The History of the “Forbidden” Fruit (2022)

  • The Plate

ByRebecca Rupp

(Video) Is the Apple the Forbidden Fruit: History in a Minute (Episode 61)

Published July 22, 2014

9 min read

No fruit pops up so frequently in Western art, literature, and everyday speech as the apple.

An apple (cunningly labeled “to the fairest”) started the Trojan War. (Odysseus, later struggling to get home from it, yearns for the garden he had as a child, populated by apple trees.) The Norse gods owed their immortality to apples. The Arabian Nights features a magic apple from Samarkand capable of curing all human diseases—predating the belief that an apple a day will keep the doctor away, a proverb that first appeared in print in 1866. Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Christina Rossetti, and Dylan Thomas all wrote poems about apples; and everyone from Caravaggio to Magritte painted them.

(Video) What Was The Forbidden Fruit? The Story Doesn't Make Sense Until NOW ADAM AND EVE

One place where the ubiquitous apple does not appear is in the Old Testament’s Book of Genesis. The original story of Adam, Eve, the snake, and the forbidden Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil mentions only an unspecified “fruit,” thus opening up centuries of debate over what the hapless First Couple actually ate. Various suggestions include everything from figs, grapes, and citrons to olives, apricots, bananas, pomegranates, and grapefruit. (Similar disagreements rage over probable locations of the Garden of Eden, which range from Turkey to Ohio, Mongolia, and the North Pole.)

The apple as Forbidden Fruit seems to have appeared in western Europe at least by the 12thcentury. Some researchers suggest that the apple got a bad rap from an unfortunate pun: the Latin malus means both “apple” and “evil,” which may have given early Christians ideas. A 1504 engraving by Albrecht Durer shows Adam and Eve with apples; and 16th-century paintings by Lucas Cranach and Titian show Adam and Eve under particularly tempting apple trees. Though Michelangelo’s Temptation and Fall on the Sistine Ceiling features forbidden figs, apples, increasingly, were held responsible for the Fall. By the 17thcentury, when Milton wrote Paradise Lost, the forbidden fruit was an Apple with a capital A.

Apples: Sour Enough to ‘Make a Jay Scream’

Apples, taxonomically, are members of Rosaceae, the Rose family, along with such other yummy edibles as pears, plums, peaches, cherries, strawberries, and raspberries. DNA analysis indicates that apples originated in the mountains of Kazakhstan, where the wild Malus sieversii—the many-times great-grandparent of Malus domestica, the modern domesticated apple—still flourishes.

There’s a lot to be said for domestication. Though Henry David Thoreau insisted that he much preferred the wild apple (“of spirited flavor”) to the civilized versions found in Massachusetts orchards, even he admitted that the occasional spirited bite was “sour enough to set a squirrel’s teeth on edge and make a jay scream.” The truth is that wild apples – grown from seeds—are generally pretty awful.

Apples are a victim of their own genetic creativity, a characteristic known to botanists as extreme heterozygosity. This ensures that an apple grown from seed won’t be anything like its parents. This is great for evolution, producing thousands of diverse apple varieties, adapted to every environment from North Dakota to New Zealand. For apple growers, though, intent on preserving selected favorites, the apple’s slippery genome is frustrating. In apples, the only guarantee of reproducibility is grafting, which is how our modern eating apples are propagated.

(Video) Story of Adam & The Forbidden Fruit (Revisited) | Mufti Abu Layth

Johnny Appleseed, Spreading Booze Throughout America

But not by Johnny Appleseed. John Chapman of Leominster, Massachusetts—a.k.a. the apple-toting, tin-pot-hatted folk hero—condemned grafting as wicked, insisting that the only road to a good apple was seeds. Chapman collected seeds by the bushel from Pennsylvania cider mills and ferried them west, where he established apple nurseries in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, and distributed wildly random seedlings to settlers far and wide. The mouth-puckering results almost certainly went primarily into cider and applejack. These weren’t great eating apples. What Johnny Appleseed was disseminating was booze. Eventually this backfired, as temperance activists fingered the apple as a source of alcoholic sin and demanded that the morally upright burn their apple trees.

