In Genesis 2:9, God introduces the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In Genesis 2:16-17, God commands Adam that he can eat of every tree in the garden, except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. I interpret this to mean that the fruit from the tree of life was also available. Then, in Genesis 2:22, God says “…[a]nd now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever…”. Does anyone else wonder if Adam and Eve ever ate from the tree of life, and if they didn’t, why not? If they did, would they have had eternal life from the first bite or did it require continual consumption and that’s why God had to remove Adam and Eve from the garden after their sin?
Hi, Libby! This is a great question! Even though I am of the opinion the trees were actual, literal trees (if we over-allegorize passages in Scripture, it causes issues with interpretation), I think they also represented spiritual truth. If you haven’t noticed, God loves to do that, communicate spiritual truth through literal events and and things that exist. I often wonder if the tree of life communicates the truth about Jesus and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil represents the law (complete speculation on my part, but it does seem to match up). That being said, I’ve speculated on this a lot, and while I don’t think we could dogmatically stick to an answer, I do think that like we have to abide (continue, dwell) in Jesus, just as he abides in us who believe, Adam and Eve would have had to continue eating form the tree of life to live forever. My other observation with this is we don’t even know what the fruit of the tree was. In one of the books of the prophets, God had the prophet eat a scroll so that His Word would be in them to give to the people. If the Scripture talks about eating God’s Word (though it was only in a vision, I believe), and God’s Word (which, in the flesh is Jesus) gives/is life, it is very possible that people would have had to continually eat from the tree to live forever, and if that is the case, then Adam and Eve very well could have eaten from the tree of life. Since we are not inherently eternal, I would think we would have to depend on God for that eternal life continuously, which signifies to me that one would have needed to eat continually to live forever…What do you think? This is by no means comprehensive and it is kind of a loose look at different things that might pertain to what you brought up, so I am looking forward to hearing others’ thoughts on this, too!
I am just starting to learn and understand the words and hope my understanding of scripture help someone.
I had also wondered about same reading Genesis: that of course there was tree of life there before and God didn’t forbid to eat from it (forbid only from tree of knowledge of good and evil) and would they eating from tree of life won’t they live forever? I believed they of course ate from it when they were there. I think some of like continual consumption (that’s why God removed Adam and Eve from garden after sin enter to humanity). But i think it is more of tree of life is gift of God to human being with God. And after sin entered, human could never stay with God like they used to as no sin can stand before Him. So, i think Adam and Eve were no longer able to be with presence of God after sin, which also means tree of life is also taken from them as they were no longer worthy. But i believe, now through Jesus we can be worthy to be with presence of God and take tree of life (it’s friut) as graceful gift.
Hope this could be little help and please also help me for my more clear understanding and also please correct me if I am wrong in any.
So before they ate of the wrong tree, they were free to eat as much as they wanted of the right one. But after they ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they were given an ejection notice from Paradise, lest they eat of the Tree of Life, and “live forever”. Men were not designed to have a moral conscience, to know right from wrong, yet somehow, between their creation and the Fall, they managed not to sin. How is that possible? Well, of course they were only given one command: Don’t eat from that tree! Might not seem that hard, but what about all the other actions we know to be sin, how did they avoid them? I believe eating from the Tree of Life is a lifestyle choice, not so much a physical meal. The choice is simply to trust Him who is LIfe, Jesus Christ, to keep us, while abandoning any hope of morality through trusting ones self. But once they made the choice of self righteousness, there was no way to go back. Now self life rules, and as long as it does, sin will be the inevitable result (Romans 7). Our maturity in Christ is reflected in how much we have learned to eat from the Tree of Life and eschew trust in ourselves.
Interesting question. While you noodle on that flip to the back of the book and think about this verse.
And he showed me the river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming out from the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street, and ⌊on both sides of the river⌋ is the tree of life, producing twelve fruits—yielding its fruit according to every month—and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. (Re 22:1–2 LEB)
Because the tree of life was not on ‘the do not eat list’ I think that it is possible that Adam and Eve eat from the this tree regularly and they were cut off from it immediately upon eating from the tree of good and evil.
For me a companion question might be, will we eat from the tree of life in the New Jerusalem because the tree will produce fruit forever?
