A World of Broccoli and Pizza (I know, what’s this all about?) LOL
I am putting the question (in my own words) from the middle of this chapter right here at the beginning. Think about this question as you read on. Did Adam and Eve not have moral awareness before the “Fall”? What did they know? Were they just in lala land?
Gen 3:8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day……… So God wasn’t right beside them physically to smack their little hands if they messed up? I’m guessing. You know like we as parents do. “Smack” , no – don’t touch that it will hurt you. How did they know right from wrong?
Etz HaDa’at Tov Vara – The Forbidden Tree – The tree we know translated as the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This tree isn’t anywhere to be found anymore. Do you think if it were we would be able to understand it by taking sap samples from its trunk or taking its fruit and measuring the biochemical qualities of it? As the Rabbi says, “but while the tree itself is gone, the Hebrew words that describe its characteristics are alive and well. “ Etz HaDa’at Tov Vara……………….what does this mean?
Da’at – routinely translated as knowledge.
“The meaning of this word, however, is not limited to conventional knowledge. Indeed, one of the first times in Genesis this Hebrew root appears, it conveys an experience that, at first blush, few of us would call ‘knowledge’ at all “(Gen 4:1). This word doubles as a synonym for sexual intimacy.”
It seems that the use of this word in the Torah for both “knowledge” and “sexual union” is significant. He says there is a core understanding that gives rise to both of these meanings.
The book discusses at this point experiential knowing. He speaks of Gen 4:1 in that Adam knew his wife. The question is asked: “When a man knows his wife, what is he really seeking?” We have a few laugh lines here as you can probably imagine, however, it deeply touched me to be reminded there is something more than sheer pleasure that a man seeks.
“That a man attains da’at of a woman by joining with her and experiencing her, even though he can’t express in words her mysterious essence…………. Perhaps, on some level, he is after knowledge…knowledge of the mysterious, alluring feminine that is so different from him, but so much a ‘missing part’ of him at the same time…….He is seeking raw, firsthand knowledge. He is seeking to experience the feminine in a direct, unfiltered way.”
The old great debate between philosophers is at work here: head knowledge reigns supreme vs. real knowledge is only gained by experience. Well now, that could open a can of worms in today’s churches, don’t you think? Moving on………..
Da’at according to Rabbi Fohrman seems to denote the kind of knowledge of knowing something by experiencing it.
“A scientist who performs an experiment attains da’at, even though he can’t yet explain the rationale behind what he has experienced. A man attains da’at of a woman by joining with her and experiencing her, even though he can’t express in words her mysterious essence. And humankind attains da’at of good and evil, not by intellectualizing about morality and what it is made of – but by experiencing ‘good and evil’ in a raw, direct way.
To summarize then, in attaining a ‘knowledge’ of good and evil, humanity didn’t gain a better intellectual understanding of right and wrong. We gained an experiential understanding of these things. We began to know right and wrong from the ‘inside’.”
Egads – now this is starting to give something on a rabbit trail to really ponder. The battle rages on between people today regarding knowledge and experience. Which is right? I confess that I myself on occasion have been found in the middle of that battle. The answer is really quite simple, but until you figure it out for yourself from the Word of God, this battle will go on and on. You need help? (John 14:26)
Good and evil. Who on earth wants to “experience” evil? “How does one take “good and evil” inside of oneself?” The words good and evil in Hebrew (tov and ra) uncover the answers.
Remember I made this statement in Chapter 1 – “There was a transformation in the Garden of Eden. A transformation of understanding. Doesn’t that in itself beg a question?………. ‘What would it mean to think about right and wrong in the world of Eden………?’ Pre-tree……..sigh… “
I have found for me that it is easier to split this chapter into two posts. There is much to consider as we go forward from here. Is there anyone else out there that can see the depth of meaning in this? Can you picture the understanding that Christ had of all of this? After all, it is what He knew. I would encourage you to take a few moments and study the word Rabbi. Here’s a hint: The function of the rabbi of the Talmud was to teach the members of the community the Scriptures and the oral and traditional laws. Here’s a link for further info.