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Tag Archives: the Tree of Knowledge

More Than Just Deception

Lying is a form of trickery. When an individual is afraid of how someone will respond to something you did or said, words are crafted in such a manner to minimize the truth. This is the decision Abram made on his own when a famine postponed his journey to God’s promised land. Rather than walk in faith with the belief that God will do exactly what He said in Haran, Abram was fearful that a man married to a beautiful wife would be killed and his wife taken by Pharaoh.

And when he was about to enter into Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, I know that you are beautiful to behold. 12 So when the Egyptians see you, they will say, This is his wife; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. 13 Say, I beg of you, that you are [c]my sister, so that it may go well with me for your sake and my life will be spared because of you. 14 And when Abram came into Egypt, the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful. 15 The princes of Pharaoh also saw her and commended her to Pharaoh, and she was taken into Pharaoh’s house [harem], Genesis 12:11-15.

The passage above is the opposite of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Eve listened to the tempter, convinced Adam that eating from the Tree of Knowledge would be beneficial and gave her husband a bite of the fig in her hand. Meanwhile, this new couple approached Egypt, Abram was the schemer who sold Sarai on the idea that “just say you’re my sister, no one will ever know but us.” Abram’s decision was more than just deception, the choice to lie was a reflection of his lack of faith in God.

You shall have no other gods before or besides Me. You shall not make yourself any graven image [to worship it] or any likeness of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; You shall not bow down yourself to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, Exodus 20:3-5.

Moses is the author of the first five books of the Old Testament. Moses isn’t afraid to mince words in the passage above. While Moses is writing the Ten Commandments for the nation of Israel to follow, God’s character is unveiled. Human beings who place anyone or anything above the Lord as their top priority open the door for generational sins to be passed down to your children. Subsequently, Abram’s lying was adopted by Isaac and Jacob. Therefore, the next time you find yourself stretching the truth, may the consequence of generational sins convict you to stop this deception before it’s embraced by your future descendants.

by Jay Mankus


Stop Unwholesome Thought From Staying in Your Mind

According to the words of Moses, sin is crouching at your door. Crouching is a position where the knees are bent, and the upper body is brought forward and down, sometimes to avoid detection or to defend oneself: If sin is still crouching at your door in 2023, you might as well get all the way down on your knees to start fighting back spiritually. The earthly brother of Jesus clarifies that this has nothing to do with God. Rather, unwholesome thoughts come from desires, enticement and lust, James 1:13-15.

But for [a]Cain and his offering He had no respect or regard. So Cain was exceedingly angry and indignant, and he looked sad and depressed. And the Lord said to Cain, Why are you angry? And why do you look sad and depressed and dejected? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you, but you must master it, Genesis 4:5-7.

According to the temptations of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3 and their son Cain in the passage above, the process of sin begins with an unwholesome thought that enters your mind, James 1:14-15. The serpent tried to convince Eve that God was holding her back by prohibiting access from the Tree of Knowledge. Meanwhile, envy and jealousy were putting thoughts into Cain’s head about eliminating the source of his frustration. Despite God’s warning in the passage above, Cain acted upon the unwholesome thought that remained in his mind.

For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), Being in readiness to punish every [insubordinate for his] disobedience, when your own submission and obedience [as a church] are fully secured and complete, 2 Corinthains 10:3-6.

The apostle Paul provides a solution to stopping unwholesome thoughts from polluting your soul in the passage above. If Lucifer is a fallen arch angel who is ruler over the air on earth, Ephesians 2:2, physical means of protection will only go so far. The best way to stop unwholesome thoughts from staying in your mind is by using the armor of God, Ephesians 6:10-20. When these spiritual weapons are exercised daily, God will shield you from the Devil’s attacks. As Christians use prayer as a vehicle to put on each piece of spiritual armor, your thought life will become obedient to Christ, causing unwholesome thoughts to flee.

by Jay Mankus

The First Age of Enlightenment on Earth

The Age of Enlightenment can be illustrated by a famous painting entitled the School of Athens. This painting was one of the commissioned artworks by Pope Julius II when artist Raphael moved to Rome. This two-year project began in 1509 and was completed for public viewing in 1511. The School of Athens contains two great philosophers: Aristotle and Plato. While one scholar points to the sky, the other is pointing to within. This signifies the transition of seeking truth from God above toward humanism, searching for truth from within your own heart and soul.

