And out of the ground Jehovah God cause to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, as well as the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Why were there two trees in the garden of Eden? What do they represent? What happened when Eve and Adam ate from the tree of knowledge? And what does this have to do with us today? These are some of the questions I’d like to consider in this post.
Before doing so, I’d like to make an audacious claim: the two trees in the Garden of Eden are not isolated to the garden, but pervade throughout the entirety of Scripture, relate intimately to our spiritual walk today, and consummate at the end of time as revealed in the book of Revelation.
For anyone to understand what I am going to say in this post, they must have a thorough grasp of the story in Genesis 2-3. God placed man in a garden. This garden flourished with all sorts of vegetation, but there were two trees in particular that God highlighted: the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. These two tree were put in the middle of the garden, for they were central to God’s purpose.
God wanted man to eat from the tree of life. How do we know that? While it is not mentioned directly (for God is not one to coerce and manipulate), God put two options in front of man and told him to not eat one of them. A first grader can assume the obvious here. God wanted man to eat from the other tree in the very middle. The Lord told man that every tree is good for food (including the tree of life which was in the very middle of the garden) except for the tree of knowledge.
The two trees represent two sources from which man may live by. The tree of life represents Christ (to be proved later) and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil represents the self, whose source ultimately is Satan (Jn. 8:44; 1 Jn. 3:8, 10; Eph. 2:1-3).
Satan as the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, of it you shall not eat; for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.
While many in the past have seen that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil represent the choice to live independent from God, few see the reality of the new source man now lives by. By taking from the tree of knowledge, man died. Notice that the verse above specifies “in the day that you eat of it,” not that he will die eventually. How is this so if Adam lived to be over 900 years old?
And you, though dead in your offenses and sins
Adam did die that day. He did not die in his physical body, for he lived to be 930 years old; nor did he die in his soul, for Adam clearly still possessed the ability to think, feel, and decide; but in his spirit, Adam died and lost the ability to contact God. This explains Genesis 3:9:
And Jehovah God called to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?'”
Surely God knew where man was, but the fellowship between God and man was broken, for something else was in the way (c.f. Matt. 7:23). Satan, embodied in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, came in as sin to kill man in his spirit and become his new life source (or should I say death source?).
Christ as the Tree of Life
Blessed is the man who finds wisdom…She (wisdom) is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her…Jehovah by wisdom founded the earth
Christ…the wisdom of God
-1 Corinthians 1:24 (see also Jn. 1:3; Jer. 10:12; the rest of 1 Cor. 1:24; Heb. 1:2 if you want to see my full train of thought)
While there are many better ways of proving that Christ is the tree of life (c.f. Lk. 23:31; Jn. 11:25; 14:6; 15:1; Rm. 11:17; Gal. 3:27; Col. 3:4; Rev. 22:1-2), I just saw this one a few days ago so I figured I would share it with y’all. Christ is the source of life, and He was embodied in the tree of life in Genesis 2-3. If Adam and Eve had eaten from the tree, they would have lived forever:
And Jehovah God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and taking also from the tree of life and eat and live forever’–
He who eats Me (Jesus), he also shall live because of Me…he who eats this bread (Jesus c.f. v. 51) shall live forever.
To eat of the Tree of Life would have been to eat of Christ and receive Him not only as the ability to live eternally, but as the source of life by which to live.
The Dilemma Continues
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today: I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life that you and your seed may live, in loving Jehovah your God by listening to His voice and holding fast to Him; for He is your life
Yes, these verses are actually in the Old Testament! So legit! God has set the same decision or dilemma before us today as was before Adam and Eve. While we were unbelievers, we has no way of choosing or living by God. We only lived by Satan:
And you, though dead in your offenses and sins, in which you once walked according to the age of the world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air (Satan), of the spirit which is now operating in the sons of disobedience…(Read the rest please. It gets worse)
Now that we have Christ in us, we have two sources by which we may live by:
For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.
If we choose to live by the flesh, which is the present embodiment of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we will be in death. This is not limited to sin, for it is the tree of GOOD and evil. If we live like Pharisees, obedient to the law but isolated from Christ, we will be in death as well. Only by living according to the law of the Spirit of life within us may we have life and peace.
We love laws. We love being told what to do and doing it. That is because our very being is constituted with the idea of right and wrong from the mistake in the garden 6000 years ago. We must learn to deny our soul-life and live by a completely different life in our spirit. This is hard and takes a life time.
And death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire.
And on this side and on that side of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month
In the end, all that is of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil ends up in the lake of fire. The tree of life, Christ, remains forever as the life source of the believers for eternity. We must live by life and not by knowledge. Life is Christ within governing our every decision and having a free way to live through us (Gal. 2:20; Phil. 1:21). Death is what we find when we don’t live by Christ.
Lord Jesus, Your kingdom come; Your will be done, as in heaven, so also on earth in us. Make us those who can say with Paul: “Christ our life” (Col. 3:4)!