The Fruit

 

Hello everyone. This is my first post on Ricochet. It was posted on Friday the 13th for a reason: within the Christian faith, Friday the 13th was the day Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. But what is the identity of this forbidden fruit that causes so much trouble in the Bible story?

For thousands of years, the identity of the forbidden fruit eaten by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden has been unknown. If the fruit in the story is the traditionally believed apple, or another literal fruit, it would simply be called by its literal name, and not the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Because eating a piece of this literal fruit would give only knowledge of the literal fruit’s taste, not knowledge of good and evil. So…

If literal fruit is not the fruit in the world’s oldest and greatest mystery story, then what is the fruit? Why are the two super-secret trees assigned the mystical names “tree of life” and “tree of knowledge of good and evil?” Is the talking snake/Evil Angel speaking words, or does the talk represent something more subtle? Could two men have yielded to Adam and Eve’s temptation? Why would a smart man and woman succumb to a forbidden fruit tree, instead of to one that is NOT forbidden, especially when both “trees” are right next to each other in the center of the Garden? How is the couple’s disobedience of the very first commandment to be fruitful and multiply while in the Garden linked to their decision to make only fig leaf aprons, instead of complete clothing, in this incomprehensible narrative, with its guesswork of interpretations and its hints of sexual behavior?

A lone exegesis combines all six questions for one answer, using only evidence in the dreamlike Bible chronicle, for an intelligent and sensible explanation of the world’s oldest and greatest fruit mystery. This evidence in the Genesis 2 and 3 Bible story identifies the fruit as carnal pleasure. The solid evidence offers no support for historical fruit identity opinions. But, even with the evidence, is this unique exegesis the correct exegesis?

*****
Bad Day in the Garden

They eat the fruit, but what do they eat?
We lift the veil, for a wary peek.
Through a forest of mystery hiding it all,
We see a body, naked and weak.

“The Random House Dictionary of the English Language” defines allegory as “a representation of an abstract, or spiritual meaning through concrete, or material forms; figurative treatment of one subject under the guise of another.” It’s difficult to imagine a better definition than this one. But it’s even more difficult to imagine anyone making any sense of the second and third chapters of Genesis by taking everything in the two chapters literally. When was the last time someone went into a grocery store and bought some knowledge of good and evil fruit?

Although most elements in Genesis 2 and 3 represent something else, there are a number of facts in the story that can be taken at face value.

  1. Adam and Eve have real human bodies.
  2. Adam and Eve are not wearing any clothes.
  3. God has forbidden them to do something.
  4. They have disobeyed God.
  5. God has punished them both for their disobedience.

The above five facts form the basis for the religious beliefs of many people who are not interested in allegories, and of many who are. But there is an all-important sixth fact, the knowledge of which would do no harm to anyone’s religious beliefs.

This BODY is the Garden in whose center grow
The two famous trees, but nowhere a weevil.
Here is the tree of life and the one
Of knowledge of good and knowledge of evil.

This sixth fact is the key that unlocks the door, opens it, and solves the mystery: both trees are in the center of the garden. This fact is so important that it is mentioned, not just once, but twice: Genesis 2:9 and Genesis 3:3. (In Genesis 3:3 the tree of life is not specifically mentioned, but we know it is there, because we were told it is there in Genesis 2:9.) Technically, both trees could not occupy the center of the garden at the same time, unless they were entwined. But, there is no evidence for entwinement here. What these two verses tell us, is that both trees are very close to each other.

Because the two trees are right next to each other
Care must be taken to avoid the one bad.
For the fruit of both trees is pleasure,
So the pleasure is there to be had.

To be fruitful and multiply eat from the first.
But eat from the second and no one conceives.
So here we go now: one, two, three–
Pleasure, shame, fig tree leaves.

God’s first commandment to Adam and Eve was to be fruitful and multiply. To be fruitful and multiply, eat from the first. But eat from the second and no one conceives. Adam and Eve eat from the forbidden second tree, and as a result, produce no children while in the Garden of Eden. Instead of engaging in the procreative process as commanded, they use, as a procreative organ, a delivery system designed for delivery, but not for delivery of children.

This material is not just a brain teaser, nor hopefully is it an example of sophomoric cleverness. It’s really quite simple: explanations of certain fearful mysteries buried in the story for thousands of years, have been exhumed by using verse, rather than prose, to more easily reveal these explanations. The quality of the verse is both irrelevant and unimportant.