Now the serpent was more subtle and crafty than any living creature of the field which the Lord God had made. And he [Satan] said to the woman, Can it really be that God has said, You shall not eat from every tree of the garden? And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat the fruit from the trees of the garden, Except the fruit from the tree which is in the middle of the garden. God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die. But the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die, For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing the difference between good and evil and blessing and calamity, Genesis 3:1-5.

If the serpent above is either the fallen angel Lucifer taking possession of this serpent or merely the first voice of temptation, this is the Bible’s first age of enlightenment. As a former Bible teacher, King Solomon wrote the Book of Proverbs for one of his sons to set spiritual boundaries for life on earth. This invisible line is designed to protect human beings by keeping danger out of their lives. This was likely the same reason God only had one rule in the garden, not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, Genesis 2:16-17. The apostle Paul once urged the Church at Corinth to look for the way out of any temptation, 1 Corinthians 10:13.

When men began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, The sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair, and they took wives of all they desired and chose. Then the Lord said, My Spirit shall not forever dwell and strive with man, for he also is flesh; but his days shall yet be 120 years. There were giants on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God lived with the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination and intention of all human thinking was only evil continually, Genesis 6:1-5.

Jesus refers to the Devil as the father of all lies in John 8:44. The first lie is introduced to Eve as Adam was standing right there with her. Psalm 1:1-3 compares everyday life to talking a walk. Who you associate with, and join will influence the decisions that you make in life. Whenever a lie is passed onto to you, Christians must filter any content with the Bible, Acts 17:10-12, testing this to determine if it’s true. Unfortunately, when lies are repeated over and over again, social media elevates lies to truth status. Rather to repeat historic mistakes by doing what’s right in your own eyes, Judges 21:25, test everything and cling to God’s truth.

by Jay Mankus

When a Child Second Guesses Parents

The other day a thought popped into my mind about a hypothetical conversation that may have occurred as Abel and Cain came home for dinner one night. After tilling rock hard ground in desert like conditions, Cain sees the Garden of Eden over in the distance, lush green beyond the sandy soil. Cain sarcastically asks his parents, “can you go over why you two were kicked out of the Garden of Eden?” Adam and Eve look at each other in silence, before Eve starts to share her accounts of that fateful day.

For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing the difference between good and evil and blessing and calamity. And when the woman saw that the tree was good (suitable, pleasant) for food and that it was delightful to look at, and a tree to be desired in order to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she gave some also to her husband, and he ate, Genesis 3:5-6.

As Adam takes a big bite, chewing feverishly, a nervous laughter prompts Eve to set the scene. Eve was memorized by the Tree of Knowledge, unable to resist taking a second glance. The more Eve stared, the low bearing fruit got her attention, eliciting lust within her heart for this tree’s fruit. Cain immediately interrupts, “you’re telling me our family got kicked out of Eden over two figs?” Eve replies, “but it was so good.”

And Adam knew Eve as his wife, and she became pregnant and bore Cain; and she said, I have gotten and gained a man with the help of the Lord. And [next] she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground. And Abel brought of the firstborn of his flock and of the fat portions. And the Lord had respect and regard for Abel and for his offering, Genesis 4:1-4.

