When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it had a pleasing appearance and that the tree was desirable for making one wise, she took some of its fruit and ate. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her; and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked. -Genesis 3:6-7
Christians commonly refer to this event as The Fall.
They claim that Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit was what caused sin to inhabit their natures.
However, is this logical?
Seriously, think about this people.
If prior to eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, there was no sin in the world and Adam and Eve did not have sin natures, how did Eve have the potential to sin in the first place by eating from the tree?
Well, the Hebrews have a different notion of how man received what Christians call the sin nature.
They believe that when God created Adam and Eve, He created them with both a “good inclination” and an “evil inclination“.
In Hebrew, the “good inclination” is called the Yetser Tov and the “evil inclination” is called the Yetser Harah.
So from the outset, humankind already had the capacity to both sin and do good and was given a free will to choose which inclination to go with when confronted with a moral decision.
We will explore this in much more depth in a later lesson.
However, just know for now that there is a huge difference between how Jews and Christians perceive this event.
For the modern church, this event resulted in humankind’s relationship with God being severed and his very being becoming infected with what Christians call a “sin nature“. Thus, the conclusion reached is that we need a Savior who will restore us to mankind’s “pre-fall” condition.
The Jewish people on the other hand view the fall in a somewhat positive light.
What happened when Adam and Eve ate from the fruit of the tree is that they became liberated in a sense.
They now had the capacity (and responsibility) to make choices.
However, prior to the rebellion, they were like robots, because there was no other choice.
Prior to God’s command that forbade them from eating from the tree, there was only a single pathway laid out by God with no alternative. Kind of like voting in an election where there is only one candidate to choose from.
However, through their act of rebellion, Adam and Eve acquired a kind of freedom and could now choose for themselves whether to love and obey God. Of course God had to give them this choice because forced love is not love at all.
I know this might be a little difficult to comprehend, but understand that because of this fundamental difference in perspectives, for the Jewish people, a savior has not been about having an individual person’s relationship restored with God. Rather, it has always been about making the Hebrews the dominant culture all over the world. Salvation was always seen as national issue. The “Savior” or in Hebrew speak “The Messiah” would be the mightiest warrior-king Israel ever had born from the offspring of King David.
From this perspective, it is easy to see why many Jews did not accept Jesus as the Messiah when he first came to earth.
He just didn’t match their expectations that the messiah would be a great “warrior-king” and He did not establish global peace.
Although believers understand that when Jesus returns, He will come back as a warrior-king, this is important information to have in order to understand the mindset of your Jewish neighbor.