Did God Tempt Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden?

Kids say the darndest things. And they often ask the best questions. Particularly when it comes to aspects of our faith, children can probe deeper into things we often take for granted.

That was the case recently, when a 10-year-old named Sienna called in to The Patrick Madrid Show. Sienna had questions about the Garden of Eden, specifically why God put the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden. Did He put it there to tempt them? To test them? Or to trick them? If God knew they would disobey Him, why put it there at all?

Patrick responded, “Well, I look at it like this. Even before the Garden of Eden, even before Adam and Eve, God tested the angels. And we don’t know exactly what the test was, but we think it must have been something like where God showed all the angels (and they were all good at that point) that Adam and Eve would be created, there would be a Fall of Adam and Eve, they would eat the apple, and eventually Jesus would come to save us. So He would become God and man.”

“And some of the angels rebelled against that, because in their pride, they couldn’t accept the idea that God would save them by becoming a creature lower than angels, in terms of the order of Creation. So if that’s what happened, those angels who rebelled against God didn’t pass the test, and they became the devil and his angels.”

Drawing on this example of a potential way the angels were given a choice between obedience and disobedience, Patrick explained, “So in a similar way to that, God also gave a test to Adam and Eve. By putting the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the middle of the Garden, it wasn’t that God was trying to tempt them. But this was the means by which they would pass their test or fail it.”

While Adam and Eve were tempted in the Garden, it wasn’t by God. Genesis tells us that the devil tempted them, but despite any tests or temptations, the choice ultimately lay with Adam and Eve. However, despite their Fall, thanks to the mercy of God we can say, “O happy fault! That earned for us so great, so glorious a Redeemer!”

“God permitted these things to happen for the testing of Adam and Eve, and they failed the test,” Patrick said. “So it’s not as though God was trying to make them fail, but He gave them this opportunity to pass or fail, and they failed. So then His Plan B, you might say, is that He would come to us as Jesus in the Incarnation to save us from what happened with Adam and Eve.”

Listen to the full conversation with Sienna below:

The Patrick Madrid Show weekdays from 9:00 -noon Eastern/6:00 – 9:00 a.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio and the Relevant Radio App.

Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at relevantradio.com and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.