Please note: some parts of the story are totally acceptable as both symbolic and literal narrative, at least up to a point. For example, the symbolic garden can be juxtaposed with a literal garden, complete with fruit trees. Other sections can be taken as literal accounts, extra material such as Genesis 3:20-21, in which Adam gives Eve her name and God shows compassion for the pair by clothing them in animal skins for warmth, before evicting them from the garden, symbolic and literal, into the graceless and cold outside world.

*****
Preliminary Wrap

The Genesis story tells us in Genesis 2:9 and 3:3 both trees are in the center of the Garden. So the forbidden Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is right next to the allowed tree, the Tree of Life, and its fruit. If the forbidden fruit from the forbidden tree is literal fruit, the eating of this fruit would give only knowledge of the fruit’s taste, not knowledge of good and evil. But the covering of the genitals with fig leaf aprons following the eating of the “fruit” does indicate sudden acquisition of knowledge of good and evil, a knowledge that results in a certain type of shame. It is difficult to understand how eating literal fruit results in this type of shame. And it is difficult to understand how normal and necessary physical relations between Adam and Eve result in this type of shame, since the first and only specified commandment to them is to “Be fruitful and multiply” in the Garden, a commandment they disobey, because no children are produced until after the eviction from Eden, and after they have normal and necessary physical relations for the first time in Genesis 4:1. But their obedience is too late: guardian cherubim and a flaming sword prevent reentry into the Garden.

Adam and Eve execute a double disobedience when they eat of the forbidden fruit–they fail to procreate, by doing what they are forbidden to do. And they fail to procreate, by not doing what they are commanded to do. Both failures occur simultaneously. The fruit in the Garden of Eden is not forbidden carnal pleasure, but forbidden nonprocreative carnal pleasure–nonprocreative carnal pleasure derived from a specific forbidden physical act.

*****
Postscript: Traditional Identity of The Fruit Persists

The widespread belief that the fruit is an apple has its genesis in the 12th century, based on Saint Jerome’s earlier 4th century Vulgate translation, in which he substituted the later corrected “malum,” meaning “apple,” for “malus,” meaning “evil,” to identify the forbidden fruit Adam and Eve ate. And this error remains the apex identity reaching us in the 21st century, still based on no evidence for the existence of a literal fruit. But to end on a positive note, the acceptance of the evidence-based exegesis of the identity of the fruit in the world’s oldest mystery story is at last making headway, as increasing numbers of people manage to set aside the emotions and feelings spinning them in circles, and acknowledge–at least until a better exegesis appears–the evidence in the Bible story of the talking fruit snake. This long-forgotten exegesis explains everything as it superimposes the allegorical Eden Garden upon its literal counterpart. The exegesis offers enlightenment for the untrue and oft-repeated, “Only God knows what fruit they ate.” Yes, a Deity would know what “fruit” they “ate,” but the evidence in the Genesis story reveals the Deity’s knowledge of the fruit’s identity to anyone who wishes to know, and has the courage to overcome their emotional resistance and uneasiness resulting from being exposed to this knowledge. Would this exposure be eating forbidden knowledge once again? Would a Deity want us to remain ignorant of the Genesis story’s meaning? No to both questions, because our garden is not their Garden–we are not living in the Garden of Eden’s state of grace. And secondly, the evidence in the story clearly tells us that Adam and Eve did not disobey the “be fruitful and multiply” Genesis 1:28 commandment for the purpose of acquiring knowledge of good and evil. Their acquisition of this knowledge was a byproduct of their disobedient behavior, which was to experience nonprocreative physical pleasure by eating allegorical fruit from the allegorical wrong tree in the center of an allegorical garden, while at the same time quite possibly living in a literal garden with literal fruit trees and literal snakes that do not talk to women.

*****

Just Another Doctrinal Neologism?

Is this exegesis beginning with Genesis 1:28, continuing through Genesis 2 and 3, and concluding with Genesis 4:1 just another neologism? No, it is not. If the exegesis is only another neologism, but not the exhumation and revelation of the original story, then not only do the individuals who first hear the story have absolutely no idea what the story means, but neither does the original storyteller. Imagine the storyteller saying, “Sometimes I just say things. I don’t know what they mean.” It is somewhat difficult to imagine this event happening.

If it does happen, then the original storyteller tells the story while having no understanding of the words being said, unless the storyteller decides to deliberately disguise and beautify the story, to hide its true meaning. This will certainly require complex ability, to intentionally mystify at the very dawn of human consciousness. It will also require the original listeners to not ask the original storyteller any questions about this new story–a story that makes no sense. So, the mystification probably happens later. And, of course, when it does, everyone will know the meaning of the entire story. For a while.

