How The Tree of Life Could Give Immortality
I love to look deeper than most. I find myself very lonely at times because nobody wants to journey with me. I wear out my guess with my questioning. I am no genius not even above average but I am more inquisitive than most. Most people just accepted that things fell when dropped, but Sir Isaac Newton wanted to know about gravity and understand its laws. Please do not think I am claiming to be as smart as Sir Newton, but I do have the same inquisitive mind. So if you want to explore with me I would be excited for you to join me.
Here is a passage that I believe is worth studying.
And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
When it comes to the part that says; “lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” there are two possible understandings.
- God did not want Adam to live forever in his sinful condition.
- God did not want Adam to gain eternal life and live with Him in paradise forever.
Why even discuss this? I believe it is by examining things like this it leads us to a greater understanding of the Bible in general and in this case salvation specifically. If you read on you will see what I mean.
Number One: God did not want Adam to live forever in his sinful condition.
I will admit that when I thought about this interpretation deeper than superficially I found that I could not agree with it. I can only think of two arguments that I have read or heard for this position. The Bible says it, so it is right and God can do anything.
Let me address these first two. There are many things in the Bible that we cannot take at face value and here is an example that is very extreme yet it proves my point.
And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
Jesus said to pluck out your eye if is it offends you, but we don’t even though the Bible says it. Second, God can do anything. That is true as long as it is in line with His nature or His sovereignty.
This leads to why I believe this understanding is outside the realm of possibility. There is only one God who created everything and by Him all things consist.
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
The important part here is “by Him all things consist” or we can say held together. We need to remember that God had pronounced the judgment of death on Adam, so if the tree could prevent that from taking place then the tree is acting on its own power to keep Adam from dying. Remember we are not talking about living for thousands or millions of years we are talking about forever.
Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
We know that the heavens and earth will at some point pass away but Adam as a sinner would live on even though God had told he would die. To believe a tree could give eternal life is In my mind making the tree a god. It would have its own power to hold together the life of Adam for eternity.
It seems important to remember it is Jesus not, a tree that created all things and by Him, all things consist.
Let us look at what the Bible has to say about immortality. We must remember that when Adam, and any man for that matter, was created his soul is eternal, so it is the body we are discussing here not the soul.
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
So look at these verses armed this knowledge.
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
1 Corinthians 15:20-21
For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
1 Corinthians 15:25-26
So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
1 Corinthians 15:42-45
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:53-57
It seems very apparent that for a man to live forever his corrupt body must be made incorruptible and that is only done by the power of God in Christ. Nothing outside the work of God through His Son can make a mortal body an immortal one.
There are so many other verses of how God quickened us or made us alive through the work of His Son.
Number Two: God did not want Adam to gain eternal life and live with Him in paradise forever.
Now let’s look at the other possible meaning that God did not want Adam to gain eternal life and live with Him in paradise forever. The argument against this has been why wouldn’t God want Adam to do this. That question answers itself. Adam had sinned and God had pronounced that he would have to live outside of the Garden under the curse.
Couldn’t God have just redeemed Adam and let him remain in the garden? We do have a clear answer to this.
By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
If God said to Enoch skip death come directly unto me then why couldn’t that have happened with Adam? The answer now seems obvious that God wanted fallen man to live under the curse and by doing so they would truly see their need to obey God as Adam had failed to do.
This is why I think about these things it is because when you keep digging and asking you keep finding precious gems of truth.
This begs the question of what did Enoch do to obtain this translation? It says he pleased God and since these verses were taken from Hebrews 11 we know that it was Enoch’s faith that pleased God. Faith requires an object so we must ask what was the object of Enoch’s faith? The Bible, as far as I can tell, does not share with us what Enoch did that was so much different than the other men during his day. I think we can glean some evidence of what was the object of a man’s faith before Christ from Abraham because that is who Paul used.
He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
The context of this verse is that God promised Abraham he would be the father of many nations and Abraham believe God by having a relationship with Sarah even though they were past age for such things. So the object of Abraham’s faith appears to be God’s reveal revelation to him. Not everybody has had God making such promises to them, but everybody has and does have some form of revelation from God to which they must respond.
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
I think that unless God openly revealed His will in a very direct way, the revelation that man was to walk by was difficult at best when you compare this to Christ. Think about this, when God sent for Jesus the object of our faith became crystal clear. There is no discerning the will of God in this present day because Jesus Christ is to be the object of our faith. To simply trust in Jesus Christ the Lord is the fulfillment of our faith required for one’s salvation.
So if we take this knowledge and go back to the tree of life it appears that God wanted Adam and his offspring to live in a cursed world and suffer the effects of sin. In doing so God wanted Adam to learn to depend on Him and to walk with Him. If I am right, the tree could have bypassed this and man could have found his way back to the garden and God and not suffered the curse. To me, Jesus is only one that can bring a man back to God, and this is why I am so emphatic about this because there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that can give man eternal life other than my Savior Jesus Christ! So when God brought forth His Son, the way back to God and paradise was opened to all men.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
We can look and live! We have a direct object of our faith that at the moment we receive Him we become reconciled unto God with a promised inheritance. This was hidden from men before Christ, it was the mystery of salvation that men and angels looked for but could not find.
Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
1 Peter 1:9-12
Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.
So what do you believe? Would the tree have the power to cause a corrupt and sinful man to live forever? Or did the tree contain the knowledge of salvation through Christ that could have reconciled man to God and allowed him to avoid the curse and live with God in paradise forever?