Posted by: Heather | August 12, 2010

A Tale of Two Trees

Genesis 2:8-9 (KJV)  And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.   9  And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Imagine for just a moment what it must have been like for Adam to wake up for the first time.  God Himself breathed the breath of life into him, and when he opened his eyes, he saw the most marvelous creation anyone could ever hope to live in.  Beautiful water, breathtaking views, and scores of living animals must have been a wonderful sight to see.  Before sin entered the world, I imagine it was much more beautiful than the most grand views we have today.

This land, the original garden of Eden, is where God placed the man He had created, along with his helper.  Eden is a real place, marked by real boundaries.  Further down in Genesis (verses 11-14), the Bible details the borders of the land mass that comprises the garden of Eden.  It is bordered by the Pison River on the southeast (now known as the Indus River), the Gihon river (currently known as the Nile) on the southwest, and the Tigris-Euphrates.  The land mass of the garden of Eden was roughly the size of North America…the United States, Canada,and Mexico put together.

Geographically, in the very center of this large parcel of land stands current-day Israel, and even more specifically, Jerusalem.  It was also the location of the two most important trees in Eden…the tree of life, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  The land was full of trees that served as the food source for the first humans.  There was only one rule.  They were not allowed to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

So, what about these trees?  We all know the story.  Eve was deceived by the serpent, who told her that she would become wise if she ate the fruit.  When she and Adam ate of the tree, it was the first sin committed by mankind.   By that one act, all men born from that point forward would be born with a sinful nature.

I was reading this account recently, and something totally new leaped off of the page at me.  God only commanded them not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  They were told they would die if they ate of it.  (The Hebrew word for ‘die’ here actually means not that they would die a physical death immediately, but that if they ate, the plan would be set in motion for their bodies to die.)  We don’t see where God ever kept them away from the tree of life.  This was the tree that, according to Gen. 3:22, they could eat of and live forever.

So why do you suppose they would choose to ignore the tree of life in favor of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?  In our day and time, the crafty old serpent is still working hard at his job, getting people to turn away from Jesus, the tree of life, and choose sin over eternal life.   Just as Adam and Eve suffered for their choice by being driven away, so do we today if we refuse to make the right decision.  After they disobeyed God, He couldn’t allow them to eat of the tree of life, because their sin separated them from it.  Although the process of physical death was also set in motion that day, spiritual death took place immediately.  When God drove them out in Genesis 3:24, he placed a cherubim holding the flaming sword to keep them away from the path leading to the tree of life.

The consequences of sin are harsh.  There stood the tree of life, towering ready to offer life forever, now being guarded to keep mankind away.  God’s intention was that men would eat of the life-giving tree and reap the benefits forever.  In Gen 3:21, the first animal sacrifice was made to cover them, foreshadowing the time when the ultimate sacrifice would be offered to save the entire human race from its sin.

As for the trees, their story is not over.  As far as I know, the physical trees no longer stand.  But, the real tree of life, Jesus Christ, beckons to all that will listen.  The death of his physical body at Calvary, even at that very spot in the center of the garden of Eden, still brings eternal life to all that will believe and follow Him.   The Word of God (the flaming sword) points the way down the path to Him.  But, lurking not very far away, the serpent is still waiting to turn you around, causing you to be driven away from abundant life in Christ.

Will you choose the knowledge of good and evil and its temporary glamor, or life with a Savior that allows you to live forever?  There are two trees, but one choice…

God bless you today!



  1. Very good!

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