This week, I'm going to present a theological theory of mine. Let me make it perfectly clear that this is only a theory. I should also make it clear that I do not have the arrogance to suppose that I am the first to think of this theory; I just haven't come across it before. Since it is just a theory, you may not think it has much value; however, this theory emphasises the importance of human sexuality, and the consequence of sexual immorality, no matter how slight.
Many believe that the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil in Genesis 2:17 is symbolic, and not an actual fruit that one eats. It is common to theorise that the "fruit" was some sort of sexual sin, such as masturbation or oral sex. Some go so far as to suggest that it was the act of sexual intercourse itself, but this is entirely erroneous and even heretical since it devalues sex, which God created to reflect His love for us.
Sexual intercourse between a married man and woman reflects God's original relationship with humanity, the relationship that Christ restored through his death and resurrection. God's relationship with humanity and man's relationship with woman are inseparably connected. An injury to one relationship injures the other. As I said last week, adultery is apostasy, and apostasy is adultery.
Since man's relationship with woman is the same as humanity's relationship with God, by attacking man's relationship with woman, Satan attacks humanity's relationship with God at its very root. In the beginning, sexual intercourse was perfect in original innocence; man knew woman just as man knew God. After the fall, this knowledge was tainted. Man still knew God as he knew woman, but now this knowledge was corrupt, as is evident in Genesis 3:7, "and they knew that they were naked." The result of this corruption of knowledge, the corruption of man's relationship with God, resulted in man hiding from God (cf. Genesis 3:8), and each other (cf. Genesis 3:7, the fig leaves were to hid their nakedness from each other). Once man's relationship with woman was corrupt, his relationship with God was corrupt.
This knowledge is of lust. As I said in my Weekly Though this last Febuary 11th, "Before the fall, man was shameless; that is, he did not know shame. Man and Woman only saw the image of God when they looked at each other's nakedness. Once they ate of the apple, their eyes were open to allow them to see each other as sexual objects (lust). To have someone look at you with lust, would naturally fill you with shame, and you would want to hide your nakedness."
Lust is a counterfeit of love, and when it replaces love in a relationship between a man and woman, it does so in a parallel nature. The nature of a loving relationship is this: woman seeks to be loved in order to love, and man loves in order to be loved. Similarly, the nature of a lusting relationship is this: woman tempts man to physically lust for her to satisfy her emotional lust, and man satisfies woman's emotional lust to tempt woman to satisfy his physical lust.
I theorise that the "eating of the fruit" was man's replacement of love with lust, which resulted in tempting of each other to satisfy this lust. The "fruit" was lust. Not an exteriorly observable act, but an interior act known only to the individual and God. Not a physical act, but a spiritual act.
This is how I believe the fall transpired:
In the beginning, God created everything, consummating with man, which He created in His own image (cf. Genesis 1:27). When Adam and Eve looked at each other, they saw God, who is love. Man was given all knowledge, but had no notion of lust, only love. The only command God gave man was to see Him in each other. They were not to look on each other apart from the image of God (cf. Genesis 2:17).
Satan approached Eve and suggested to her that Adam could meet her emotional needs without God (cf. Genesis 3:4-5). Eve looked at Adam and saw only him, not the image of God (cf. Genesis 3:6a). To acquire this emotional support from Adam, Eve enticed him to desire her for her physical beauty without recognising the image of God (cf. Genesis 3:6b). When Adam did this, both of them became aware of the other's lust, and that they were naked (cf. Genesis 3:7a). This filled them with shame, and they hid there bodies from each other (cf. Genesis 3:7b).
This, I theorise, is the fall. No further act beyond seeing each other with lust was necessary.