tree of life

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knowntoGod

Inactive User
Here's something I've been wondering about recently since writing a study on sin and redemption in the Bible; I began with Gen 2-3 and ended with Rev 22.

Eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil just once made Adam and Eve sinful. But, would eating from the tree of life just once give eternal life?

God told Adam he could eat from any tree other than the one of the knowledge of good and evil; so Adam could have eaten from the tree of life. Once Adam and Eve sinned, they were banished from the garden so they couldn't eat from the tree of life.

If eating from the tree of life just once granted eternal life, then they must not have eaten from it before the fall. If they had eaten from it before eating from the tree of knowledge, would they have had eternal, sinful life?

And Rev 22 states the tree of life will bear fruit every month. Could it be that eating from the tree only grants life for a time (perhaps a month) and in heaven we'll have to regularly eat from it to have eternal life (sort of like the pool in Cocoon?

If so, that would explain why Adam and Eve could eat from the tree of life while in the garden, but were banished afterward. It would also seem to explain why God said if they ate from the tree of knowledge, they would surely die; he would banish them and cut them off from their source of eternal life.

Any thoughts?

"And the LORD God commanded the man, 'You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.'" (Gen 2:16-17, CSB)

"The LORD God said, 'Since man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil, he must not reach out, and also take from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.' So the LORD God sent him away from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken." (Gen 3:22-23, CSB)

"On both sides of the river was the tree of life bearing 12 kinds of fruit, producing its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree are for healing the nations, and there will no longer be any curse." (Rev 22:2b-3a, CSB)
 

A5pointer

Puritan Board Sophomore
Reasonable question. You might first want to establish that the trees are to be seen as literal trees. I know this seems an uncomfortable question of the tree of knowledge of good and evil but can we see literal eating of literal trees as giving eternal life? If yes, it seems incompatable with the faith in the work of Christ. If pressed I would see the tree of life as figurative of the very presence of God. I know this raises questions about the other tree and what Eve and then Adam did. I don't mean to offend anybody's sensibilities, I am just asking questions. :detective:
 

Zenas

Snow Miser
They had eternal life anyway so there was no need to eat of the tree of life. It was only due to their disobedience and sin did the world fall under the dominion of death. Prior to that, there was no death.

Had they eaten of it prior, it wouldn't give them "extra" eternal life that God could not somehow revoke in His curse. Rather, the life and fellowship they had, regardless of what tree they ate of, was cursed because of what they did. If they had hypothetically eaten of a tree that gave them an already possessed eternal life, it shouldn't bear us to a different result, i.e. a cursed humanity and world under the power of death and sin.

It is not as though God is unable to bring us under the curse of death or ahnihilate us because of some extraneous force. God is not unable to destroy the Evil One and his forces, rather, He has chosen to punish them in a different way. Even us, we are not born to suffer ahnihilation etherealy, but rather, only physically. Our spiritual selves will share in damnation with the fallen as long as we are outside of Christ.
 

staythecourse

Puritan Board Junior
Scripture describes literal trees in the garden, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Our first father and mother ate from the "good and evil" tree after being told that in the day that they ate of it they would die. Satan convinced them that God was lying and they ate and died that day, though the actual even happens hundreds of years later.

If they would have eaten from the tree of eternal life afterwards, they would have been eternally separated from God and lived in a physical eternal body.

God, in his grace, prevented that and as we know, gave a promise, oddly enough, in the form of a Seed from Eve.

Jesus is similar to the Tree of Life in that eating of his flesh and drinking his blood gives eternal life. I also believe that there is a literal tree of Life in Heaven who fruit is eaten for eternal life for our new bodies.

:popcorn:
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
I don't think you can look at any quality in the trees themselves: they did what they did (whatever that was) because of the word of God.
 

A5pointer

Puritan Board Sophomore
Scripture describes literal trees in the garden, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Our first father and mother ate from the "good and evil" tree after being told that in the day that they ate of it they would die. Satan convinced them that God was lying and they ate and died that day, though the actual even happens hundreds of years later.

If they would have eaten from the tree of eternal life afterwards, they would have been eternally separated from God and lived in a physical eternal body.

God, in his grace, prevented that and as we know, gave a promise, oddly enough, in the form of a Seed from Eve.

Jesus is similar to the Tree of Life in that eating of his flesh and drinking his blood gives eternal life. I also believe that there is a literal tree of Life in Heaven who fruit is eaten for eternal life for our new bodies.

:popcorn:

Hi Bryan, To keep the coversation about literal and non-literal going. Do you see how you have taken a non-literal position here regarding eating and drinking regarding the body and blood of Christ then your view flows to a literal eating of trees? Why is this? How do we decide? Just food(no pun inted) for thought.
 

staythecourse

Puritan Board Junior
Do you see how you have taken a non-literal position here regarding eating and drinking regarding the body and blood of Christ then your view flows to a literal eating of trees? Why is this? How do we decide? Just food (no pun intended) for thought.


Hey Bruce.

Yes, I realize there is a symbolic and literal position that I take. I am glad to relinquish my loose hold on this topic but if someone were to ask me what I thought the tree of life was I would say it is personified in Christ and there will be a garden in heaven with a tree called the tree of life like one was in Eden.

Related to the Tree of Life could be these questions.

Regarding communion, I say that the bread stays bread and the wine stays wine. Therefore communion is 100% symbolic.

"How does the body and blood of Christ give eternal life?" I believe the Scripture says that the truth of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ towards me gives and is giving me literal eternal life.

"What is the Tree of Life in Heaven" I would say 1. Symbolically Christ (which we have already partaken) and 2. there is also a literal bark and branches tree with fruit on it we will eat for enjoyment (but I am not sure if it will be necessary for believers to eat in Heaven but I believe Scripture says we will so in that sense it is necessary)
 

Zenas

Snow Miser
This is probably off topic, but I don't buy into the whole "were going to sing forever in white robes" in Heaven.

I think it will be like it was in the Garden again. Perfect fellowship with God while we subdue Creation and eat of any tree we wish, save for any God has put off limits. :p
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
I think the trees were as real as the bread, wine, and water of our New Covenant/ Covenant of Grace sacraments.

These were sacramental trees of the Garden, trees for worship. Is it incongruent to worship God by means of his simple sacraments today? If not, then it shouldn't be uncomfortable to accept that the trees were eminently suitable to the Garden's environment.

As for eating of the tree of life, I do doubt that our first parents ever ate of it. I also think the fall took place quickly, not after any substantial period of time. These are theological conclusions, not exegetical certainties. But along with py3ak, I do not think that simple "eating" equated to life-eternal. The tree was not a substance, but a sacrament.

Partaking was by faith, for the strengthening of faith. Without faith, the tree was nothing. And not just a faith that "one bite of this and I'm home-free" either. No, a faith in God's promise, that he would reward patient obedience and endurance with promotion from probation to confirmation in life--without the fear of falling (something we now anticipate in glory also).

By the way, you cannot do much better than to read K&D's treatment of the trees, from their placement in the Garden, through the fall and our parents being barred from the ToL.

Also, Calvin's comments are superb: they might have eaten those trees fruit, leaves, and branch and it would have profitted them nothing, once they had disobeyed. But God blocks their way to teach them death. And to prevent them from a sacramental viloation that would confirm them in death, should they attempt to gain life-eternal once more by a means that was now forbidden. No, now we must all look to one better, who will provide a better and more sure way to eternal life.
 
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