Hindsight is always twenty/twenty as anyone can play Monday morning quarterback. While Cain has a right to be disappointed by his parents, he should have been more concerned about getting his own life under control rather than pointing the finger at someone else. Jesus addresses this in his Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 7:1-5. There is plenty of time for personal reflection, especially after making poor choices in life. Yet, like the Michael W. Smith classic song, we’re all Living and Learning.

by Jay Mankus

A Child Who Can Alter Your Legacy

If you haven’t learned this from watching cable news, it only takes one act to alter your legacy forever. When earth’s first couple participated in original sin by breaking God’s only boundary placed in the Garden of Eden (not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge), the sinful nature was conceived. Subsequently, when Cain, the first-born child on earth, had his own moral dilemma, a peptalk from God couldn’t alter the decision he had already made in his mind. Cain eliminated the source of his jealousy, Abel.

So Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and dwelt in the land of Nod [wandering], east of Eden. 17 And Cain’s wife [one of Adam’s offspring] became pregnant and bore Enoch; and Cain built a [f]city and named it after his son Enoch, Genesis 4:16-17.

According to Jude 1:14, Jared’s son Enoch lived seven generations after Adam. When you take into consideration Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel, Eve gave birth to two girls. Each of these two were likely women Cain and Abel eventually married. Since Abel’s life was struck down before he was able to have children, Cain’s wife gave birth to the first Enoch. This is what I call a God instance, not a coincidence as Enoch would go on to alter Cain’s legacy as a man and a father.

When Enoch was 65 years old, Methuselah was born. 22 Enoch walked [in habitual fellowship] with God after the birth of Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 So all the days of Enoch were 365 years. 24 And Enoch walked [in habitual fellowship] with God; and he was not, for God took him [home with Him], Genesis 5:21-24.

Since the earth’s population was reduced from six to five people following Abel’s murder, God didn’t give Cain the death penalty. Rather than cut the earth’s population back to four, Cain was sentenced to a life as a vagabond. However, Moses does record his family’s lineage in the passage above. Instead of dwelling upon and being haunted by his grave error in judgment, Cain devoted his life to raising Enoch. Like Solomon in the book of Proverbs, Cain did all he could to point Enoch in the right direction by avoiding the same mistakes he made in life. As Paul Harvey would say, “and now you now the rest of the story” of how just one child can alter your legacy on earth. If a murderer can raise a godly child who Cain built a city to honor, anything is possible.

by Jay Mankus

From Not Ashamed to Shame

The apostle Paul makes a bold statement about not being ashamed in the beginning of his letter to the Church at Rome, Romans 1:16. Paul writes with a sense of pride, clinging to the Good News about Jesus Christ like a badge of honor. As a former persecutor of the first century church as a zealous Pharisee in Acts 7, Paul was ashamed of any Jew who believed that Jesus of Nazareth, a mere carpenter, was the promised Messiah of the Old Testament.

And the man and his wife were both naked and were not embarrassed or ashamed in each other’s presence, Genesis 2:25.

Six thousand years earlier, shame was an emotion yet to be discovered. According to Moses, when Adam and Eve looked at each other’s naked bodies for the first time, feeling ashamed never entered their minds. Perhaps, this is what newlywed virgins experience on their honeymoon as they lay with each other naked for the very first time. Unfortunately, this paradise didn’t last long as a bite from the Tree of Knowledge radically altered their emotions from not ashamed to experiencing shame.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good (suitable, pleasant) for food and that it was delightful to look at, and a tree to be desired in order to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she gave some also to her husband, and he ate. Then the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves apronlike girdles, Genesis 3:6-7.

Everyone born after the Garden of Eden is created with a heart, soul, mind, and a conscience. This gut feeling serves a spiritual thermostat for human beings. According to Moses, Adam and Eve went from innocent eyes in Genesis 2 to a guilty conscience in Genesis 3 which conceived shame for the very first time on earth. Anyone who is hard on themselves experiences shame daily. While you can’t put the Genie back in the bottom, you can start with confession to make the presence of shame flee, James 5:16.

by Jay Mankus

A Life Lesson Worthy of a Sermon

Jesus introduced the concept of spiritual life lessons during a conversation with a Pharisee described in John 3:1-21. As part of Jesus’ inner circle, John was either nearby praying or eavesdropping when this took place. Nicodemus wanted to know more about Jesus’ controversial teaching but was afraid of what his Jewish peers might think so he met with Jesus under the cover of darkness. Jesus spoke about the need to be spiritually reborn which Nick greets with sarcasm. As Jesus continues, Nick is left speechless.

