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What if we read this passage without the words "good" and "evil" bearing moral judgments? Let us assume they mean simple duality, opposites. In fact, "good" is used in the same passage to indicate the nature of the fruit of the garden's trees, and it is paired with words that connote "pleasant" and "delightful." "Bad" is a word that has not appeared in the text till now. To know good is to know pleasure, and bad is presented as simply its opposite, like sour or rotten fruit.
In this reading, Eve already had a knowledge of what was good, for she had been eating of the delightful fruits of the Garden of Eden. She had no knowledge of its opposite. She didn't know what could happen in a world of time, where fruit could be unripe or could decay into ugliness. No wonder G-d said, "On the day you eat of it, you will surely die." As Nachmanides and many others observe, this did not mean that they would actually die on that day, but eventually. We could also read it to mean, "you will enter upon the process of death," because time as we know it would begin.
The Tree, then, represents a world. The world of the Garden was a non-dual world, beyond our concept of time. The world of the Tree of Knowledge which was so tempting to ingest was a world of duality and temporality.
Why did Eve choose this world? The serpent enticed her, saying, "Your eyes will be opened and you will be like G-d, knowing good-and-bad (duality)."
But humans can achieve a higher level of knowledge which does not depend on their animal nature. Eve intuitively was seeking this greater level--intuitively, because seeking a higher level is part of human programming. Intuitively also, humans seek that greater and deeper knowledge through moving into all realms of experience, from deep-sea diving to exploration of outer space. She knew that G-d had given a command, but what she did not understand--and could not have understood until she followed the command--is the purpose of observing such an external command. Neither she nor Adam knew that discipline of the natural human urges--in this case, to inquire into all realms of experience--would eventually lead to the higher knowledge she sought.
Thus the Midrash tells us that if only Adam and Eve had waited until the Sabbath, they would have been permitted to eat of the Trees of Knowledge and Life, and the purpose of creation would have been complete. This is an astounding concept: lf humans could follow G-d's commands on an external basis, for no apparent reason, they would develop a special capacity that would enable them to fulfill their potential for higher knowledge. That capacity was the ability to achieve penimiut (inwardness). With this, all experience would be integrated; without it, knowledge would remain external and fragmentary. With it, they could indeed become like-G-d. Without it, they would remain knowledge-seeking humans.
Adam and Eve followed the suggestion of the snake because their creation was not yet complete. The text suggests this by a play on the word for "naked," eirom, which later on is written with a yud and no vav, but here is written with no yud and a vav--in the same form as arum, "cunning." Adam and Eve being "naked" meant that they had access to animal-knowledge but were not yet ready for free choice.
knoweledge = win
Knowledge which helps us advance is much different than knowledge of Good and Evil.
If you knew stealing was evil and you stole,versus, you didn't know stealing was evil. The first, would mean you were aware of your evil action before doing it. It would mean you had time to think it over and, therefore, would be more evil than the latter.
Once you know what you are doing is evil you are responsible for your own actions.
That is why children can't be held accountable for their actions. Because they can't tell apart the good from the evil.
Originally posted by bogomil
that's one way of looking at it. In my opinion rather embellished and with many unexamined absolutes. Selling pre-digested answers without explaining the steps leading there isn't my intention on this thread. So sorry, no sale.