Jan Brueghel de Oude en Peter Paul Rubens - Het aards paradijs met de zondeval van Adam en Eva

Depiction of the original sin by Pieter Paul Rubens

Forbidden fruit is a phrase that originates from Genesis concerning Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:16–17. In the narrative, the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was eaten by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. As a metaphor, the phrase typically refers to any indulgence or pleasure that is considered illegal or immoral.

Identifying the fruit

Potential forbidden fruits of the Garden of Eden include the apple, pomegranate,[1] the fig,[2] the carob,[1] the etrog or citron,[1] the pear, the quince and, more recently, the datura.[3] The pseudepigraphic Book of Enoch describes the tree of knowledge: "It was like a species of the Tamarind tree, bearing fruit which resembled grapes extremely fine; and its fragrance extended to a considerable distance. I exclaimed, How beautiful is this tree, and how delightful is its appearance!" (1 Enoch 31:4).

One alternative view is that the forbidden fruit is not a fruit at all, but a metaphorical one, possibly the fruit of the womb, i.e. sex and procreation from the tree of life. (Or possibly fire)


In Western Europe, the fruit was often depicted as an apple, possibly because of a misunderstanding of, or a pun on mălum, a native Latin noun which means evil (from the adjective malus), and mālum, another Latin noun, borrowed from Greek μῆλον, which means apple.[4] In the Vulgate, Genesis 2:17 describes the tree as de ligno autem scientiae boni et mali: "but of the tree (lit. wood) of knowledge of good and evil" (mali here is the genitive of malum). The larynx in the human throat, noticeably more prominent in males, was consequently called an Adam's apple, from a notion that it was caused by the forbidden fruit sticking from Adam's throat as he swallowed.


Rabbi Meir says that the fruit was a grape, made into wine.[5] The Zohar explains similarly that Noah attempted (but failed) to rectify the sin of Adam by using grape wine for holy purposes.[6][7] The midrash of Bereishis Rabah states that the fruit was grape,[8] or squeezed grapes (perhaps alluding to wine).[9]


Rabbi Nechemia says that the fruit was a fig, as it was from fig leaves that God made garments for Adam and Eve upon expelling them from the Garden. "By that with which they were made low were they rectified."[10] But the Bible says that it was Adam and Eve who had made their own fig leaf clothing: "And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons." (Genesis 3:7)

Since the fig is a long-standing symbol of female sexuality, it enjoyed a run as a favorite understudy to the apple as the forbidden fruit during the Italian Renaissance. The most famous depiction of the fig as the forbidden fruit was painted by Michelangelo Buonarroti in his masterpiece fresco on the Sistine Chapel ceiling.[3]


Proponents of the theory that the Garden of Eden was located somewhere in what is now known as the Middle East suggest that the fruit was actually a pomegranate, partly because it was native in the region.[11] This ties in with the Greek myth of Persephone, where her consumption of four pomegranate seeds leads to her having to spend time in Hades. Most importantly, Pomegranates were embroidered on the helm of the high priest's robe. see Exodus 28:33, 39:24-25.


Rabbi Yehuda proposes that the fruit was wheat, because "a baby does not know to call its mother and father until it tastes the taste of grain."[10]

In Hebrew, wheat is "khitah", which has been considered to be a pun on "khet", meaning "sin".[1]


A fresco in the 13th-century Plaincourault Abbey in France depicts Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, flanking a Tree of Knowledge that has the appearance of a gigantic Amanita muscaria, a psychoactive mushroom.[12] Writer/philosopher Terence McKenna in the entheogen theory proposed that the fruit of knowledge was a reference to psychotropic plants and fungus, which played a central role, he theorized, in human intellectual evolution. Earlier, in a well-documented and heavily-criticized[13][14] study, John M. Allegro proposed the mushroom as the forbidden fruit.[15] In 2009, author Jan Irvin provided a thorough historical analysis and reevaluation of some of Allegro's critics,[16] and argues that current scholarship vindicates Allegro's discovery.[17]


Genesis[18] 1:29 states: And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.[19] Further,Genesis 1:30 states: And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. "Meat" as defined by [20] is: the edible part of anything, as a fruit or nut.

In the Book of Enoch [21] chapt. 1, verse 69: "And the third was named Gadreeel: he it is that showed the children of men all the blows of death, and he led astray Eve, and showed [the weapons of death to the sons of men], the shield and the coat of mail, and the sword for battle, and all the weapons of death to the children of men. And from his hand they have proceeded against those who dwell on the earth from that day and for evermore." Therefore, the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was flesh and the methods to acquire it.