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 17 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Welcome, Robert! You’ve brought us the best kind of getting-acquainted present: a thoughtful and intelligent post. I hope there’ll be many more. Glad you joined us. 

    • #1
  2. EB Thatcher
    EB
    @EB

    Where did you hear that in the Christian faith it is believed that Friday the 13th was the day Adam and Eve sinned?

    I’ve never heard this and I have been a Christian all my life, my father was an Anglican bishop, I went to a Baptist elementary school, I went to a Presbyterian church camp, my cousins are Lutheran and Catholic, my paternal grandfather was a Methodist minister, and my sister is a Pentecostal.

    The only “story” I have ever heard regarding Friday the 13th being bad luck (something that Christians aren’t actually supposed to believe in) was that there were 13 people at the Last Supper and Christ was crucified on Friday.  Not exactly Christian doctrine, but I guess you could say somehow tangentially related.

    • #2
  3. Samuel Block Support
    Samuel Block
    @SamuelBlock

    Hello, Robert. It’s great to have you here!

    This post has got me thinking… I’ll get back to you if and when I have a worthy response. But I can think of a few members who might have some good stuff right off the bat.

    Welcome. And I hope we hear more from you.

    • #3
  4. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Thank you for this! It gives much to chew on. 

    I advise checking on Sefaria to see the verses a bit more carefully. For example:

    And from the ground G-d caused to grow every tree that was pleasing to the sight and good for food, with the tree of life in the middle of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and bad.

    The way the language is written does NOT make it certain that the tree of knowledge was in the middle. The tree of life clearly is. 

    Indeed, the langauge is quite ambiguous: Eve appears to be misinformed when she says: 

    It is only about fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden that God said: ‘You shall not eat of it or touch it, lest you die.’”

    Since the tree that is certainly in the middle (life) is not forbidden. And G-d did NOT say that any forbidden fruit could not be touched! Which means that Adam did not successfully communicate the commandment to Eve (whether because he did not repeat it properly or she did not understand it properly is not clear).

    But I accept entirely the idea of allegory – there did not need to be a literal fruit for Eve to make a choice. And the Torah is there to instruct us, not provide a literal history lesson. Here is one piece I wrote in the past on the topic, which you might enjoy.

    • #4
  5. MeandurΦ Member
    MeandurΦ
    @DeanMurphy

    Welcome Robert!

    • #5
  6. Postmodern Hoplite Coolidge
    Postmodern Hoplite
    @PostmodernHoplite

    Welcome to Ricochet, Robert – thanks for posting, and I look forward to reading your stuff going forward.

    • #6
  7. Ontheleftcoast Member
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    iWe (View Comment):
    Since the tree that is certainly in the middle (life) is not forbidden. And G-d did NOT say that any forbidden fruit could not be touched! Which means that Adam did not successfully communicate the commandment to Eve (whether because he did not repeat it properly or she did not understand it properly is not clear).

    Nice comment.

    The text is silent about critical details, which makes your inferences plausible, but there is a third possibility: Adam repeated it properly and Eve understood it properly. But in her conversation with the serpent, she spontaneously added the “no touch” detail.

    Why? Another speculation. Perhaps she feared that if she even (permissably) touched it she would then be led to violate the prohibition against eating. 

    • #7
  8. JoshuaFinch Coolidge
    JoshuaFinch
    @JoshuaFinch

     

    The Talmud cites three opinions:

    Rabbi Meir says that the Tree of Knowledge was a grapevine—”for nothing causes more heartbreak than wine….”

    Rabbi Nehemiah maintains that it was a fig tree. The Torah tells us that after the sin, Adam and Eve “knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves and made themselves girdles.”Rabbi Nehemiah maintains that “that which caused their downfall, was then used to rectify them.”

    Rabbi Judah says it was actually wheat stalks. He bases his contention on the fact that “a child knows not how to call out to his father and mother until he has tasted grain.” As such, the Tree of Knowledge was actually grain. 

    The Midrash quotes another opinion, that the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge was an etrog(citron).

    Another opinion cited in the Midrash is that “G‑d did not disclose the identity of the tree’s species, and He never will.” This in order to protect the honor of a species that would otherwise be tarnished—through no fault of its own.

    (Chabad.org)

    • #8
  9. RobertHagedorn Coolidge
    RobertHagedorn
    @RobertHagedorn

    iWe (View Comment):

    Thank you for this! It gives much to chew on.

