Unofficial Notes from
International Conferences for Clergy Questions And Answers
ICC - Questions And Answers - The Fall Of Man, Fruit-Trees
QUESTION: 1. At what point in life is a person perfect where they can inherit the Tree of Life?
ANSWER: For Adam and Eve, it would be determined by their adherence to God's word; the commandment. How long that time period of faith was to be, would be determined by God. Genesis does not express how long that period was to be, only that they did not achieve it. For us, the ideal of the Tree of Life is a hope to be realized at the Second Coming of Christ (Rev. 22:14).
QUESTION: 2. What is the significance of the words "fruitful", "multiply" as used in Gen 1:28?
ANSWER: Fruitful relates to the ideal of the Tree of Life. To become fruitful means that Adam and Eve, before they were to consummate their marriage (multiply), were to obtain the ideal of perfection. The ideal of perfection is represented by the Tree of Life. If they had accomplished that ideal, then in multiplication, their children would be born as direct descendants of God without the stain of the nature of sin. From this first family would emerge the ideal society, nation, and world of sinless mankind. Such would be the Kingdom of God on Earth and in Spirit. In that this was not achieved and sin was the accomplishment, it has been a heritage of sin that has passed through the lineage of man. Thus the role of Christ's return is to give us the right to eat from the Tree of Life. On that foundation the institution of original marriage can take place for the first time, ushering in the Kingdom of God in the same way it was to be established in the Garden of Eden.
QUESTION: 3. The oriental philosophy of yin and yang and ours (LDS) of opposites have some parallels. The tree of knowledge of good and evil perhaps is a case in point. Without partaking of this tree and understanding wrong, how could they understand right?
ANSWER: In the same way God understands both good and evil. God understands evil by being a perfect embodiment of goodness, therefore anything not in relationship with God is evil. God understands evil without the need for the practical experience of evil. If man had kept faith in God's word and become perfect and one with God, then man's knowledge of evil would also be complete and yet (and most importantly) without the practical experience of evil. Man's knowledge would then also reflect his total oneness with the embodiment of goodness. Eating "the fruit" placed man in a state of contradiction. Only death, darkness and ignorance result from contradiction. We should not confuse the complementary action of dual characteristics with the contradiction of opposites. Good and evil will never engage in complementary action, because they do not share a common purpose nor a common source.
QUESTION: 4. Was the garden of Eden literal or figurative? If literal how do you explain fruit being symbolic? Isn't it inconsistent?
ANSWER: No, it would be inconsistent to suggest that symbolic representations cannot appear in a literal context. Otherwise, when Jesus, who was literal, called the Pharisees, who were literal, a brood of vipers; it would necessitate them having scaly skin.
QUESTION: 5. Is the commandment not to eat the fruit so as to test the faith of Adam and Eve?
ANSWER: The commandment of God is not a test. Only sinners have to be tested. Adam and Eve were not sinners. The commandment was given as a responsibility so as to form the moral basis of their freedom and ultimate potential to stand as loving beings.
QUESTION: 6. What is the meaning of the Tree of Life?
ANSWER: The Tree of Life is the symbol of the unchanging and perfect state of maturity and relationship with God. If Adam and Eve could have gained the right to eat from the Tree of Life they would have been impervious to temptation and sin. The goal of the Second Coming is to open the way to the Tree of Life (Rev. 2:7 and 22:14).
QUESTION: 7. What is the Tree of Life?
ANSWER: The Tree of Life is the symbol of perfection. Has Adam and Eve kept their faith in God's word, they would have earned the right to eat from the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life represents the unchanging eternal relationship with God that would be impervious to sin. The goal of salvation at the Second Coming of Christ is to regain the right to eat from the Tree of Life (Rev. 22: 14).
QUESTION: 8. How do you explain the discrepancy between the Principle of Creation lecture, which seems to embrace a scientific view of the universe, with the lecture of the Fall of Man, which seems to give a totally unscientific account of the origin of man?
ANSWER: The lecture on the Fall of Man is stating that God's lineage and ideal was to begin in a central point with a central man and woman and that they fell away from that ultimate purpose. It is not, however, offering an explanation of the origin of that central man and woman, that is, it is not a statement concerning the issue of evolution. If indeed Adam and Eve ushered forth from an ancestral progression, that they could be born qualitatively different would be no more unscientific than the birth if Jesus, who likewise was born qualitatively superior to His ancestral line.
QUESTION: 9. 1Timothy 2:14 says that Eve was deceived into eating the fruit, but Adam was not. How can you say that Adam was deceived.
ANSWER: Paul's intent in 1Timothy 2:14 is not to absolve Adam of the blame for the fall. Clearly Paul holds Adam centrally responsible in 1Cor 15:22, as does God in Gen 3:17-19. The bottom line is not who was deceived and who was not, but rather, who had responsibility and who failed. Adam and Eve were given the responsibility to obey God's commandment not to eat the fruit and they failed.
QUESTION: 10. Why didn't Adam and Eve know they were naked before the ate the fruit?
