“There was a particular tree of which we were not to partake, a tree of knowledge. Knowledge and understanding and wisdom were forbidden to us in this story.”
~Carl Sagan, in his latest book “Blue Dot”
My response to this is as follows:
While well-intentioned, Carl’s idea is based on a misreading of Biblical truth. Knowledge and wisdom were never kept from us, and we were never required to “remain ignorant” in the Garden of Eden. Rather, there exists in Scripture ample evidence of extreme knowledge and wisdom there before the fall. God clearly didn’t bring every creature to Adam to see what he would name them just to watch an ignorant man fail. God was clearly interested in seeing what Adam would do, as he was given the power to conceive or create these names and there is no evidence of any “right or wrong answer” in naming all of these creatures. Rather, Adam demonstrated remarkable intelligence while naming all of these creatures, as well as later on when he stated, regarding his wife: “She shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.” This demonstrates Adam’s knowledge that something (a rib) was removed from his body to create the woman that God had made just for him. New Testament Scripture testifies that Adam, at the time of creation, had “the mind of Christ”. This is not ignorance or lack of knowledge. Quite the opposite; his knowledge and wisdom could quite reasonably have been vast, even by todays standards, as molecular and genetic entropy had yet to set in through the fall and establish it’s inevitable downward spiral we see in evidence even today.
There never was any such thing as a “Tree of Knowledge” in the Garden of Eden. Rather, it was a “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil”, and this is vastly different from Sagan’s so-called “tree of knowledge”. The knowledge of good and evil bring with them the consequence of concience, or awareness of sin, with it’s inevitable guilt and shame. Adam and Eve were always naked and unashamed from the time they were created….they just weren’t aware of the existence of good or evil. After eating of the forbidden fruit, however, that all changed. Now, for the first time in their lives, they knew they were naked, and they hid themselves from God’s presence. Nothing had changed except them, due to the fact that they were now aware of good and evil, which had existed from the beginning. This curse of conscience is central to the purpose of Jesus Christ’s death on the cross, as everything He did there was so that we could “come boldly before His (God’s) presence” free of guilt and shame. The Bible is clear that if our own hearts condemn us, how much greater condemnation shall we have in the presence of a holy and just God? This is the reason Christ provided the atonement for us: so that we could, by faith in Jesus Christ, know that our sin is forgiven, and therefore come before God with a clear conscience to have fellowship with Him. It’s also why the apostles, like Jesus Christ Himself, told everyone to repent and believe the Gospel (that Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins). Jesus Himself testified that “No man can come to The Father but by Me.” and his apostles later stated that “….there is no other name under Heaven given whereby men must be saved.”
It seems to me that Carl Sagan needs to pay better attention to what he reads from the pages of the Bible. It remains the most valuable source of truth and knowledge that man has ever known. I have no reason to further investigate Carl’s baseless claims at this point, as that would require purchasing and supporting his erroneous work, as well as wasting valuable time reading it. I find his claims only serve to prove man’s desperation to deny God in vain attempts to avoid answering to Him. Such attempts will utterly fail. Time and real science will always prove God is the source of all that was, is, and ever will be.
May God’s unfathomable grace and truth be revealed to Carl and billions of others like him while there is still time.