    I advise checking on Sefaria to see the verses a bit more carefully. For example:

    And from the ground G-d caused to grow every tree that was pleasing to the sight and good for food, with the tree of life in the middle of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and bad.

    The way the language is written does NOT make it certain that the tree of knowledge was in the middle. The tree of life clearly is.

    Indeed, the langauge is quite ambiguous: Eve appears to be misinformed when she says:

    It is only about fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden that God said: ‘You shall not eat of it or touch it, lest you die.’”

    Since the tree that is certainly in the middle (life) is not forbidden. And G-d did NOT say that any forbidden fruit could not be touched! Which means that Adam did not successfully communicate the commandment to Eve (whether because he did not repeat it properly or she did not understand it properly is not clear).

    But I accept entirely the idea of allegory – there did not need to be a literal fruit for Eve to make a choice. And the Torah is there to instruct us, not provide a literal history lesson. Here is one piece I wrote in the past on the topic, which you might enjoy.

    Agreed that certainty is not there.  But implication IS.  Everything is linked in the same sentence.

    • #9
  10. AMD Texas Member
    AMD Texas
    @DarinJohnson

    EB (View Comment):

    Where did you hear that in the Christian faith it is believed that Friday the 13th was the day Adam and Eve sinned?

    I’ve never heard this and I have been a Christian all my life, my father was an Anglican bishop, I went to a Baptist elementary school, I went to a Presbyterian church camp, my cousins are Lutheran and Catholic, my paternal grandfather was a Methodist minister, and my sister is a Pentecostal.

    The only “story” I have ever heard regarding Friday the 13th being bad luck (something that Christians aren’t actually supposed to believe in) was that there were 13 people at the Last Supper and Christ was crucified on Friday. Not exactly Christian doctrine, but I guess you could say somehow tangentially related.

    I had the same reaction. I have never heard this before and would like some others to comment on whether this is a common belief. 

    • #10
  11. RobertHagedorn Coolidge
    RobertHagedorn
    @RobertHagedorn

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):
    Since the tree that is certainly in the middle (life) is not forbidden. And G-d did NOT say that any forbidden fruit could not be touched! Which means that Adam did not successfully communicate the commandment to Eve (whether because he did not repeat it properly or she did not understand it properly is not clear).

    Nice comment.

    The text is silent about critical details, which makes your inferences plausible, but there is a third possibility: Adam repeated it properly and Eve understood it properly. But in her conversation with the serpent, she spontaneously added the “no touch” detail.

    Why? Another speculation. Perhaps she feared that if she even (permissably) touched it she would then be led to violate the prohibition against eating.

    dYour comments are essential and very thought provoking.   Thank you.  The exegesis, hopefully, exchanges offensive grossness for acceptable delicacy, because the tree of knowledge of good and evil does need to be literally touched periodically for reasons of hygiene.  Just “touching” the tree literally would not have violated the Genesis 1:28 commandment to be fruitful and multiply.  Here is where allegory replaces literalness.  Others can, and will, go deeper, much deeper into this ancient story.

    • #11
  12. RobertHagedorn Coolidge
    RobertHagedorn
    @RobertHagedorn

    EB (View Comment):

    Where did you hear that in the Christian faith it is believed that Friday the 13th was the day Adam and Eve sinned?

    I’ve never heard this and I have been a Christian all my life, my father was an Anglican bishop, I went to a Baptist elementary school, I went to a Presbyterian church camp, my cousins are Lutheran and Catholic, my paternal grandfather was a Methodist minister, and my sister is a Pentecostal.

    The only “story” I have ever heard regarding Friday the 13th being bad luck (something that Christians aren’t actually supposed to believe in) was that there were 13 people at the Last Supper and Christ was crucified on Friday. Not exactly Christian doctrine, but I guess you could say somehow tangentially related.

    Yes, this is definitely NOT exactly Christian doctrine.  But I have been reading about it for years from multiple sources.  The idea always presents itself from somewhere, every Friday the 13th.  So I suspect it originated from outliers “within the Christian faith,” to borrow from my introductory remarks.  This might be an interesting research project for someone to tackle.  It sounds like this “belief” has been around for a long time.

    • #12
  13. JoshuaFinch Coolidge
    JoshuaFinch
    @JoshuaFinch

    RobertHagedorn (View Comment):

    EB (View Comment):

    Where did you hear that in the Christian faith it is believed that Friday the 13th was the day Adam and Eve sinned?

    I’ve never heard this and I have been a Christian all my life, my father was an Anglican bishop, I went to a Baptist elementary school, I went to a Presbyterian church camp, my cousins are Lutheran and Catholic, my paternal grandfather was a Methodist minister, and my sister is a Pentecostal.