And Cain said to his brother, [b]Let us go out to the field. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. And the Lord said to Cain, Where is Abel your brother? And he said, I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper? 10 And [the Lord] said, What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground. 11 And now you are cursed by reason of the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s [shed] blood from your hand, Genesis 4:8-11.

After Adam and Eve experienced conviction and shame following a bite from the Tree of Knowledge, more emotions are introduced by Moses in Genesis 4. Cain followed in his father’s footsteps as a farmer, enduring the same curse placed upon the earth’s ground as fertile soil surrounding Eden transitioned into an arid desert. Meanwhile, Abel decided to become a shepherd who could move his flock when a land ceased to grow grass. As Cain struggled daily, Abel began to prosper.

But I say to you that everyone who continues to be [ad]angry with his brother or harbors malice (enmity of heart) against him shall be [ae]liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the court; and whoever speaks contemptuously and insultingly to his brother shall be [af]liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, You [ag]cursed fool! [You empty-headed idiot!] shall be [ah]liable to and unable to escape the hell (Gehenna) of fire. 23 So if when you are offering your gift at the altar you there remember that your brother has any [grievance] against you, 24 Leave your gift at the altar and go. First make peace with your brother, and then come back and present your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way traveling with him, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison, Matthew 5:22-25.

When God asked each man to provide what the Bible refers to a first fruits offering, Abel freely departed with his firstborn sheep. This gift pleased the Lord greatly. When Cain scrounged up what he could from his fields, God was not impressed with his offering. According to Genesis 4:6-7, Cain had become bitter, envious, jealous and deeply depressed. Seeing Cain’s downcast disposition, God approached Cain, intervening this time before he could make a brash decision like his parents in the garden.

But if you have bitter jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry, selfish ambition) in your hearts, do not pride yourselves on it and thus be in defiance of and false to the Truth. 15 This [superficial] wisdom is not such as comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual (animal), even devilish (demoniacal). 16 For wherever there is jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry and selfish ambition), there will also be confusion (unrest, disharmony, rebellion) and all sorts of evil and vile practices, James 3:14-16.

In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, one of the first topics mentioned after the Beatitudes is properly dealing with a jealous heart. If you allow envy or jealousy to fester, Ephesians 4:26-28, this allows the Devil to get a foothold inside of you. Subsequently, Jesus equates hatred with murder as the more jealousy takes control of your emotions, your sinful nature starts to plant thoughts within your mind on how to get rid of this threat. Cain listened to and acted upon his thoughts. May Cain’s story help you stop envy and jealousy before it takes root and poisons your soul.

by Jay Mankus

You Shall Surely Die?

The modern New Age Movement began in the early 1970’s. Hollywood played the role of the serpent as actors and actresses began to suggest that you can become like the God of the Bible. Sound familiar? The origin of the New Age Movement began in the Garden of Eden. Moses refers to the serpent mentioned in Genesis 3 as the craftiest of all the animals God created. The serpent tried to convince Eve that God was holding her back by denying her access to the Tree of Knowledge.

And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and blessing and calamity you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die, Genesis 2:16-17.

According to some versions of the Bible, when Eve was being enlightened by the words of the serpent, Adam was right there with her. If this is indeed the case, Adam was informed a chapter earlier about God’s only rule in the Garden of Eden. Based upon Eve’s initial response, Adam did tell her the boundaries set by God. The serpent’s conversation with Eve then turns toward one issue, “what does God mean by the words you will surely die?”

