Gnostic Doctrine

Monday, 11 March 2019

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil

There are two trees in the midst of paradise. From one of them originate animals, from another — men. Adam ate of the tree which originates animals. And he became an animal and then brought forth animals.
Therefore at present, the animals like Adam are held in respect.
So, the tree of which Adam ate a fruit is the tree of animals. This is why his children became so numerous. And all of them also ate the fruits of the tree of animals. (The Gospel of Philip)

To understand what the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is we must first understand the symbolic understanding of trees in the Bible

Trees and leaves are sometimes used as symbols to describe the righteous (see Psa. 1:3; 92:12; Isa. 60:21; 65:22).

we know from the book of revelation that trees are symbolic of people

Rev 22:2 down the middle of its broad way. And on this side of the river and on that side [there were] trees of life producing twelve crops of fruit, yielding their fruits each month. And the leaves of the trees [were] for the curing of the nations. (NWT 1983)

Rev 22:2 Then it flowed down the middle of the city's main street. On each side of the riverare trees that grow a different kind of fruit each month of the year. The fruit gives life, and the leaves are used as medicine to heal the nations. (Contemporary English Version)

It would not be possible to have a single tree both inside the city, and on either side of a river that flows therefrom. The word xulon can relate to a wood, or a forest of trees; and that, obviously, is its meaning here twelve crops of fruit, yielding their fruits each month

This, again, shows that John saw a forest of trees, and not a single tree. Some of the "fruits" to be produced through the influence of the water of life are outlined in Prov. 3:16-18; Gal. 5:22. The number twelve identifies the fruit with the hope of Israel, and suggests the monthly pilgrimages and services that will form part of the ministry of saints in the age to come (see Isa. 66:23)

also the Lord's saying, "I am the vine: ye are the branches" (John 15). He is the tree of life, and the Paradise is the Kingdom of God in the Holy Land (Ezek. 36:35).

He is "the tree of life" symbolized from the beginning by the tree of life in the Garden of Eden. His body of "many members" is represented by the "very many trees" of the Ezekiel Paradise (Ezek. 47:7), which literally "beautify the place of God's sanctuary" (Is. 60:13). He and they are the substance of the symbol in this place

So the tree of life is symbolic of Jesus's gospel message or logos teachings it is logical to conclude that the tree of knowledge of good and evil is also symbolic

The tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil are a Figure of speech

also from the book of Provbers we lean that wisdom (wise thinking.) is a tree of life

She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her; and happy is everyone that retaineth her" (Prov 3:14,18).

Since wisdom is understood to be the tree of life it is logical to conclude that the tree of knowledge of good and evil is also symbolic.

the trees could be symbolic of the angels according to Justin the gnostic who's most important work, Baruch comes from Hyppolytus says

angels are the Trees of Paradise: the Tree of Life is Baruch, the third angel of the Father, and the Tree of Knowledge is the third angel of the Mother, Naas the Snake (Hebr. nafash).

In the garden of Eden, God employed two trees for symbolic purposes: “the tree of life” and “the tree of the knowledge of good and bad.” Failure to respect God’s decree concerning the latter brought man’s fall.—Ge 2:9, 16, 17; 3:1-24.

By God’s pronouncement decreeing it to be out-of-bounds for the human pair, the tree became a symbol of God’s right to determine or set the standards for man as to what is “good” (approved by God) and what is “bad” (condemned by God). It thus constituted a test of man’s respect for his Creator’s position and his willingness to remain within the area of freedom decreed by God, an area that was by no means cramped and that allowed for the greatest enjoyment of human life. Therefore, to violate the boundaries of the prohibited area by eating of “the tree of the knowledge of good and bad” would be an invasion of or a revolt against God’s domain and authority

The Tree of Life occupied a place in the "midst of the garden" with the "tree of knowledge of good and evil" (cp. Gen. 3:3). Here were symbolically provided the two choices for mankind: obedience or sin; life or death.

