Evil Tastes Good
You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat . . . Genesis 2:16,17
When I was in India a few years ago, I visited a rural mountain village where I was fed the local cuisine, which included grubs. As big around as my thumb, with a crunchy shell, the inside was the consistency of grainy toothpaste. They looked disgusting, but I had to know. After trying one, I thought, This is what evil must taste like.
As it turns out, I was wrong. Evil does not taste like a grub. Evil tastes fantastic. Though the aftertaste is a bitter poison, evil promises and delivers immediate gratification. If I replace grub with food, drugs, money or status, I can see that my life has often been defined by the pursuit of the pleasure found in evil.
This is the situation in which Adam found himself in today’s passage. God gave him the garden with just one rule. He was not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This seems like such a simple thing to me. Just don’t eat the fruit. Then, I remember the grub and realize that I probably wouldn’t have lasted a day. I must know.
That this one fruit was forbidden, must have made it look amazing. I imagine that there was nothing particularly different in the molecular makeup of that fruit. It was not the fruit that was magically evil. It was that God told Adam not to eat it. When he did, as the serpent promised, his eyes opened and he came to know evil and its destructive power.
Evil, once indulged in, opens my eyes to its pleasure. Then, there is no going back. When I indulge once, I am much more likely to return. Even though I suffer its destruction, once I surrender to it, it controls me. This is why God commands me not to taste it in the first place. He knows that evil promises pleasure but delivers death.