But the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die,For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing the difference between good and evil and blessing and calamity. And when the woman saw that the tree was good (suitable, pleasant) for food and that it was delightful to look at, and a tree to be desired in order to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she gave some also to her husband, and he ate, Genesis 3:4-6.

Based upon Adam’s initial conversation with God, the consequence for breaking God’s only rule is death. If the creation of earth and human beings was designed to dwell and live forever, God is correct. However, the Father of Lies twists God’s words by planting a thought inside of Eve’s mind. The more Eve pondered the possibility of becoming like God, her eyes turned toward low bearing fruit hanging from the Tree of Knowledge. While all human beings will die in the end, disobeying God results in spiritual death, John 3:3-5. May today’s blog help you realize the need to be reborn this Christmas season.

by Jay Mankus

Pleasant to the Sight

The King James Version uses the word pleasant 57 times in the Bible. The context of this usage ranges from pleasant to the sight to delightful places on earth. Human nature tends to focus on the physical aspect of pleasant. According to Jesus’ earthly brother, anyone who fixates on physical features with a second glance opens the door for lust to enter your life, James 1:13-15. This is what happened to Eve in Genesis 3:6, turning what God meant for good into the rebellious act of sin.

And out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight or to be desired—good (suitable, pleasant) for food; the tree of life also in the center of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of [the difference between] good and evil and blessing and calamity, Genesis 2:9.

Like any famous garden, there are certain centerpieces that attract visitors from across the country annually. According to Moses, the focal point of the Garden of Eden was the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge. Based upon the passage above, both were located in the center of Eden. The beauty of this garden inspired the name for this special place as the word Eden means delight when translated into English.

The Lord is my chosen and assigned portion, my cup; You hold and maintain my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; yes, I have a good heritage, Psalm 16:5-6.

The apostle Paul explains the internal struggle that takes place within every human being, Galatians 5:16-18. While certain individuals and places have been blessed with attractive physical features, you have to make sure appreciation doesn’t turn into enticement. Jesus compares eyes to the lamp of human bodies, Matthew 6:22-23. If a lack of discipline causes your eyes to turn toward darkness, you’ll likely experience unwholesome lust, 1 John 2:16. May this blog urge you to center your attention on appreciation rather than lust.

by Jay Mankus

The Original Omission

Thanks to the writings of Augustine of Hippo who lived from 354–430 AD, the phrase peccatum originale was conceived. Augustine was referring to the passage below where Adam and Eve committed the original sin on earth by disobeying the boundary set by God in Genesis 2:16-17. When you place this passage side by side with James 1:13-15, Satan planted a thought inside of Eve’s mind that was eventually acted upon the more Eve stared at the fruit hanging from the Tree of Knowledge.

For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing the difference between good and evil and blessing and calamity. And when the woman saw that the tree was good (suitable, pleasant) for food and that it was delightful to look at, and a tree to be desired in order to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she gave some also to her husband, and he ate, Genesis 3:5-6.

When Moses documents this story that was passed down through oral tradition, one key detail is often overlooked. While the version of this passage doesn’t specify Adam’s whereabouts when Eve took the first bite, other translations of the Bible claim that Adam was right there with her. Adam failed to show leadership by not interrupting the serpent or simply exclaiming “get lost.” Subsequently, as Eve was busy committing original sin, Adam demonstrated the original omission.

So any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it, to him it is sin, James 4:17.

The word omission in the context of Genesis 3 means a failure to do something, especially something that one has a moral or legal obligation to do. Since Adam was given authority over the Garden of Eden with the responsibility of being a caretaker or in golf lingo the superintendent of Eden, Adam failed to uphold the only rule given to him by God. The earthly brother of Jesus clarifies what a sin of omission is in the passage above. The moment Adam sat idly by his wife’s side without stepping in to stop this tempting urge, the original omission was conceived.

by Jay Mankus

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