the process of understanding the ‘TRUE thing’ as they experienced the relativity like Adam. When a man is cultivated on earth, he comes across various things such as tears, sadness, pain, suffering, and death. Then he can realize how good it is to be happy, and how precious the true love is. Anyone who understands the truth in his heart like this can give thanks forever and ever even after he enters Heaven. God the Father wanted Adam and all his descendants to enjoy the true happiness. In addition, He wanted them to understand the deep love of God the Father and to share the love from the depth of their hearts with God. Therefore, placing the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is the love of God, and allowing the process of human cultivation is also the love of God. Those of you who have children may understand it well. When man and woman get married, they usually give birth to children. As they get a child, they rejoice, but at the same time, they feel heavy responsibility. To raise their children until they fully grow up, parents must go through a lot of trouble and make sacrifices. In order to raise their children well, sometimes they have to force their children to do something that is difficult for them. They know well that their children will not become good if they just feed and clothe them well out of their love for their children. When their children don’t want to study but want to play, they send their children to school. If possible, they will make their children study more and more. Since parents love their children, they do all these things to allow for their children to grow up well and become good people. To the children, on the other hand, the learning and training may feel hard and difficult. However, once they overcome well and become successful, who do they give thanks to first? They give tearful thanks to their parents who devotedly supported them and to teachers who educated them well. It is the same with the human cultivation. God the Father foreknew that people would undergo pains, sorrows, hardships, and sufferings during the period of human cultivation. Yet He allowed them to undergo the cultivation; it is because true children of God can come out through this process. Therefore, the human cultivation you and I undergo on this earth is a compulsory course to enter the eternal kingdom of heaven. From time to time, you may feel it is hard and difficult. As you overcome it by faith in God and by goodness and truth, and win victory, however, you will surely receive glorious fruit. Dear brothers and sisters. After God the Father began human cultivation, He didn’t just sit back and watched how things were going. God the Father also participated in human cultivation. It is not only human beings that were brought to tears and sorrow through the cultivation. God the Father Himself also suffered in His heart along with them, and He sometimes felt pain as well. Actually, He suffered from even greater pain and sorrow than what human beings suffered. First, God was betrayed by Lucifer, the one He gave His utmost love to. In addition, the first man, Adam, whom God created and raised with all this heart and mind, committed sin of disobedience. To save mankind, who became sinners, He had to send His loving Son, Jesus, to this earth. And He had to watch His Son, Jesus, mocked by sinners, nailed on the cross, and die miserably. If the heart of God the Father had been like that of a man, His heart must have been burnt as though to ash. For so many long years, He has endured in love, and overcome all the pains and sorrows. Yet still, when a man is committing sin, the Holy Spirit mourns and suffers. It will last until the human cultivation is over. When God the Father planned human cultivation, He already knew things would go on like this. Not only God the Father, but also God the Holy Son, and the Holy Spirit would suffer from pain, sorrow, and sadness. It is not only human beings that are caused to experience cultivation and to experience relativity on this wild earth. God the Trinity knows well how weak human beings are, and thus provides them with strength and love by every means possible. In Isaiah 58:9, God says, “Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.'” In John 14:13-14, Jesus said, “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” Romans 8:26 says, “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;” Likewise, God the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit are helping all of you who are being cultivated. They don’t just cheer you up with only words. As you cry out for God the Father, He will say, “I am here for you.” He also promised that He will do all things as you seek in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, the Holy Spirit helps your weakness as He intercedes for us even when you don’t know what to pray for. With strong supporters as these Three standing behind you and supporting you, is it really difficult to undergo human cultivation? Is it really that hard? “No, it’s not difficult at all. It’s not hard. It is rather easy. I’m happy. Thank You!” I wish you may make a confession like this, and enter the spirit and whole spirit. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ. In this lecture, I told you why God placed the tree of knowledge of good and evil. I said it was not to test Adam to make him fall, but rather it was to give true happiness to Adam. I also said that God placed the tree of knowledge of good and evil to find true children through human cultivation. Human beings can find true happiness and love when they eternally live in the heavenly kingdom only after they undergo human cultivation. Therefore, I hope that you believe that placing the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the running the race of human cultivation are both all in the love of God. I urge you to make a continuous effort to accomplish the sincere heart in full assurance of faith during the period of human cultivation. God the Father will provide you with more than enough grace and strength so that you can come out as a true child. Even if you cannot make it with your own strength, it can be done by the grace and power of God. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” As your shepherd, I always pray to God so that He may give His grace and strength to all the Manmin members. May you win victory by faith and goodness in the human cultivation to become a pleasing fruit to God the Father, in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, I pray!