Recently the apple as forbidden fruit has been back in the news. Joe Davis, bio-artist attached to geneticist George Church’s lab at Harvard Medical School, is preparing to create an apple tree that is—literally—a Tree of Knowledge. Davis’s project aims to incorporate Wikipedia into the apple genome. For this purpose, he plans to use the world’s oldest known apple, a 4000-year-old variety of M. sieversii.

This isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds. Church and a number of other researchers have proposed that DNA may be the data storage venue of the future. A single droplet of DNA is capable of storing 700 terabytes of data – that’s the equivalent of 14,000 50-gigabyte Blu-Ray discs—and it’s impressively stable. Unlike magnetic tape that needs to be replaced every five years or so, DNA can survive for thousands. The trick is to convert data into binary code based on A, G, C, and T – the four nucleotide bases that make up DNA – and use the result as a blueprint to synthesize a DNA sequence. Davis plans to insert his Wikipedia-coded DNA into a bacterium capable of transferring its genome into an apple cell. This won’t change the taste, smell, or appearance of the apple, but each treated fruit will carry, hidden among its genes, a chunk of extra info—say, the Wikipedia entry on apple trees, snakes, Genesis, or applesauce.

Apples: The Fruit of Knowledge

All of Wikipedia can’t fit into one handy apple. Each tiny bacterial carrier can only cope with a few thousand words—which means the whole of Wikipedia, some two and a half billion words long, may require an entire forest of apple trees. (One critic guesses 666,000 trees.) And eating such an apple, sadly, won’t make any of us more knowledgeable. Retrieving the info from apple DNA will require a DNA sequencer and some decoding software. On the other hand, this may be just as well. Most M. sieversii varieties are what apple growers refer to as “spitters”—because the common response to the first mouthful is to spit it out, fast.

The 50-acre orchard at USDA’s Plant Genetics Resources Unit in Geneva, New York, has what may be the world’s largest collection of apple trees—some 2500 different varieties from all over the world. Among the latest additions are varieties of M. sieversii, the apple’s ancient ancestor from Asia, laden with beneficial genes not found in our modern and monotonous apple crop. Whereas a century ago, Americans grew thousands of varieties of apples, nowadays we’re down to just a handful, among them McIntosh, Jonathan, and Red Delicious—which last, a lot of people argue, may be red, but it isn’t exactly delicious. Genetic uniformity in crops seldom pays off, and the American apple—attacked by pests on all sides—now needs a battery of chemicals in order to survive. Ancestral genes may give our apples the resistance and versatility they need—to say nothing of a new battery of flavors, colors, and shapes that we’ve forgotten apples ever had.

(Video) What was the Forbidden Fruit? | BIBLE THEORY

When it comes to information, M. sieversii doesn’t need Wikipedia.

Luckily for us, it already has plenty.

This story is part ofNational Geographic’s special eight-monthFuture of Foodseries.

References

FAQs

What is the history of the forbidden fruit? ›

Forbidden fruit is a name given to the fruit growing in the Garden of Eden which God commands mankind not to eat. In the biblical story, Adam and Eve eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and are exiled from Eden.

What is the forbidden fruit saying? ›

forbidden fruit is the sweetest.

What was the forbidden fruit a metaphor for? ›

The term “forbidden fruit” is a metaphor for anything that is desired but not moral, legal or permissible to indulge in.

Did God tell you not to eat the forbidden fruit? ›

The serpent said, “Did God actually say 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden? '” The woman answered, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.

Who ate the forbidden fruit first in the Bible? ›

Eve picked the forbidden fruit and ate it. Adam was with her and he ate it, too. Their eyes were opened and their innocence, lost. They ran from God and His presence soon after, and were expelled from the garden, paradise lost.

Is the Adam and Eve story a metaphor? ›

The doctrine was based on Pauline Scripture but has not been accepted by a number of Christian sects and interpreters, especially among those Christians who consider the story of Adam and Eve less a fact and more a metaphor of the relation of God and man.

