The Forbidden Fruit

According to the Bible, Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden for eating an apple from the tree of knowledge.

Don’t believe that!

In the book of Genesis, Adam and Eve live in the Garden of Eden, a paradise on Earth. God allows them to eat the fruit of any tree in the Garden except one, the “tree of knowledge of good and evil.” Eve is tricked by a serpent to eat the fruit, which she also shares with Adam. Adam and Eve are then banished from the Garden forever.

The original Hebrew version of the Bible refers only to a forbidden “fruit” – so, how did this fruit come to be thought of as an apple? Possibly because the Latin word for apple, “malum,” also means “evil.”

Also, early Christian scholars may have chosen the fruit because it was popular and common in Europe. Apples were certainly not common in the Middle East; the hot climate makes it nearly impossible for them to grow there. What else could it have been? Possibly a fig – figs are mentioned in other Genesis verses. The pomegranate is native to the Middle East region, as are the citron (a lemon-like fruit) and a number of other possibilities. Some modern researchers believe the forbidden fruit was not a fruit at all, but a metaphor of some sort.

Whatever the fruit was, Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden for eating it – right? Actually, no – but it takes a very subtle reading of the Bible to uncover this fact. From Genesis, Chapter 3, Verses 22 – 23 (King James Version): “And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore, the Lord God sent him forth from the Garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.” So, the reason Adam and Eve were banished was not because they ate from the tree of knowledge, but to prevent them from also eating from the tree of life.

Bonus Fact: The term “Adam’s apple” derived from the notion that the forbidden fruit got stuck in Adam’s throat.


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