Nick_A wrote: ↑Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:19 pm
Why IYO is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil always considered superficially from a moralistic perspective?
Because "knowledge of good and evil" implicates ethics/morality. It's what the text says.
It is resistance to questions like this which made me leave Sunday school at an early age.
Interesting. Who "resisted"? The teachers?
Maybe they didn't want to answer, or maybe they didn't know the answers. Or maybe they were simple folks who had volunteered for a job that turned out to be more complicated than they could handle. It's not easy to respond with equilibrium to doubts, even when they come from a child.
Maybe they didn't really "resist," so much as they didn't know what to say, and became afraid they'd fail you in some way. Is that possible?
On the other hand, maybe they just didn't care, or didn't want to hear your question. But I don't think most folks are that mean. They were probably a bit disconcerted and unsure themselves.
8 Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 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 were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
There seems to be an objective relationship between these two trees suggesting that the universal concept of good and evil transcends social morality.
Well, you're right: I do think there is a "relationship," but I would also point out that it's made clear in the text precisely what the "relationship" is.
Firstly, notice that there are two trees, not merely one. Presumably, God could have made one tree that gave both life and moral knowledge, but He didn't. Secondly, notice that only one of the two was forbidden. Of the Tree of Life, they could eat when the time was right; of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they could not eat under any circumstances.
You see this again after the Fall. The angel is put in place to guard the way to the Tree of Life, and explicitly, it's "He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” In other words, evil must not be empowered to become an eternal phenomenon. Evil creatures must not be allowed to persist indefinitely, or what happens to the justice of God?
But the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil isn't even mentioned again. And why? Because it has done its worst already. Man will need no second bite of that tree in order to know evil from then on.
Jesus arrival on earth seems to contradict God's will here. He wants us to become aware of objective good and evil and begin the transformation made possible by the tree of life. Was Jesus in error?
I don't think the fruit of Tree of Life was ever eaten, do you? I don't see anything in the text that suggests it was, and in fact, an angelic guardian appointed to see that it never was. If you know of a passage that says mankind ate of that tree, I'd sure love to see it. But I can't remember it, if such can be cited. So there was no "transformation made possible by the Tree of Life," since it was never brought into play, so far as the text says. I think you'll find that's right.
Again, I suggest that while the two trees do have a relationship, in that they are the two specifically mentioned in connection with the Garden, we must not lose sight of the distinction between their functions. They were not one tree. One
gives the knowledge of good and evil (moral knowledge). The second
imparts eternal life. The crucial thing is that they could not be allowed to function together,
or evil becomes perpetual.
The choice of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil cut mankind off from the second tree, the Tree of Life. And that fits what the passage says, "In the day you eat of it [the first tree] you shall surely die
...it is clear that objective good and evil for Man refers to more than social morality.
The "morality is social" answer is dusty, and dies at the next regressive step: which "social morality" is superior? After all, unless the Social-Morality advocate wants to say that infant sacrifice and infant baptism are exactly the same in value, he/she is going to have to admit that one is morally better than the other. But what super-morality, what meta-moral-system, will he/she draw on in making that judgment? And how will he/she prove that that meta-moral system is "better" than the moralities it is being used to judge? He/she cannot do this without imposing his/her own morality on others, and this he/she has sworn to do, as a Social Morality Relativist.
So Social Relativism dies on its obvious self-contradiction.
However the atheists consider all this a basic contradiction natural for primitive people and believers say one must have faith.
Well, yes they do. But naive Atheists and naive Theists have one main thing in common: naivete. We should perhaps look to more thoughtful Atheists and more thoughtful Theists for our answers, rather than allowing ourselves to be bitter, because naive people exist in all camps of thought. That's just a function of differences in intelligence and experience, a feature of basic human nature, not a thing for us to resent. Besides, I have found that sometimes the naive people are more sincerely kind and merciful than the more intelligent can sometimes be.
And this is what I'm suggesting as well about your Sunday School teachers: they may have been bad, intelligent, malicious or indifferent people (such do occasionally exist, I know)...but I suspect not, because people who choose to work with children are generally not like that. Naive, some of them may be; but usually well-intended and kind, even if occasionally overwhelmed in their roles.
So the seeker of truth annoys everyone during their efforts to experience the depth of an extraordinarily profound meaningful teaching.
Yeah, that's often the case. Particularly when children are unexpectedly insightful. And they can be very wounded by their teachers' self-protective evasions. But unless the teacher is wicked, the hurt comes unintended.
Anyway, assuming the responses I offer above are more honouring of the inquisitiveness you expressed in Sunday School (presumably some considerable years ago), what do you think now? Were your teachers evil, or were they just overwhelmed?
I don't know, of course, so I'm just asking.