The “Tree of Knowledge” was not a positive symbol for all gnostics but instead underwent numerous revisionist interpretations, sometimes several times within the same text; according to one passage in the Gospel of Philip, the “fall” occurred when Adam’s consciousness was turned against itself in a double-bind, crippling his ability to exercise his free will:
“God planted a Garden. Man was put into the Garden. There were many trees there for him, and man lived in this place with the blessing and in the image of God. The things which are in it I will eat as I wish. This garden is the place where they will say to me, “O man, eat this or do not eat that, just as you wish.” This is the place where I will eat all things, since the Tree of Knowledge is there. That one killed Adam, but here the Tree of Knowledge made men alive.
The law was the tree. It has power to give the knowledge of good and evil. It neither removed him from evil, nor did it set him in the good, but it created death for those who ate of it. For when he said, “Eat this, do not eat that,” it became the beginning of death.”1
- ”The Gospel of Philip.” The Other Bible. Ed. Willis Barnstone. Harper San Francisco, 1984. 96. [↩]