Lesson 4: God’s commandment: simple but serious instructions!

 

Genesis 2:15-17

Dear students, pastors, and church leaders welcome to Lesson 4 of our exciting online Bible journey at Scope Bible School! As we chronologically traverse the Salvation History Timeline from Genesis to Revelation, please be informed that this lesson closes the month of November 2023. Complex terminologies (underlined) are defined at the end of the lesson in the dictionary.

Let’s take a moment to remember Lesson 2, where we explored the creation of man and discovered the five spiritual attributes with which God created him.

Let’s take a study of the Garden of Eden, where God put man to live.

Gen 2: 10–15

“10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there, it was separated into four headwaters. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”

Here is a breakdown of the beautiful features of the garden from the scripture text above.

  1. River Flowing from Eden: God created a river that watered the Garden of Eden. This river was split into four headwaters, each with a distinct name—Pishon, Gihon, Tigris, and Euphrates.
  2. Pishon and Havilah: The Pishon River winds through the land of Havilah, known for its gold, aromatic resin, and onyx. This description suggests a region of great natural wealth.
  3. Gihon and Cush: The Gihon River traverses the land of Cush. The territory of Cush lies partly in Egypt and partly in the Republic of Sudan. The land of Cush has been known by many names throughout history, including Ethiopia, Nubia, and modern-day Sudan. The Bible suggests that the land of Cush isn’t Ethiopia but instead an area somewhere in the region of southern Iraq or Saudi Arabia. Regardless of the name by which it was known, Cush played an interesting role in the history of Canaan, Egypt, and the wider ancient Near East as a whole.
  4. Tigris and Euphrates: The Tigris and Euphrates rivers are well-known ancient rivers that ran through Mesopotamia. Their mention here signifies the grandeur and expansiveness of the Garden’s surroundings. See map here
  5. The Two Trees

Genesis 2:9 (NIV)

“The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden was the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

There were many trees vast species that the Lord had planted in the Garden of Eden. But there are two interesting trees that God planted: The Tree of Life (Let us call it Tree 1) and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Let’s call it Tree 2). Click for a pictorial illustration of these trees in the garden.

Task 1: In your notebook, draw a big circle. Inside the circle draw very many small circles. In the middle of the big circle, draw two small circles, one yellow and the other purple. Mark the yellow circle as Tree 1 and the purple circle as Tree 2, symbolizing the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, respectively. For the rest of the circles give them names of any fruit tree that comes to your mind. Try naming them in your mother language.

Two trees as we said are interesting, and here is why: their location in the midst of the Garden makes them unique from the rest of the trees. But though similar in this aspect, still these two are different from each other.

Task 2: Take 3 minutes to brainstorm on the differences between the two trees. Please list them in your notebook before reading on.

 

The Differences between the two trees.

Tree 1: The Tree of Life Gen 3:22b

Often overlooked, this tree seems to bring immortality, and it was positioned side-by-side with Tree 2, possibly to sustain Adam and Eve’s immortality. The fact that it was not forbidden makes it very likely that Adam and Eve used to eat from it whenever they pleased and this enhanced their immortality all the time they were in the garden. Hence, it is associated with eternal life, healing, and restoration.

Genesis 3:22b: “He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”

Proverbs 3:16-18 -NIV

“…She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.”

Revelation 22:1-2 (ESV)

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”

 

Tree 2: The tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil

This tree is notorious, and almost everyone who has held a Bible to read knows about it! Its fruit is one simple edible that changed the history of humanity forever. However, there are many myths surrounding this tree even in modern times. Most people associate it with sexual connotations, but that is far from the truth according to scripture. Let us explore the real facts about it.

It was a tree, a real tree. Maybe an apple, or mango, or orange, or pear treewe can’t tell for sure. But it was a real physical tree. From Kingdom Plantae!

It stood in the middle of the Garden together with Tree 1.

It was forbidden to be eaten.  Perhaps there was a “Do Not Eat” sign hanging on it– a sort of celestial snack embargo!

Genesis 2:16 NIVAnd the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.'”

