The Eden Fruit
Genesis 3:1-7: NKJV
1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?"
2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;
3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.' "
4 Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die.
5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
Whilst discussing the Genesis 3 account of the fall of Adam and Eve, The question arose as to whether the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, was an apple.
All through history, we have been led to believe that it was indeed an apple.
Studying this, we find there are some very interesting points.
To actually come to a correct conclusion we must search the scriptures for evidence.
The first thing to notice, is that an apple is nowhere mentioned in the Biblical account of the fall.
So where did this idea originate that the fruit was an apple.
Apparently, this goes back to St Jerome, who was the one who translated the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into the vulgar tongue of the church, which was Latin. It became known as the Latin Vulgate.
Whether Jerome saw this as a pun is not clear, he used the latin word “malus” for the fruit of the tree. “Malus” is an apple. Interestingly the same word is used for “evil”. So apple became synonymous with evil.
The Hebrew word for fruit is “peri” which simply refers to fruit, it could be any fruit, a pomegranate, grape, peach, lemon or a fig.
So Jerome translated the Hebrew word “peri” into “malus” which is the Latin name of the apple today, “Malus Pumila”.
We do know things for certain from the text that:
Every fruit yielding seed was given by God to eat
29 And God said, "See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.
This could cause some to think that the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil was a seed bearing fruit, or it could be that because it was forbidden, it must be a fruit that does not contain seeds.
If you take the view that because it was forbidden, it could not have had seeds, then the fruit could not have been any fruit with seeds, therefore it could not have been an apple.
Alternatively, if the fruit was good to eat, then it would have seeds and could have been any fruit bearing seeds.
Researching, to find if there are any fruit existing that do not contain seeds, it became apparent that all fruit contains seeds.
There are some fruit that appear to have no seeds, like banana, pineapple and coconut but this is because whilst eating them you cannot easily recognise the seed.
Naturally, all fruit have seed. After all, fruit are basically like an egg or womb which encompass the seed which is basically a sperm or ovary of a tree.
Fruit like modern banana, seedless grape and watermelon are basically clones or descendant of fruit tree which have this mutation that technically made them impotent.
By fruit which has no seed (naturally), would mean a fruit which you could eat its flesh without any unpleasant seeds, the answer would be fruit which is inside out compare to a normal fruit (seeds that encompass the flesh while normal fruit usually have flesh that encompass the seed).
The only fruit that does not contain seeds are ones that have been cultivated by man.
So, it appears that the fruit in question could be any fruit, including the apple.
Let us go back then, to the text.
According to the Genesis text there are only three trees mentioned in this
1. The Tree of Life.
2. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
3. The fig tree.
We know that the only fruit tree mentioned was the fig tree because it was from this tree that Adam and Eve took leaves to make aprons for themselves to cover their nakedness.
Gen 3:7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
We know that Eve was with Satan when he tempted her, we know that they were together and we know that she took fruit from the tree that was near to them.
As soon as Eve ate from the tree she knew good and evil. After her fall into sin (evil) she gave the fruit to Adam and he also ate. At this point they picked fig leaves and made aprons.
So, Satan was there, Eve was there, the fruit tree was there and Adam was there.
We also know that the fig tree was there. Rather than an apple, it is seems more likely that the fruit that Eve ate was a fig.
Was Michelangelo correct when he painted his picture of the sin in the garden of Eden?
You can see from the leaves on this tree that it is a fig tree.
Of course this is not proof but the fact that in the text, the only tree that was in the vicinity at the time of the fall, was the fig tree, it is more likely that the fruit was a fig rather than the fruit being an apple.
Gen 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
How did Eve know that this fruit was edible?
The text says, “And when the woman saw” What did she see?
Could she have seen something or someone eating from this tree?
The text tells us that God only told Adam and Eve not to eat of that fruit.
Nowhere does it say that God told the animals or Satan not to.
Of course we know that animals do not possess the same knowledge of good
and evil as do men. So it is unlikely that it was the animals that ate this fruit.
Could it be that Eve saw Satan eat of this fruit, who already had knowledge of good and evil.
“it was pleasant to the eyes”. This is self explanatory, the fruit looked appetising.
“a tree to be desired to make one wise”.
There was something Eve saw to make her aware that the fruit could give wisdom and so she ate.
All in all, the only evidence from this text to suggest that this fruit was more likely to be a fig than an apple, is the fact that only the fig tree is mentioned in the text.
What then, can we learn from this?
Our teaching should be based on scripture alone.
If the text is silent, then we too, should be silent.
What does it matter whether it was an apple, a fig or some other fruit? What does matter is what the fruit represented. It was a forbidden fruit and therefore represents disobedience and disobedience is sin.
It is not always wise to just follow tradition. If the tradition is not based on the Word of God, then it is just that, tradition.