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The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil

Photo by Jannes Jacobs on Unsplash

Understand the Purpose of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil

the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

~ Genesis 2:9 ~

And I, the Lord God, planted the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and also the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

~ Moses 3:9~

When we make wrong choices—as we inevitably will—we are soiled by sin and must be cleansed to proceed toward our eternal destiny. The Father’s plan provides the way to do this, the way to satisfy the eternal demands of justice: a Savior pays the price to redeem us from our sins. That Savior is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God the Eternal Father, whose atoning sacrifice—whose suffering—pays the price for our sins if we will repent of them.

~ Elder Dallin H. Oaks: Opposition in all Things – April 2016 General Conference ~

In Word: The Tree of Life is symbolism of the Plan of Salvation. The love of God who is Jesus Christ. The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is the representation of moral agency. It stands in opposition to the tree of life. It represents mortality. Adam and Eve remained in a state of spiritual existence. A state of innocence. A state of perfect union and harmony. Yet, to bring about the reality of the Plan of Salvation – humanity needed to make a choice. That choice led to the temptation and partaking of the forbidden fruit. The Tree of Life represented immortality and eternal life. The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil represented mortality and moral agency. All that encompasses human liberty and freedom of choice comes suffering, adversity, and sorrow. Yet, our Heavenly Father has prepared a way for us to overcome and endure temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).

In Deed: The Apostle Paul gives us simple directions related to how we are to view the plan of salvation. He writes that we are to consider ourselves to be dead to sin and alive unto God through Jesus Christ. He further instructs that we are to yield ourselves to be instruments unto righteousness (Romans 6:11-13). In the Book of Mormon, we are counseled to put off the natural man and yield to the enticing of the Holy Spirit where we are to become a saint through the atonement of Jesus Christ (Mosiah 3:19).

How we put off the natural man is through the sacred ordinance of baptism. Paul recognized the significance of this ordinance in Romans 6. This covenant bears witness of our willingness to keep the commandments of God and to have the Holy Spirit as our constant companion (Mosiah 18:10). We continue to put off the natural man through the process of sanctification (Galatians 2:20; Moses 6:59-60).

Take a Moment to Ponder: What does it mean for you to “put off the natural man” that is at enmity with God? What temptations are you struggling with? What sins do you need to bring to the altar of God and lay bare for the forgiveness of sins? The Atonement of Jesus Christ is there to provide a means for us to receive forgiveness from our Heavenly Father. Our Savior draws us to Him so that we can be lifted on that day to stand before God, justified and sanctified. How does it change your view regarding moral agency and responsibility for our own lives? The ability to choose our own path is a significant gift of true freedom and liberty. How does this help me understand the plan of Salvation and the love of God that is manifested through Jesus Christ?