It was only forbidden to be eaten. Not forbidden to be touched. It wasn’t a “Hands Off” tree. Nor to be climbed while, for instance, Adam and Eve played, nor to be used for firewood, nor to be cut into timber. I mean, come on, they could’ve just chopped it down and crafted a couple of stools!

God was specific that the day man ate from this tree he would certainly die. But did Adam really understand what death meant? Or was his mind preoccupied with making up names of giraffes or monkeys or porcupines or weasels?

God’s prohibition aimed at testing man’s obedience, reflecting his understanding of God’s deity and love. Obedience of this command was to reflect that man comprehended the nature of God, valued His deity, and recognized His role in fashioning him from mere dust for a profound purpose—being part of a grand kingdom. It sought to determine if a man would reciprocate the love with which God created him and if his affection was robust/strong enough to have him obey these Simple Instructions.

1 Samuel 15:22 emphasizes how much God values obedience compared to anything.

“But Samuel replied: ‘Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.'”

The instruction forbidding man not to eat from this tree was simple and easy to keep (‘just eat of the rest and not this one, buddy. Ignore it.’). But it was more serious than a man could think! It involved the possibility of death. Although man wouldn’t comprehend the concept of death at this point, it was a grave matter that God was cautioning him about.

As we conclude this lesson, consider the weight of the choices Adam and Eve faced. What unfolds next in the Garden of Eden? Join us in the next lesson as we unveil more mysteries and continue our journey through the scriptures.

 

 

Dictionary

Aromatic resin: refers to a perfumed, often sticky substance obtained from certain plants or trees. This resin is known for its pleasant aroma and is commonly used in various applications, such as perfumes, incense, and traditional medicine. One well-known example is frankincense, which is a type of aromatic resin obtained from certain tree species.

Onyx: A type of mineral valued for its unique beauty and durability. It is a variety of chalcedony, which is a type of silicate mineral made mostly of calcite. Onyx is characterized by its distinctive banding pattern, with layers of different colors. It is formed in caves or other areas where water collects and evaporates over time, leaving behind layers of minerals.

 

Grandeur: The quality or state of being grand, impressive, or magnificent, especially in appearance or manner. It often conveys a sense of greatness, splendor, or dignity. The term is commonly used to describe things that are large, impressive, or have a majestic quality, such as the grandeur of architecture, the grandeur of nature, or the grandeur of a historical event. It can also be used more broadly to express a sense of elevated or lofty character.

 

Immortality: The state of being immune to death, or the ability to live indefinitely, free from the effects of aging or any other cause of death.

Notorious: Describing someone or something that is widely and unfavorably known, usually due to some negative qualities, actions, or reputation.

Edible: As a noun, “edible” refers to any substance, typically a type of food that is safe and suitable for consumption. For example, fruits, vegetables, grains, and other items that can be eaten are considered edibles.

Connotations: The additional meanings, emotions, or associations that a word carries beyond its literal definition. These secondary or implied meanings can be influenced by cultural, social, historical, or personal factors. Connotations often contribute to the overall tone or mood of a word, and they can affect how a term is perceived by different people.

For example, consider the word “home” and the word “house.” While both words may have a similar literal definition, “home” often carries emotional and personal connotations, suggesting warmth, comfort, and a sense of belonging. “House,” on the other hand, may be perceived as more neutral, referring simply to a physical structure.

Reciprocate: To “reciprocate” means to respond to a gesture or action by making a corresponding or similar gesture in return. It involves exchanging mutual actions, feelings, or benefits. Reciprocation implies a give-and-take relationship where both parties respond to each other in a similar manner. This concept is often used in social interactions, relationships, and various aspects of human communication.

4 thoughts on “Lesson 4: God’s commandment: simple but serious instructions!”

  1. Hy saints
    We thank God for the knowledge and the good teachings
    Have enjoyed reading, about river cush✅,
    Indeed Adam didn’t knew what kind of death he was facing, but the curiosity of a man kind after being alerted 🤔, nutted all which was planned for a man.

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