Hello, Dean! Thanks for your insightful response. I do think I have to push back a little on this part, though. In the Hebrew, on another thread, someone pointed out that the phrase “knowledge of good and evil” is meant to refer to the knowledge of all things, so I cannot be sure that it is an express referral to morality. Since God set humanity in a place to rule over the earth, it would seem that they had to have some sense of moral conscious to have the capacity to do that. Furthermore, if they had no moral conscious, to be able to tell between right and wrong, then the question comes up as to how God could have expected them to follow any command He gave them. God is not unjust in holding people accountable for a command they do not have the capacity to obey. If he held them accountable from eating from the tree he told them not to, then that infers that they did indeed have some sense of right and wrong. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
Yes, very interesting take. Before they ate of the TOK, they had a moral consciousness, but it was intellectual, not experiential. They has a conscience, but they were innocent in experience. So the next question is, "Wy did they do it:? I guess I never really thought about that before. Paul says that Eve was deceived, but he does not let Adam off the hook so easily, “As in Adam all die”. etc. After eating the fruit, they knew (experientially, not just intellectually? ) that they were naked. Naked = Guilty?
This idea of intellectual knowledge vs. experiential is something I had not thought about, so this is quite a challenge for me. Thanks.
I’ve been trying to get this out for the last couple of days. Thanks for the responses! This is what I love about connect–so much insight!
Jimmy, another question (along with your companion question) might be will the tree of life exist during the Millennium? I don’t believe I’ve read about the tree of life existing during this period. If it is required for eternal life, will those of us in our glorified bodies at that time have to consume its fruit? And what about those who made it through the Tribulation–will they have access when saved?
So many questions…
After Adam ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, then was expelled from the garden…the Lord sent an angel with a sword to guard the entrance to EDEN, to protect Adam from eating from the tree of life, and living forever in sin, sickness,…thats my take on this
( not originally from me.)… but makes sense, based on our knowledge of the true nature of The FATHER
RE THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD andEVIL( I think it’s Isa 45:9) that says God created evil… if it’s not available, we can’t choose it…Satan can’t create anything…only destroy
“I create the fruit of the lips.”…Isa57::19 says God
If you plant peas, don’t expect beans!!
Enough for now!
Neil Mace in Canada7/5
Hello, @mace1. Thank you for jumping into this conversation and giving your response and input! Yes, it is true that God removed Adam and Eve from eating from the tree of life to protect them from living in sinfulness forever, which would have effectively separated them from God forever, as well. God created us to have relationship with us, and that purpose would have been thwarted had He not removed Adam and Eve from the garden, away from the tree of life.
Though God removed them from the garden to keep them from eating from the tree, this doesn’t necessarily mean they did not eat from the tree before. From what we know about our relationship with Jesus, we must abide in him and he in us in order to continue in him. Therefore, it is probable that Adam and Eve wouldn’t have had to just take once from the tree in order to live forever. They probably would have had to continue eating from it, and when God removed them from the garden, He effectively kept them from eating from the tree.
There has been a lot of struggle with the question as to where evil comes from. However, even though I can understand why people come to the conclusion that God created evil, God did not create evil. That is not the biblical image we have of God and His nature. 1 John 1:5, in using light and darkness as metaphors for good and evil, says: “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (NKJV). The reasoning here assumes that evil exists as an entity in its own right. However, evil does not exist on its own. It is parasitic in nature. Much like a shadow must have light and an object in the way of light to exist, evil cannot exist without good. Evil comes about when the good is twisted, much like a lie is a perversion of the truth (we are told Satan is the father of lies). Sin is a perversion of purpose–that is, God’s purpose. Therefore, there is no “choosing” of evil…only the birthing of it when we choose to twist what God created as good for His good purposes towards our own purposes and gratification.
I’m looking at the verse reference you give for this, and I am having a hard time seeing what you are talking about here. Would you be able to explain how you see this Scripture saying that God created evil? I would be grateful
The reference should have been Isa45:7. NOT. 45:9
“I form the light and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things”…KJV
SORRY FOR MY MISTAKE…I still hold to this direct interpretation as explained…rebuttal states we create evil by our choices…but you can’t choose it if it’s not available to choose…do we create anything, or do we choose that which is already created.
