Choice and Consequences

Stuart Fickler, Ph.D.

The events of The Tree of Knowledge led to humanity acquiring self-awareness 1 and, as a result, freedom of choice. However, the text makes it abundantly clear that free choice does not determine the consequences of that choice 2. The consequences are determined by the laws of God's creation.

Maimonides tells us that the perfection of humanity is in the acquisition of knowledge of God. 3 Further, we can only obtain knowledge of God through God's works. 4 How, then, can we know God's works?

We can only achieve this by testing ourselves within God's creation beyond the protected comforts of Eden 5. As a society, we must observe how we act in the reality of God's creation and the resulting consequences. If we assess those consequences honestly and objectively, we will determine if our actions are in harmony with God's Cosmic Laws. We can look at the state of our society today and know the answer. In subsequeht articles we will examine what the Torah tells us about who we are.


  1. Genesis 3:7

  2. Genesis3:14-19

  3. Maimonides, Guide for the Perplexed, Part III, Chapt. LIX

  4. Maimonides, Guide for the Perplexed, Part I, XXXIV

  5. For example: Gen. 22:1; Ex. 16:4; Ex. 20:17; Deut. 8: 16; Deut. 33:8