    The only “story” I have ever heard regarding Friday the 13th being bad luck (something that Christians aren’t actually supposed to believe in) was that there were 13 people at the Last Supper and Christ was crucified on Friday. Not exactly Christian doctrine, but I guess you could say somehow tangentially related.

    Yes, this is definitely NOT exactly Christian doctrine. But I have been reading about it for years from multiple sources. The idea always presents itself from somewhere, every Friday the 13th. So I suspect it originated from outliers “within the Christian faith,” to borrow from my introductory remarks. This might be an interesting research project for someone to tackle. It sounds like this “belief” has been around for a long time.

    According to Jewish tradition Adam was created (and sinned) on the 1st of Tishrei, a Friday. This is when Rosh Hashanah, the first day of the Jewish year, is celebrated. It is also a day when we focus on asking forgiveness for our sins.

    • #13
  14. AMD Texas Member
    AMD Texas
    @DarinJohnson

    RobertHagedorn (View Comment):

    EB (View Comment):

    Where did you hear that in the Christian faith it is believed that Friday the 13th was the day Adam and Eve sinned?

    I’ve never heard this and I have been a Christian all my life, my father was an Anglican bishop, I went to a Baptist elementary school, I went to a Presbyterian church camp, my cousins are Lutheran and Catholic, my paternal grandfather was a Methodist minister, and my sister is a Pentecostal.

    The only “story” I have ever heard regarding Friday the 13th being bad luck (something that Christians aren’t actually supposed to believe in) was that there were 13 people at the Last Supper and Christ was crucified on Friday. Not exactly Christian doctrine, but I guess you could say somehow tangentially related.

    Yes, this is definitely NOT exactly Christian doctrine. But I have been reading about it for years from multiple sources. The idea always presents itself from somewhere, every Friday the 13th. So I suspect it originated from outliers “within the Christian faith,” to borrow from my introductory remarks. This might be an interesting research project for someone to tackle. It sounds like this “belief” has been around for a long time.

    I’m sorry but hearing that it “always presents itself from somewhere” is not a compelling argument. I would like to see something a little more concrete from a legitimate source that can be documented.

    • #14
  15. kjl23 Member
    kjl23
    @kjl23

    AMD Texas (View Comment):

    EB (View Comment):

    Where did you hear that in the Christian faith it is believed that Friday the 13th was the day Adam and Eve sinned?

    I’ve never heard this and I have been a Christian all my life, my father was an Anglican bishop, I went to a Baptist elementary school, I went to a Presbyterian church camp, my cousins are Lutheran and Catholic, my paternal grandfather was a Methodist minister, and my sister is a Pentecostal.

    The only “story” I have ever heard regarding Friday the 13th being bad luck (something that Christians aren’t actually supposed to believe in) was that there were 13 people at the Last Supper and Christ was crucified on Friday. Not exactly Christian doctrine, but I guess you could say somehow tangentially related.

    I had the same reaction. I have never heard this before and would like some others to comment on whether this is a common belief.

     

    it is not.

    • #15
  16. kjl23 Member
    kjl23
    @kjl23

    RobertHagedorn (View Comment):

    EB (View Comment):

    Where did you hear that in the Christian faith it is believed that Friday the 13th was the day Adam and Eve sinned?

    I’ve never heard this and I have been a Christian all my life, my father was an Anglican bishop, I went to a Baptist elementary school, I went to a Presbyterian church camp, my cousins are Lutheran and Catholic, my paternal grandfather was a Methodist minister, and my sister is a Pentecostal.

    The only “story” I have ever heard regarding Friday the 13th being bad luck (something that Christians aren’t actually supposed to believe in) was that there were 13 people at the Last Supper and Christ was crucified on Friday. Not exactly Christian doctrine, but I guess you could say somehow tangentially related.

    Yes, this is definitely NOT exactly Christian doctrine. But I have been reading about it for years from multiple sources. The idea always presents itself from somewhere, every Friday the 13th. So I suspect it originated from outliers “within the Christian faith,” to borrow from my introductory remarks. This might be an interesting research project for someone to tackle. It sounds like this “belief” has been around for a long time.

    It would be a wild goose chase and a waste of time.

     

    • #16
  17. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    The only religious thing about Friday 13th I am aware of is the Knight Templar destruction 

    https://www.history.com/news/why-friday-the-13th-spelled-doom-for-the-knights-templar

    • #17
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.