“I create the fruit of the lips…” Isa 57:19…?
Thank you for the response and giving me the reference so that I could take a closer look. So this is not a direct interpretation. The version you are using is not accurately expressing the Hebrew meaning of the word the KJV translates as “evil.”
Here is a link that more accurately explains this word of this passage (as calamity, distress, etc): https://www.gotquestions.org/Isaiah-45-7.html
Added to what the article in the above link says, there is some poetic artistry going on in this verse that we can spot even in the English language. We have a couplet that is expressing a type of synonym by comparing contrasting opposites: light and darkness, peace and evil (as the KJV says). If the author was speaking of moral evil, he would have said “good and evil,” not “peace and evil.” A better opposite of peace, as expressed throughout all of Scripture (especially in the prophets) is war or calamity or distress, which is what the Hebrew word there actually expresses. If the author would have been talking about moral good and evil, he would have used ‘tov’ and ‘ra’ (good and evil), but he used ‘shalom’ and ‘ra’ (peace and calamity).
As for Isaiah 57:19, context is everything, and this one small phrase is best understood within the context of the entire line and, better, the entire passage. Context is crucial for understanding Scripture properly. The entire passage in which the given phrase is included states: “‘I create the fruit of the lips: Peace, peace to him who is far off and to him who is near,’ says the Lord, ‘And I will heal him.’” The “fruit of the lips” here is specifically pointed out as peace, and is referencing God’s healing. It is important to understand that the genre used in Isaiah here is Hebrew poetry, which also confirms the understanding of this particular phrase within the passage I have given here. Commentary from Studylight.org explains how “fruit of the lips,” everywhere that is used in the Bible, is referring to good:
When we want to study a topic in Scripture, we can’t pull partial phrases or even entire phrases out of context and hinge our conclusions on those. We have to look at the near context, which is the passage in which those phrases are found, and we have to look at the more distant context, which would mean to check our understanding of the phrases within the entire canon or other books. Also, we have to be careful not to keep to just one translation. Translating ancient Hebrew and Greek are not easy tasks, and it helps to study other translations and also the words in the original language when our understanding of the English word/wording does not seem to fit with what the rest of the canon says on a topic. Genre is another important aspect of studying Scripture. When an author would make use of poetry in places like the prophets, he would use different poetic expressions (devices) that we have to be careful to not always take as literal or direct. That makes it even more incredibly important to interpret the Scripture within the passage, because lines of a poem cannot be properly understood apart from the entire portion of the poem in which they have been placed.
As far as continuing to discuss how can we choose something (evil) that doesn’t already exist, we don’t, because evil doesn’t exist until we create it by perverting the good. We don’t create out of nothing as God creates, but when we violate God’s purposes, we sin, which is evil. We choose to violate God’s purposes, which is, in fact, choosing evil. But I just found another gotquestions article that probably explains this better than I can:
Hopefully others can chip in here, if they see somewhere that maybe my clarity is lacking.
Thank you @mace1 for the thought provoking discussion about sorting out Isaiah 45:7! It really made me consider why assumptions and look into the Hebrew. Also @psalm151ls wow! That was brilliant what you brought up about the Hebrew poetry. I had a thought on a slightly different word that shows up: create. When I typically think of God creating things, I think of Genesis and Him calling things into existence out of nothing. So I was looking at the particular Hebrew word used in Isaiah 45:7 twice, and it turns out that particular form of bara’ only shows up three total times. The Hebrew that is spoken today is much different and simpler than Biblical Hebrew, including many fewer tenses. So I think there might be something to the this particular form only used to talk about darkness and calamity (Isa 45:7) and the wind (Amos 4:13).
Genesis 1:1-3 makes it pretty clear that the darkness was not created, which could lead to the argument that it really isn’t a “thing.” The wind is not a physical thing either, but the movement of air. In both these cases, God is talking more about manipulating things: hiding the light and moving the air. Perhaps the translation of a now unused word, is off and we are talking about God causing these three circumstances to occur (darkness, calamity, and wind), rather than calling them into creation. Please let me know if I am totally off-base.