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Was the Forbidden Fruit Really an Apple?

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Have you ever seen a picture or painting of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden?   What about a picture of them in the Garden of Eden when they ate the forbidden fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?  What kind of fruit do these pictures almost always show? 

 I don’t know about you, but most of the pictures of Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit show them eating an apple. 

Are these pictures right?  Was it really an apple they ate? 

Once again, we are going to be like the Bereans and see what the Bible tells us.

First we read in Genesis 2:15-17 where God said:

The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “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, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Next we read in Genesis 3:1-13:

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

If you notice, there is nothing in these verses that says what the fruit was.  There is no mention of an apple, or orange, or peach, or pear, or pineapple or a cherry.  The Bible only identifies that they ate the forbidden fruit, but not what kind of fruit.

So where did the idea of it being an apple come from? 

Several hundred years after Jesus died on the Cross, the Old and New Testaments were translated into a language known as Latin.  That translation is known as the Latin Vulgate.  Today, Latin is considered to be a dead language as no group of people speaks it openly anymore.  However, there are many old books and plays and other writings that were written in Latin, which is why some people still study and learn how to read and write in Latin.

At the time of the Latin Vulgate, the word for evil used in Genesis to describe the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was ‘malum’.  It also happened that the Latin word for apple is ‘malum’.  Ever since the time of the Latin Vulgate, people have considered the forbidden fruit to have been an apple because of the Latin using the same word as for both evil and apple.

Could the Latin be right and the apple was the forbidden fruit?  Since the Bible doesn’t tell us, how can we know? 

Before Adam ate of the fruit, man was immortal and not a sinner.  After Adam willingly ate the forbidden fruit, he became a sinner and mortal, meaning he would now die.  Also in the Garden of Eden with the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was the Tree of Life.  If Adam and Eve were to eat of the Tree of Life, they would again be immortal.  However, God could not allow them to be immortal and sinners, so He expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden and placed cherubim with flaming swords to guard the entrance to the Garden.  They were put there to prevent Adam or any of his children from ever entering the Garden again and eating from the Tree of Life. 

In today’s world, apples are one of the most common fruit trees around.  Does it make any sense that they would have been from the one and only Forbidden Tree? 

Therefore, it only makes sense that whatever the fruit was on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil that it no longer exists in today’s world and we will never know what it really was.


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  • Roland nmn Womack

    God made the earth and said it was good.God made all the animals and sad it was good.then God made woman and their has not been peace sense then.

  • Ronald

    READ your Bible. What do you mean that this tree does not exist today and that we will never know WHAT it was?
    The Bible does tell us, IT was the Tree of Knowledge, and the fruit was knowledge, which MANY are eating today.
    Don’t get stuck on the fact it says, “knowledge of good and evil…” It WAS ‘knowledge’ of GOOD as well as evil.
    The key is that it was knowledge ‘APART from God.’ It was knowledge that would make us like God. As in many areas God speaks in ‘Types’ and in ‘Parables’ so that the Natural mind does not understand, apart from God, the Holy Spirit.
    The same is true today, secular or christian, WE are worshiping at the alter of “Knowledge” rather than trusting GOD to teach us what we need to know!

  • David Nova

    good article, but the last sentence is a non sequitur.

    how do trees get named? in most cases, fruit trees are named for their fruit. apple, orange, peach, chestnut, and many more fruits — with nuts included as fruits — give their names to their trees. there are exceptions, of course, but not enough to disprove the generalization. so i would say it’s quite likely that a knowledge-of-good-and-evil tree bears a fruit called knowledge of good and evil. eating that ‘fruit’ makes it inner knowledge of good and evil, which is the definition of conscience.

    now, why would god forbid humans from eating such a ‘fruit’ and punish them — and their descendants — for doing so? there is an answer to that question as well, but i don’t want to spoil your fun figuring it out for yourselves.

    • Hanna May Siaotong

      who’s the author of this article?

  • bobbysworld

    The forbidden fruit is merely a metaphor. it means sex.

  • Paul Jaramillo

    The fruit in the garden has a deeper spiritual meaning to it, than far too many people want to admit. You have no idea how the stupid idea, that the fruit in the garden, was an apple, just gets me irritated. You would understand these bible verses better if the Christian world had not fallen into replacement theology, where they say that God had turned his back on the Jewish people.

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