If God Knew Adam and Eve Would Sin, Why Did He Put the Tree in the Garden in the First Place?

       To begin to answer this, a couple things should be kept in mind. First, it is important to remember who we are talking about. God, the all-powerful Creator of the universe, answers to no one. He doesn't ask for approval for His decisions. Second, it is important to remember what we are talking about. We are talking about God's plan for the whole world that He created. God has not chosen to reveal every detail of His plan to us. We can only know what He chooses to reveal. And since we are part of that plan, we are responsible to it even if we do not fully understand it or approve of it. Still, there are some things God has told about His plan:

1. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil wasn't a bad tree. Everything that God made, including the tree, was "very good" (Gn 1:31). The source of trouble in this story is Adam and Eve as well as the serpent – not the tree.

2. Adam and Eve had every reason to trust God. He did a great job creating them, and He placed them in a beautiful place where they had everything they needed. God was trustworthy, but Adam and Eve did not trust Him.

3. Adam and Eve were created with freedom. God places a high value on our choice to obey Him, and He created Adam and Eve with freedom so that this was possible. Life without freedom is not really life at all. God wisely gave them freedom, but Adam and Eve abused it.

4. Adam and Eve were not ignorant of God's boundaries. Just as wise teachers test their students, God tested Adam and Eve in their obedience. However, God didn't test them on what they didn't know. They knew which tree was off limits, and they knew the consequences if they ate from it. The rules were plain, but Adam and Eve violated them anyway.

5. God provided for Adam and Eve. Before God told them not to eat of the tree, He told them they could freely eat of every other tree in the garden. They were not in danger of starving, nor were they deprived of variety. They had an all-you-can-eat buffet in the garden, but Adam and Eve were not satisfied.

6. God's plan is much bigger than the garden of Eden. His plan for His creation and His people did not end when Adam and Eve sinned. In fact, God's plan from the very beginning was to redeem His people and His creation. The drama of fall and redemption could never have happened if the tree had not been in the garden. Adam and Eve sinned (Gn 3), but God's plan was bigger than their sin.

       One final thought: God's wise, good plan included sending His Son into the world that Adam and Eve ruined. Think about it: from eternity past, God ordained that He would become the chief victim of His own plan (Rv 5). The very good news is that He also guaranteed our redemption by His resurrection.

This article can be found in "Apologetics Study Bible for Students", page 9. 

Please also see our comprehensive study for the book of Genesis that includes commentary from www.enduringword.com.