Tree of Life

I was reading Genesis chapters one through three for my Old Testament class yesterday and I find myself more amazed that I can read something a thousand times and still find something new. The story of creation I had to learn in Spanish when I arrived in South America. I didn’t know any Spanish at the time and they were just sounds to me. Later as I learned Spanish the story eventually made sense to me. I learned it in Quechua as well, and in all of this translating, memorizing, growing up with it as a preacher’s kid, I knew no other story better than this one. Yet, God still uses it to show me new things each time around.

The thing that stood out to me this time around was God put man in the garden and said he could eat of every tree except the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Everything else was fair game. I have no idea how long Adam and Eve enjoyed the divine bliss of perfection in the Garden of Eden before they messed up and ate of that tree but somehow they chose not to eat of the Tree of Life. Considering the only tree prohibited was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil I believe it safe to say that they could have eaten of this Tree of Life, but they chose not to. We have evidence that they never ate of this tree because God is recorded saying after the fall, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” It goes on to say that “God placed the Cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.”

What made the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil so appealing over the Tree of Life? Well, we see how the Serpent deceived the woman. He promises to the woman, “You will be like God.” It was then that the fruit became appealing to the woman. She wanted to become God instead of wanting to have Life.

The choice is the same to us. We have both options before us: to be our own god or to choose Christ who is Life.

Chesterton in his wonderful book, Orthodoxy, says, “Every act of will is an act of self-limitation. To desire action is to desire limitation. In that sense every act is self-sacrifice. When you choose anything, you reject everything else.”

We cannot choose to worship God and ourselves. By choosing one to worship we reject the other. Our choice reflects our true desire: to become like god or to have life. God commanded Adam and Eve not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil because He had something better to offer them. It is the same with us. He wants us to choose Him, to choose Life for that is far better than any other choice.

When Adam and Eve sinned it made our position before God hostile. Christ died to kill that hostility so that we could have Life. We see the resolution of the redemption of man when Christ opens up again the Tree of Life. In one of the most beautiful scenes painted in the Bible, John writes,

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal flowing from the throne of God and of the Lmap brought the middle of the street of the city; also on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the helaing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship Him.”
– Revelation 22: 1-3

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3 Responses to Tree of Life

  1. Stephen says:

    "We see the resolution of the redemption of man when Christ opens up again the Tree of Life."Iirc, some ancient writers likened the Cross to the Tree of Life, and Christ Himself to its fruit."When Adam and Eve sinned it made our position before God hostile. Christ died to kill that hostility so that we could have Life."If "kill[ing] that hostility" means putting Death to death and freeing us from the power of sin over us, then yes. But if it means that God is ever the enemy of man, then … not so much. 😉 IMO.

  2. Yes I find myself amazed at reading the ancient writers and seeing how they worked through all of these things. Very humbling and a great help to understanding the scriptures; I like that better, though I never heard that: "to liken the Cross to the Tree of Life." By the resolution of the redemption of man I meant more to the resolution of the story itself. How in the beginning the Tree of Life was cut off and then in Revelation it is brought back into the narrative. I could have worded that better. "Kill[ing] that hostility" is taken straight from Ephesians 2:16, "and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility." This hostility was the state of man before the propitiation of sins by Christ. And because of the cross our position before God changed and we can draw near to Him in confidence. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It was very interesting for me to read that post. Thanks for it. I like such themes and everything that is connected to them. I definitely want to read a bit more soon.

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