Islamic tradition

According to the Quran, Surah Al-A'raf 7:19 describes Adam and his wife in Paradise where they may eat what is provided, except that they may not eat from one particular tree, should they be considered Zalimun.[22] Surah Ibrahim #.14:26 describes the forbidden tree as an evil tree that is forbidden for guidance.[23]

Surah Al-A'raf 7:22 describes the ˈibliːs who misled them with deception, and then it was Adam who initiated eating from the forbidden tree. Then when they tasted of the tree, that which was hidden from them of their shame became manifest to them and they began to cover themselves with the leaves of Paradise. And their Lord called out to them: "Did I not forbid you that tree and tell you: Verily, Shaitân is an open enemy unto you?" (Qur'an 7:19). The Quran holds both Adam and his wife accountable for eating the forbidden fruit. As punishment, they were both banished from Heaven and sent to the Earth where they were forgiven after repenting.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Forbidden fruit

The Pearl of Great Price has an account of the creation of the earth and the fruit-bearing trees placed in the Garden of Eden by the Lord:

And I, the Lord God, planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there I put the man whom I had formed (Moses 3:8).
...even all things which I prepared for the use of man; and man saw that it was good for food. And I, the Lord God, planted the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and also the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Moses 3:9).
And I, the Lord God, took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden, to dress it, and to keep it.
And I, the Lord God, commanded the man, saying: Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat,
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee; but, remember that I forbid it, for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Moses 3:15-17).

The fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was the "forbidden fruit." By placing it in the garden, the Lord created for Adam and Eve, opposing choices with consequences attached.

And to bring about his eternal purposes in the end of man, after he had created our first parents, and the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and in fine, all things which are created, it must needs be that there was an opposition; even the forbidden fruit in opposition to the tree of life; the one being sweet and the other bitter (2 Nephi 2:15).
For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, ...righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad (2 Nephi 2:11).

Without offered opposites, Adam and Eve could not make choices, and the order of God is to guarantee free agency to man. "A major purpose of earth life is for God’s children to prove “if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them” (Abraham 3:25). In order to prove their willingness to do all things God would command them, it was necessary that Satan be allowed to tempt man or to provide the necessary opposition to God so that choice would be possible. A knowledge of good and evil is gained only in a world of opposites, where wickedness opposes righteousness; good, bad; corruption, incorruption; happiness, misery; bitter, sweet (2 Nephi 2:11–12). Because Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, their eyes were opened to a world of opposites. The Lord himself declared, “Behold, the man is become as one of us to know good and evil” (Moses 4:28) (Lesson 6: The Fall of Adam,” Aaronic Priesthood Manual 3, 19).

The doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds that there was no "original sin" which taints all men born on this earth. Adam and Eve transgressed a commandment of God, but they did not commit sin. They fulfilled a requirement of the Plan of Salvation. By leaving the Garden of Eden, they were able to fulfill another of God's commandments, the commandment to procreate, which they could not do in their paradisaical state in the Garden of Eden. They also brought physical death into the world, which paved the way for resurrection and the possibility of Eternal life. The atonement of Christ overcame both physical death and spiritual separation from God. Thus, the Fall was an integral part of God's plan of love for mankind.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 The Straight Dope: Was the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden an apple?
  2. The Fig: its History, Culture, and Curing, Gustavus A. Eisen, Washington, Govt. print. off., 1901
  3. 3.0 3.1 High Art: Were Botticelli's Venus And Mars Stoned? : NPR
  4. Was the Forbidden Fruit Really an Apple? – Creation Revolution
  5. Berachos 40a; Sanhedrin 70a.
  6. Zohar Noah 73a
  7. The Zohar: The First Ever Unabridged English Translation, with Commentary; Rabbi Michael Berg, ed., Vol. 2, pp.388-390
  8. Bereishis Rabah 15:7
  9. Bereishis Rabah 19:5
  10. 10.0 10.1 Berachos 40a; Sanhedrin 70a
  11. "Purdue New Crops Profile". 
  12. William Dudley Gray (1973). The Use of Fungi as Food and in Food Processing, Part 2. CRC Press. p. 182. ISBN 0-8493-0118-1. 
  13. "John Allegro, 65; Aided Deciphering of Dead Sea Scrolls", obit., NY Times
  14. John Marco Allegro: The Maverick of the Dead Sea Scrolls, by Judith Anne Brown, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (1 March 2005), ISBN 978-0-8028-6333-1, pp. xii-xiii
  15. Allegro, John M. (1970). The Sacred Mushroom and The Cross: A study of the nature and origins of Christianity within the fertility cults of the ancient Near East. Garden City, New York: Doubleday. , re-released in a new edition by Gnostic Media Research & Publishing in 2009
  16. Irvin, Jan (2009). "The Holy Mushroom: Evidence of Mushrooms in Judeo-Christianity: A critical re-evaluation of the schism between John M. Allegro and John R. Gordon Wasson over the theory on the entheogenic origins of Christianity presented in The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross." Gnostic Media Research and Publishing
  17. Ruck, Carl "Academic Endorsements for the Holy Mushroom"
  22. Qur'an 7:19: "And O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in Paradise, and eat thereof as you both wish, but approach not this tree otherwise you both will be of the Zâlimûn (unjust and wrong-doers)."
  23. Qur'an 14:26: "And the simlitude/parable (مۡثَالَ )of an evil word is that of an evil tree uprooted from the surface of earth having no stability."

Template:Characters and names in the Quran

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Forbidden fruit. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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