The Tree of Life

Updated: Nov 14, 2021

Watch this video from The Bible Project about The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life is mentioned three times in Genesis 2, in Eden, and again four times in Revelation, three of those in the final chapter. These references seem to refer to Eden’s literal tree of life, an actual tree.

Among all the trees in the Garden of Eden, God only identified two special trees: The Tree of Life, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

“And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:9)

God permitted Adam to eat from all the trees except the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, warning him that death would be the result.

“The LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.'” (Genesis 2:16-17)

Eve was created as Adams companion.

Then after being tempted by the Serpent, Eve ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and Adam not tempted as such but willfully doing the wrong thing disobeying God.

“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” (Genesis 3:6)

“Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.” (Genesis 3:7)

“Then the LORD God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil.'” (Genesis 3:22b-24) After Adam disobeyed God’s command regarding the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God forbade Adam to eat from the tree of life lest he live forever in that state; therefore God guards the tree.

“Then the Lord God said, ‘. . . Now, lest [the man] reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.” (Genesis 3:22b-24)

What then does “knowing/understanding/discerning good and evil” mean?

The Bible id not specific for obvious reasons but it apparently is a knowledge of the cosmos, of creation that God—and probably the angels—possess.

“Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:22a)

John Collins states:

“God intended that through this tree humans would come to know good and evil: either from above, as masters of temptation, or from below, as slaves to sin.”

We are slaves to sin now and as you have noticed it does not take long out of the womb for that mindset to take hold.

“And your servant thought, ‘The word of my lord the king will set me at rest,’ for my lord the king is like the angel of God to discern good and evil. The Lord your God be with you!” (2 Samuel 14:17)

7. In the book of Proverbs, the tree of life is used as imagery in conjunction with a wisdom and understanding, the fruit of righteousness, fulfilled desire, and a gentle tongue.

We are told the Tree of Life is presently in Paradise, the intermediate Heaven in (Revelation 2:7). The New Jerusalem itself, also in the present Heaven, will be brought down, the Tree of Life and all else, and placed on the New Earth (Revelation 21:2).

Just as the tree was apparently relocated from Eden to the present Heaven, it will be relocated again to the New Earth.

In Eden, the tree appears to have been a source of ongoing physical life. The presence of the tree of life suggests a supernatural provision of life as Adam and Eve ate the fruit their Creator provided. Adam and Eve were designed to live forever, but to do so they likely needed to eat from the tree of life.

Will you and I eat from that tree or trees once we are resurrected in the New Heaven and New Earth.? An exciting thought!

Once Adam and Eve sinned, they were banned from the Garden, separated from the Tree of Life, and subject to physical death, just as they had experienced spiritual death. Since Eden, death has reigned throughout history, Christ defeated Satan and death on/through the cross and took the Keys to the Gates of the Underworld.

But on the New Earth, our access to the Tree of Life will be forever restored. (Notice that there is no mention of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil to test us. The redeemed have already known sin and its devastation; they will desire it no more.)

We often say today that death is part of life but that is not accurate. Death is abnormal, a deviation from the intentional creation.

The final chapter of the Bible says, “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14).

The knowledge and Spirit represented by the life-giving Tree of Life are available to us today in the words and power of Jesus Christ.

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