"And the tree of knowledge of good and evil" — Good and evil represent the extremes of knowledge and thus serve as an idiom for completeness, comprehending all within the two opposites. In Deut. 1:39 and Isa. 7:14-17, lack of knowing good and evil indicates immaturity, whereas in 2 Sam. 14:17; 1 Kings 3:9 knowledge of such denotes maturity. In 2 Sam. 19:35 the expression is used with regard to the virility of the body to respond and enjoy such experiences. The ability to discern between good and evil is treated as a Divine attribute (2 Sam. 14:17; 1 Kings 3:9; Prov.15:3).

In Genesis 2:9 – 15 we read a description of the garden in Eden. It was a pleasant place with all kinds of trees and plants and the garden was watered naturally by a river. Within this pleasant garden Yahweh Elohim placed two trees which were symbolic of his relationship with mankind. The tree of life was symbolic of God’s promise of immortal life to those who chose to follow his ways rather than the way of human nature. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was in the garden as a test for mankind and to allow free will. They could follow God’s way or the way of human nature looking for instant pleasure.

We talked about the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil as it was the only fruit that Adam was forbidden to eat. In Genesis 2:16 – 17 we see that this was God’s first commandment. Until this time the idea of death had not been part of human experience. There had been no need for the killing of animals as a sacrifice for sins.


The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is symbolic of our sinful desire

Yahweh says, "the cedars in the garden of God could not hide him; nor was any tree in the garden of God like unto him in his beauty. I made him fair by the multitude of his branches; so that all the trees of Eden, in the garden of God, envied him" (Ezek 31:3,8-9). These trees (Dan 4:20-22) are symbolic of the negative thoughts of the mind which Syria (intellectual pride), and Assyria ( reasoning according to the outward senses) shall be abolished (Isa 37:12-13).

The "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" represents the discerning capacity of mind. Man first becomes aware of knowledge; then he must discern the relation of ideas before activity is set up within him.

God told Adam to avoid the tree whose fruit was a knowledge of good and evil, "for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." It is evident that this tree is closely related to individual free will, which is in direct touch with the "serpent" or selfhood. In that state of consciousness, or day, the individual shall surely die.

The branch that separates itself from the tree withers away and dies. So a belief by the ego that its life, substance, and intelligence are self-derived cuts off the source of supply, and the ego begins to revolve in a mental vortex whose dominant tones are good and evil, birth and death--duality.

It is through the affections, the feminine in us, that we partake of both good and evil. The soul, or woman, was given to man by Yahweh, and is the avenue through which the inspirations of Spirit come. When the I AM assumes mastery over the soul it brings forth only good.

"tree of the knowledge of good and evil" (Gen. 2:9)--Indicates a dual state of consciousness, a belief in both good and error, which eventually drives man out of the garden (his body temple).

There are two trees in the midst of paradise. From one of them originate animals, from another — men. Adam ate of the tree which originates animals. And he became an animal and then brought forth animals.
Therefore at present, the animals like Adam are held in respect.
So, the tree of which Adam ate a fruit is the tree of animals. This is why his children became so numerous. And all of them also ate the fruits of the tree of animals. (The Gospel of Philip)


As a result, the fruits of the tree of animals begot numerous people-animals who now honor only man-animal.

There are two trees growing in Paradise. The one bears animals [the tree of knowledge of good and evil which leads to death], the other bears men [the tree of life]. Adam ate from the tree which bore animals. He became an animal [after going according to his own will] and he brought forth animals [all of his sons are brought forth in the same condition of separation from the Father and eat from this tree (this is the first death]. For this reason the children of Adam worship animals [who continue to “lord it over them” in their unreasoning minds]. The tree [...] fruit is [...] increased. [...] ate the [...] fruit of the [...] bears men, [...] man. [...] God created man. [...] men create God. That is the way it is in the world - men make gods [by choosing for themselves kings and/or governments or men to rule over them; also by setting up selfishness as ruler over their own temple] and worship their creation [bow down to their own man-made constitutions]. It would be fitting for the gods to worship men [all men are created in the image of God and are “sons of the Most High” with all power of creation that the Father has bestowed upon them if they would just turn to Him, but in ignorance they keep following those that are not gods – this is idolatry whether it be government, idealism, religion etc. for they all result in spiritual thievery]!


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