Q&A: Can Christians eat apples?

Can Christians eat apples?

Question

My friend told me that I could not eat apples because this is what Adam ate when he first sinned against God. Is this right? This sounds like superstition!

Answer

Apples appear in many religious traditions as the forbidden fruit. The book of Genesis, however, does not actually describe the forbidden fruit (Gen. 2:16-17; 3:1-6). According to Wikipedia, the Latin terms for apple and evil are similar in the singular (malus for apple and malum for evil) and identical in the plural (mala). But remember that Latin was created after the Adam and Eve events. Nonetheless, a tradition exists even though there is no biblical or secular evidence that an apple was the original fruit not to be eaten by Adam. And even if we assume it was an apple, this does not mean we cannot now eat apples.

First, and foremost, when God made the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, he pronounced that it was "very good" Gen. 1:31). There was nothing wrong with the tree or its fruit. Its mere existence was not sin in or of itself; God is not the author of sin (Jam. 1:13 ff, etc.). The sin was in Adam's disobeying God's command and not in the fruit itself.

Second, God did not curse the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil or the fruit from it. But he did curse the ground that Adam worked (Gen. 3:17).

Third, even if the fruit on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was an apple, there is no evidence that it was the only apple tree in existence, and thus, not all apple trees could be considered evil. Also, after God drove mankind out of the Garden, he placed a cherubim with a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the Tree of Life (Gen. 1:24). I believe we may safely assume that no one has ever eaten again from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Fourth, the term apple is used in a positive sense several times in Scripture (Deut 32:10; Psa. 17:8; Prov. 7:2; 25:11; Song of Songs 2:3, 5; 7:8; 8:5), making its use questionable if the apple was supposed to symbolize that which was only evil - sin, the fall of man, or original sin!

Lastly, several places in Scripture tell us that we may eat all types of food (Matt. 15:11; Acts 10:15; 1 Cor. 10:25; 1 Tim. 4:3-4; Tit. 1:15). Paul states that all food is clean in Romans 14:20. There is nothing wrong with the apple.

Now, just in case one is concerned about Apple computers, according to Wired News: Apple Doin' the Logo-Motion, Apple's first logo was designed by Jobs and Wayne to depict Sir Isaac Newton, later replaced by Rob Janoff's rainbow-colored silhouette, and the apple has a "bite" taken out of it. It was all about a tribute to Isaac Newton's discoveries of the apple's gravity as well as the separation of light by prisms into colors. Moreover, Apple's first slogan was "Byte into an Apple" (not "bite"). So, don't be too hard on those Apple users! One day one may just tell you that it was the PC that took a "byte" out of the Apple market, but the majority of Apple's share in the market is still intact. In a similar sense, sin took a bite out of God's original creation, but God's original plan is still intact. The first Adam's sinful bite was a step in the last Adam's foreordained redemptive fight.

Acts 2:22-24 Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.
Please feel free to bite into an apple in any form. They will not always keep the doctor away, but they sure are good.

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).