I have planted you a garden. All kinds of trees will grow out of the ground. Trees that are pleasing to the eye and good for food. You will take care of this garden. Trust in what I will give you. It is mine to know good and evil. Do not eat of that tree or you will surely die.
Did God really say, “You must not know good and evil?” Why would that be bad for you? Surely if you know good you can do good. And when you see evil you can call it by its name. You will not die, you will judge, just as God does. It is yours to judge.
But God’s judgment is not the judgment of Adam.
Adam’s first judgment was of himself. Adam felt shame in the body that God had lifted from the dust of the ground, whose nostrils had taken in the breath of God. Adam saw what had been made and he did not know it was good. The serpent had lied. He was not like God. His judgment was a trespass.
But the gift is not like the trespass. The trespass of our judgment, of ourselves and of others, can only bring condemnation. If you eat of that tree you will surely die. God’s judgment was delivered in one person. It is the gift of abundant life that is our own and yet also from God’s breath, of righteousness that belongs to each of us and yet comes to us from another’s death, of justification that can neither be deserved nor claimed but only received. God’s judgment is a gift not a trespass. It is the gift of grace.