ANSWER: Shame of nakedness is a shame that is indelibly connected to sexual "knowledge". They did not "know" their nakedness because they were unaware of the sexual experience. Has Adam and Eve joined together under the perfection of God's love, then their sexual experience would not have produced shame. Adam and Eve covered the sexual areas of their bodies which indicates the "knowledge" they received was through sexual experience of which eating the fruit is a symbol (see Gen. 4:1 "to know", Song of Songs 4:12-16 the meaning of fruit, Prov. 30:20 the meaning to "eat".
QUESTION: 11. Wasn't the reason God told them not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil because they already had Good, they walked and talked with God daily?
ANSWER: They were good, innocent and flawless. They were not yet mature, however. Maturity is their completion and perfection. They would have to grow that ideal. That ideal is represented by "the Tree of Life". In perfection (the Tree of Life) they would be in the unchanging state of relationship to God and therefore, impervious to temptation and sin. They were not to multiply until they became "fruitful" and here again we are talking about the Tree of Life (perfection) because "the fruit of the righteous is a Tree of Life" (Prov. 11:30). Also, we see that the goal of salvation is to regain the right to eat from the Tree of Life (Rev. 2:7, 22:14).
QUESTION: 12. How do you reconcile the two trees in the garden when the word addresses: 1. the tree was pleasing to the sight and good for food. 2. the Tree of Life in the midst of the garden. 3. the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
ANSWER: The Tree of Life is a symbol of perfection, a symbol of the unchanging relationship with God that is impervious to temptation and sin. Adam and Eve would have to remain faithful to the commandment to gain the qualification to eat from this "Tree". The Tree of Life is also the goal of salvation (Rev. 2:7, 22:14). Christ returns in His second coming to give us the right to eat from the Tree of Life, which means to restore the original conditions of the Garden of Eden, which is the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth and in the Spirit World. The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is mentioned only in Genesis and is a bit more difficult to understand. Basically, it represents the period of growth and responsibility that Adam and Eve had to fulfill within a certain time frame. This tree has two potentials just as Adam and Eve had two potentials: Life or Death, Success or Failure. The fruit of this tree is the symbol of immature love and therefore, God is commanding them not to sacrifice His word for immature love (they should wait until perfection). The statement that the fruit was pleasing to the eye and good for eating, is of course speaking about the desirability of even immature and unlawful love. See Prov. 30:20...the meaning of "eating". See Song of Songs 4:12-16...for the meaning of "fruit". See Gen. 4:1...for the meaning of "knowledge".
QUESTION: 13. How do you relate fornication with the fruit if the fruit was from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? Are you saying that Eve didn't know it was wrong until after the act of sin? Also satan and his angels were cast down. If satan was not cast down until after the creation of the garden, why did the other angels follow him.
ANSWER: Eve knew God's commandment and therefore she knew that eating the fruit was wrong. Eve was deceived by Lucifer into eating the fruit. Adam and Eve were to know good and evil by eating from the Tree of Life which represents their perfection and absolute standard in their relationship with God. The Tree of Life represents the perfect state of an unchanging relationship with God that would be impervious to sin. Adam and Eve would know good and evil by being one with the absolute standard of goodness and their full embodiment of goodness. Therefore, anything not in relationship with them in perfection would be evil and recognizable. By eating the fruit of Knowledge (see Gen. 4:1 for the meaning "to know") Adam and Eve learned about good and evil in exactly the opposite (and therefore ungodly and satanic) way, that is, through the practical experience and merging with evil.
The angels who were cast down were cast down for the same sin (see Gen. 6:2) but not at the same time. Gen. 6:2 is roughly 900 years after Lucifer was cast out of Heaven (which is represented by the symbolism of the serpent being cursed to crawl on the "earth").
QUESTION: 14. According to the Unification Theology, Eve was corrupted by satan in the offering and eating of the fruit. What about Adam's participation? Is Eve (and satan) the only one we have to blame for the corruption of love and the human nature? How did Eve corrupt Adam's nature?
ANSWER: Adam is the primary responsible agent with regard to the fall of man. Adam was not only responsible for his own fall, but he also shared a responsibility for the fall of Eve with Lucifer. Adam, as Eve's intended spouse and elder, should have been more protective of Eve. He failed in this role as well as his own fall, which was a medial factor contributing to Eve's fall.
Eve corrupted Adam in the same way and process of her own corruption. By engaging in fornication with Adam, she passed on the nature of sin she had received via he fornication on the spiritual level with Lucifer. Though Adam and Eve were intended to be husband and wife and to engage in sexual union, that consummation was to take place centering on God after their perfection (and thus: be fruitful [perfection], then multiply). The event of the fall severed God from the consummation of love and the conception of children in absolute purity and thus satan has claimed a dominion over the ensuing lineage of Adam and Eve, which is all mankind.
QUESTION: 15. Don't you feel that to symbolize the fruit would also leave you with the problem of explaining why God did tell them to eat of any fruit except the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?