What does fruit represent in the Bible? ›

The Fruit of the Holy Spirit is a biblical term that sums up nine attributes of a person or community living in accord with the Holy Spirit, according to chapter 5 of the Epistle to the Galatians: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. ...

What does the fruit symbolize in Genesis? ›

Therefore, the “fruit” (and its consumption) is identified with the original sin. It is believed that the original sin lies in the fact that man closes in on himself instead of opening himself to the actions of God. In other words, it is the sin of pride.

What does the apple symbolize in the Bible? ›

In the Old Testament, the apple was significant of the fall of man; in the New Testament, it is an emblem of the redemption from that fall. The apple is represented in pictures of the Madonna and Infant Jesus as another sign of that redemption.

What language did Adam & Eve speak? ›

The Adamic language, according to Jewish tradition (as recorded in the midrashim) and some Christians, is the language spoken by Adam (and possibly Eve) in the Garden of Eden.

What were the consequences of eating the forbidden fruit? ›

For succumbing to temptation and eating the fruit of the forbidden tree of knowledge of good and evil, God banished them from Eden, and they and their descendants were forced to live lives of hardship. Cain and Abel were their children.

Was Adam and Eve married? ›

Several thousand years have passed since Adam and Eve became man and wife, but God hasn't changed what he first instructed mankind regarding marriage in the Bible.

What tree did God say not to eat from? ›

Narrative. Genesis 2 narrates that God places the man in a garden with trees of whose fruits he may eat, but forbids him to eat from "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." God formed woman after this command was given.

What was God's punishment to Adam? ›

Man and woman both eat the forbidden fruit, and neither die. The serpent was right. Thus, God banishes Adam and Eve from the garden as punishment for defying his command, and places angels bearing flaming swords at Eden's gates to ensure that neither man nor woman could ever return. I lost my faith in God.

Does the Garden of Eden still exist? ›

Does the Garden of Eden still exist? If the Garden of Eden still exists, no one knows where. The Bible says a river ran from Eden and separated into four rivers: Pishon, Gihon, Tigris, and Euphrates.

What was the first sin called? ›

Adam and Eve transmitted to their descendants human nature wounded by their own first sin and hence deprived of original holiness and justice; this deprivation is called "original sin".

Who created God? ›

We ask, "If all things have a creator, then who created God?" Actually, only created things have a creator, so it's improper to lump God with his creation. God has revealed himself to us in the Bible as having always existed. Atheists counter that there is no reason to assume the universe was created.

What is Jesus real birthday? ›

The common Christian traditional dating of the birthdate of Jesus was 25 December, a date first asserted officially by Pope Julius I in 350 AD, although this claim is dubious or otherwise unfounded.

Who was Eve to God? ›

According to the second chapter of Genesis, Eve was created by God (Yahweh) by taking her from the rib of Adam, to be Adam's companion.
...
Eve
SpouseAdam
ChildrenAwan (daughter) Cain (son) Azura (daughter) Abel (son) Seth (son) Aclima (daughter)
ParentGod (Creator/Father)
1 more row

Is Adam and Eve a true story? ›

No, it is not true. Scientists can trace our maternal and paternal lines back to a woman and man who lived a long time ago, but they are not the Biblical Adam and Eve.

How many years was it from Adam to Jesus? ›

So 69 weeks amount to 483 years; for, from the said year of Darius, unto the 42nd year of Augustus, in which year our Saviour Christ was born, are just and complete so many years, whereupon we reckon, that from Adam unto Christ, are 3974 years, six months, and ten days; and from the birth of Christ, unto this present ...

Why does God want us to bear fruit? ›

So you see, according to Jesus, God wants us to bear fruit. And the fruit he wants is the fruit of Christian character, Christian conduct, and Christian converts. You see, none of us are connected to Christ by birth or by nature.

Why is the fruit of the Spirit important? ›

When we act out of true goodness of the heart and reflect the fruit of the Spirit, we are obedient to God's commandments and seek the benefit of others. Our actions come from a place of selflessness, and we place the needs of others before our own.

