Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

the tree of life

12/8/16

 

I am fascinated by the Genesis account of the Fall. I have written before about the fact that the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was poisonous, leading to death. According to Genesis, partaking of this tree prevented access to the Tree of Life which granted "eternal" life. The existence of the two trees and their respective effects, death versus life, lead me to conclude that they figuratively represent two diametrically opposed mental/emotional states.

 

The Tree of Knowledge enabled and even encouraged human disunity by suggesting that some people were less than others, being judged evil by human judges who were emboldened by their "knowledge". The results of such human judgments were hate, fear, and conflict, largely the story line of all human history. The Tree of Knowledge was and is the Tree of Death.

 

Many believe that the Tree of Knowledge led to physical death. I doubt that for a couple of reasons. For one, the Genesis account pronounced an immediate death as the result of eating from that tree. Physical death did not immediately follow. For another, in the absence of physical death the earth would become overrun in short order. Whatever death God warned Adam against, it was not physical. Man can be alive in one sense and dead in another, a clearly biblical concept.

 

So within the story of man's first sin we have two Trees which contrast with one another. The first engenders condemnation, hate, fear, and death. The other brings a new kind of life, a life characterized by the very opposite attitude, mindset, and emotions, namely love, peace, forgiveness. In other words, the fruit of the Tree of Life is the fruit of the spirit taught by Jesus and reiterated by Paul in Galatians 6.

 

Though the life resulting from the Tree of Life is said to be eternal, as in unending, there is ample reason to suspect that the Hebrew word, "olam",  from which the KJV translates eternal, does not refer to duration but rather to quality. Wikipedia indicates that "olam" can mean world or eon, especially a future perfected world. Elsewhere, Hebrew scholars indicate that the ancient Hebrews had no single word which denoted "of unending duration", like our English word, eternal, does. "Olam life' is perfected life, true life

 

Based on this analysis of "olam" I conclude that the Tree of Life was symbolic of the quality of life to be experienced by those who shun the Tree of Knowledge and embrace the principles taught by Christ. When the Bible says that God barred man from the Tree of Life after he tasted of the Tree of Knowledge, that separation showed that no one can eat of both trees simultaneously. They are mutually incompatible.  By choosing death, Adam rejected life. It has been the same ever since. Life or death, your choice.

 

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