Monday, March 23, 2009

Free Choice and the Tree of Knowledge

Leon Kass makes an interesting comment on the prohibition (in Genesis 3) of eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad:

Every act of uninstructed free choice, the text seems to intimate, is an implicitly prideful act, presupposing as it does the possession of knowledge of what is good for a human being. Every act of choice implicitly expresses a judgment of good and bad, better and worse. Every act of choice presupposes that the human agent knows - or thinks he knows - what is good for him (or someone else), on which basis he chooses accordingly. On this interpretation of the text, the fact that God wants to keep man from the tree of knowledge of good and bad suggests that He wants man to remain an innocent, contented and unself-divided being who follows instinctively the path to his natural good. Or better, reading morally rather than historically, through God's command about the tree the text teaches the reader that it is his own freedom - and its implicitly yet necessarily disobedient character - that is the cause of all human troubles.

1 comment:

redwillum said...

Citation? I'd like to know what page number that's from if possible. Thanks :]