Should Adam and Eve have eaten the fruit?
God told Adam he could eat the fruit of every tree in the garden of Eden except one, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Of course everyone knows what happened next. The serpent persuaded Eve to eat the fruit of the tree; she gave some of the fruit to Adam and he ate it too. As a result they were expelled from the garden and eventually died, and all of their descendants experience suffering and death.
Not everyone believes that this was a bad thing. They think the knowledge the human race has acquired is enough to offset the harmful effects of the Fall. Also, the Bible does tell us that our final destiny is to inhabit a new earth that is free of any kind of evil. So aren’t we better off than Adam and Eve were when they were living in Eden?
Those who hold this belief overlook two important facts.
First, they overlook the fact that not everyone will enjoy the blessings of living in the new earth. The description of the new earth is found in chapters 21 and 22 of Revelation. The last part of chapter 20 shows that many people won’t be around to live in this perfect environment.
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.
And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.
This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
The second fact they overlook the price that had to be paid in order for any of us to ever live in this new earth in the first place. It was necessary for the Son of God to become a man and to suffer and die to atone for our sins.
They also assume that if Adam and Eve hadn’t sinned life for them would have gone on just as it did before. God not only punishes disobedience but he also rewards obedience. We have no way of knowing what their reward would have been. Perhaps we would already be living the new earth and there would be no one condemned to Hell. Perhaps God would have blessed us in some other way that is beyond our comprehension. We can at least be sure we would all be better off than we are now.
If you like to speculate about how things might have turned out differently if Eve hadn’t eaten the forbidden fruit you might enjoy reading Perelandra, by C. S. Lewis. In this novel God created a man and a woman to start a new race of humans on Venus. Satan tempted the woman just as he did Eve but the outcome was very different.