Why is it called the fruit of the Spirit and not fruits? ›

The word “fruit” refers to the product or result from something. It is what comes from a tree or plant, like an apple comes from an apple tree. In Paul's case though it is what comes from a person. So when Paul talks about “the fruit of the Spirit” he is referring to fruit that comes from the Spirit of God.

Did God know we would sin? ›

Yes, God knew Adam and Eve would sin before he created them. Isaiah quoted a statement from the Lord to show us: “I am God, and there is none like me.

When did the forbidden fruit become an apple? ›

The apple as Forbidden Fruit seems to have appeared in western Europe at least by the 12th century. Some researchers suggest that the apple got a bad rap from an unfortunate pun: the Latin malus means both “apple” and “evil,” which may have given early Christians ideas.

Did Adam and Eve go to Heaven Bible? ›

God is the One who decides who does or does not enter heaven. There's no place in the Bible that says they were saved. But there is no place in the Bible that indicates the couple was lost, either.

Do fruits have meanings? ›

Fruits are often a symbol of abundance associated with the goddesses of fertility , plenty and the harvest. Fruit represents earthly pleasures,overindulgence and temptation. Specific kinds of fruit have acquired their own symbolic meanings in the myths and legends of different cultures .

What does apple mean in Hebrew? ›

The modern Hebrew word for apple, "tapuach," on the other hand, does not appear anywhere in Genesis or in the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, Zivotofsky said. (It does appear in other, later biblical texts.) In biblical times, "tapuach," was a word for generic fruit.

What is the tree of life in Bible? ›

According to Jewish mythology, in the Garden of Eden there is a tree of life or the "tree of souls" that blossoms and produces new souls, which fall into the Guf, the Treasury of Souls. The Angel Gabriel reaches into the treasury and takes out the first soul that comes into his hand.

What is God's language? ›

Indic traditions. In Vedic religion, "speech" Vāc, i.e. the language of liturgy, now known as Vedic Sanskrit, is considered the language of the gods.

Who is first man in the world? ›

ADAM (1) ADAM1 was the first man. There are two stories of his creation. The first tells that God created man in his image, male and female together (Genesis 1: 27), and Adam is not named in this version.

What was the first language on earth? ›

Dating back to at least 3500 BC, the oldest proof of written Sumerian was found in today's Iraq, on an artifact known as the Kish Tablet. Thus, given this evidence, Sumerian can also be considered the first language in the world.

What was God's punishment to the serpent? ›

The serpent is punished for its role in the Fall, being cursed by God to crawl on its belly and eat dust. There is a debate about whether the serpent in Eden should be viewed figuratively or as a literal animal.

What was the first sin committed in the Bible? ›

Traditionally, the origin has been ascribed to the sin of the first man, Adam, who disobeyed God in eating the forbidden fruit (of knowledge of good and evil) and, in consequence, transmitted his sin and guilt by heredity to his descendants. The doctrine has its basis in the Bible.

Where is Garden of Eden located today? ›

The location of Eden is described in the Book of Genesis as the source of four tributaries. Various suggestions have been made for its location: at the head of the Persian Gulf, in southern Mesopotamia (now Iraq) where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers run into the sea; and in Armenia.

Who did God marry? ›

God had a wife, Asherah, whom the Book of Kings suggests was worshiped alongside Yahweh in his temple in Israel, according to an Oxford scholar. God had a wife, Asherah, whom the Book of Kings suggests was worshipped alongside Yahweh in his temple in Israel, according to an Oxford scholar.

When was the first marriage? ›

It is widely agreed that the origin of marriage dates well before recorded history, but the earliest recorded evidence of marriage ceremonies uniting one woman and one man dates from about 2350 B.C. in the Far East.

Did God create marriage? ›

The Genesis creation account tells the story of when God instituted marriage. This took place after the creation of the first woman, Eve, from Adam, the first man. The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."