ANSWER: This is stated in this way to indicate, precisely, that there is something unique and different about this particular tree. The point is that, indeed, it was no ordinary tree. The Tree of Life which stands next to it, is then also afforded unique status in comparison to the other trees. The Bible, though the inspired word of God, is also literature and as literature is reflective of many literary forms and devices of which the use of symbols is one. Symbols will, characteristically, be placed in such a way as to stand out to be set apart from the norm. Also symbols will generally reoccur in a literary work from which clearer meaning can be derived. The example of the Tree of Life, which reoccurs in Prov. 11:30, 13:12, Rev. 2:7, 22:14, is clearly a symbolic tree of whose fruit we are likewise "to eat" (Rev. 2:7). This tree is a symbol for perfection.
QUESTION: 16. You said that the placing of the fruit in the Garden by God was not meant as a test, but it seems like a test to me.
ANSWER: Sinners must be "tested", but Adam and Eve, when they received the commandment were not sinners. They were the innocent children of God. We would make a fundamental distinction between a "test" and a responsibility. God gave Adam and Eve a responsibility to play a role in their own self-government. Having a real responsibility was the element that gave them the device to mature and perfect themselves. The purpose of a test is to see if you can be responsible to God after having sinned against him. Adam and Eve did not need this test having no sin. God could give then responsibility and entrust them to obey it.
QUESTION: 17. If the fruit was a mere symbol of love, why was it referred to as the fruit "from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil"?
ANSWER: The fruit is from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. This tree represents the period of immaturity that Eve and Adam were in. For the meaning of "knowledge", see Gen 4:1. The Tree of Knowledge would be the knowledge of goodness or evil depending on what Adam and Eve did. If they obeyed the commandment, then it would be a fruit of goodness, if they disobeyed the commandment it would be a fruit of evil. The Tree of Life represents the ideal of perfection that they were striving to reach, the accomplishing which would signify their maturity and completeness. The fruit of the Tree of Knowledge is therefore an immature fruit of love, not ready to be eaten (experienced). God's will for Adam and Eve is that they experience sexual love only after they had eaten from the Tree of Life. In sinning, they and we as their descendants have lost the right to eat from that tree. Jesus returns to grant us that lost qualification (Rev. 22:14).
QUESTION: 18. What is the Tree of Life that was in the Garden and why could not Adam and Eve eat from that tree?
ANSWER: The Tree of Life is a symbol of the ideal of Adam and Eve's perfection. In perfection Adam and Eve would accomplish an unchanging and eternal relationship with God. In that state, sin would no longer be a potential. Adam and Eve would have attained the tree of life if they had successfully completed their time period to have faith in the commandment of God. The accomplishment of that course of maturity and righteousness would have been the Tree of Life (see Prov. 11:30). When God commanded Adam and Eve to be fruitful and then multiply, He was indicating that perfection would be the prerequisite to the consummation of their marriage. The goal of history therefore is to return that ideal as viable potential for mankind and thus, we see Rev. 22:14. The restoration of the Tree of Life to man is the goal of the second coming of Christ.
QUESTION: 19. Why do we have to get wrapped up in the symbolism of the fruit? Isn't it enough to say that Adam and Eve committed the sin of disobedience to God?
ANSWER: Because disobedience entails an act. Also there are many levels and qualities of disobedience. Someone can commit murder while someone else doesn't take out the garbage as told, both are not equally guilty, though both are in the state of disobedience. The fall was not just an ambiguous disobedience. It was a heinous act, so powerful as to change the very nature of an angelic being and the children of God, as well as the ensuing lineage of those first human ancestors.
QUESTION: 20. Will you please explain the meaning of Gen. 3:3. Also what is a cherubim and what role did he play in the raising of man?
ANSWER: The fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is not a literal fruit, it is a symbol of love. See Song of Songs 4:12-16, Prov. 30:20. Jude 1:6-7 further testifies that the sin of the angels was the same as Sodom and Gomorrah (fornication). The covering cherub or Ezekiel 28:12-19 is the same Lucifer of Isa. 14:12-15, that is, the angel who was cast out of Heaven because of his rebellion. Cherubim is another name for angel.
QUESTION: 21. Is nature also fallen?
ANSWER: Nature is unfulfilled as a result of the Fall. Man was to exert dominion over all things. Unable to do that because of sin we see that the creation is groaning in travail waiting for the revealing of the sons of God (Romans 8:20-22).
QUESTION: 22. Do you believe and teach that the Bible creation story as recorded in Genesis is literal (that is, a physical and historical happening) or is the Garden of Eden really a spiritual and symbolic metaphor of mankind's personal, individual and inner spiritual world of creation?
ANSWER: The purpose of the story in Genesis is not to give an exhaustive historical and scientific account of the creation and fall of man. The purpose of the creation story is to indicate that the first human ancestors fell away from the original ideal of creation and that they, and all their descendants, have lost dominion to the angelic being now referred to as Satan. That man's blood lineage was changed at it's inception forms the basis of the basic view of rebirth as the primary function of the next Adam which is Christ.
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