So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.Genesis 3:6
In her conversation with the serpent, Eve found herself caught in the middle between two opposite views about the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God had said that it would bring death, but the serpent just said that it would not bring death, but divine knowledge. How to choose between the two? We might think that she chose to believe the serpent and not God, since she obviously ate the fruit. But that’s not exactly what happened. She didn’t believe the serpent any more than she believed God. Rather she chose between the two by deciding to believe herself. She decided to examine the fruit herself and form her own opinion, and “when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.”
Our society tends to promote independent thinking. We really believe that “man is the measure of all things.” We’re sure that human reason is capable of finding the solution to every problem and the answer to every question. But that exact confidence in human reason is what lead to such a great sin committed by our first parents. Eve’s human reason and discernment lead her to judge as good for food the fruit which held a terrible curse behind its attractive appearance.
Should we say then that independent thinking is a bad thing – that human reason is of no value? No, I wouldn’t say that. God gave us these faculties for us to use them. The problem was not that Eve exercised her God-given capacity for human reason, per se, but that she trusted her reason more than God. He had already told them what to believe about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but she wanted to make up her own mind. Her sin was to reject the word of God and to prefer her own wisdom. She did the exact opposite of Abraham who believed God, even when his promise went against all human reason (Gen 15:6). Abraham demonstrated faith – Eve, unbelief.
Trust in the LORD with all your heartProverbs 3:5
And do not lean on your own understanding.
Photo by Bob Balmer – originally posted to Flickr as “Discovery “Apples, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6569045