Does the Garden of Eden still exist? ›

Does the Garden of Eden still exist? If the Garden of Eden still exists, no one knows where. The Bible says a river ran from Eden and separated into four rivers: Pishon, Gihon, Tigris, and Euphrates.

What does the fruit symbolize in Genesis? ›

Therefore, the “fruit” (and its consumption) is identified with the original sin. It is believed that the original sin lies in the fact that man closes in on himself instead of opening himself to the actions of God. In other words, it is the sin of pride.

What does the apple symbolize in the Bible? ›

In the Old Testament, the apple was significant of the fall of man; in the New Testament, it is an emblem of the redemption from that fall. The apple is represented in pictures of the Madonna and Infant Jesus as another sign of that redemption.

What tree was forbidden in the Garden of Eden? ›

Genesis 2 narrates that God places the man in a garden with trees of whose fruits he may eat, but forbids him to eat from "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." God formed woman after this command was given.

Did Adam and Eve speak a language? ›

The Adamic language, according to Jewish tradition (as recorded in the midrashim) and some Christians, is the language spoken by Adam (and possibly Eve) in the Garden of Eden.

Where is Eden located today? ›

The location of Eden is described in the Book of Genesis as the source of four tributaries. Various suggestions have been made for its location: at the head of the Persian Gulf, in southern Mesopotamia (now Iraq) where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers run into the sea; and in Armenia.

Did Adam and Eve go to Heaven Bible? ›

God is the One who decides who does or does not enter heaven. There's no place in the Bible that says they were saved. But there is no place in the Bible that indicates the couple was lost, either.

What does fruit mean biblically? ›

The Fruit of the Holy Spirit is a biblical term that sums up nine attributes of a person or community living in accord with the Holy Spirit, according to chapter 5 of the Epistle to the Galatians: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. ...

Did God know we would sin? ›

Yes, God knew Adam and Eve would sin before he created them. Isaiah quoted a statement from the Lord to show us: “I am God, and there is none like me.

What were the consequences of eating the forbidden fruit? ›

For succumbing to temptation and eating the fruit of the forbidden tree of knowledge of good and evil, God banished them from Eden, and they and their descendants were forced to live lives of hardship. Cain and Abel were their children.

Do fruits have meanings? ›

Fruits are often a symbol of abundance associated with the goddesses of fertility , plenty and the harvest. Fruit represents earthly pleasures,overindulgence and temptation. Specific kinds of fruit have acquired their own symbolic meanings in the myths and legends of different cultures .

What does apple mean in Hebrew? ›

The modern Hebrew word for apple, "tapuach," on the other hand, does not appear anywhere in Genesis or in the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, Zivotofsky said. (It does appear in other, later biblical texts.) In biblical times, "tapuach," was a word for generic fruit.

What is the tree of life in Bible? ›

According to Jewish mythology, in the Garden of Eden there is a tree of life or the "tree of souls" that blossoms and produces new souls, which fall into the Guf, the Treasury of Souls. The Angel Gabriel reaches into the treasury and takes out the first soul that comes into his hand.

What are the two trees in the Bible? ›

In the garden He also put two specific trees–the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:9).

Where is the real Garden of Eden? ›

A study provides a window into the first 100,000 years of the history of modern humans. The real Garden Of Eden has been traced to the African nation of Botswana, according to a major study of DNA. Scientists believe our ancestral homeland is south of the Zambezi River in the country's north.

When did the forbidden fruit become an apple? ›

The apple as Forbidden Fruit seems to have appeared in western Europe at least by the 12th century. Some researchers suggest that the apple got a bad rap from an unfortunate pun: the Latin malus means both “apple” and “evil,” which may have given early Christians ideas.

Videos

1. Our TRUE Ancient History.. IS the Forbidden Fruit! - 1891 ART of Gustave Dore to Awaken the Spirit!
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2. Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (The Forbidden Fruit) Bible Stories - See U in History
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3. Dr. Ray Hagins- What Is The Forbidden Fruit?
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4. Reading Between the Lines 15 - Forbidden Fruit
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