Tag Archives: Adam & Eve

Tree of Life

Read Genesis chapter 3 in an Amplified or New International Version Study Bible.

The Tree of Life was located near the center of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2: 9) along with the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. Although God told Adam that he could not eat from the Tree of Knowledge, God gave no prohibition against eating fruit from the Tree of Life (Genesis 2: 16). All trees in the Garden were attractive to the eye and/or good for food, so it is likely that Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the Tree of Life while they lived in the Garden. After Adam and Eve disobeyed, God reflected on their new found knowledge and its implication. God said: “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat and live forever (Genesis 3: 22).” Adam and Eve’s access to the Tree of Life was based on a proper relationship with God.

To prevent Adam and Eve from eating the fruit of the Tree of Life, God expelled them from the Garden of Eden. God placed cherubim (more than one) on the east side of the Garden to keep Adam and Eve from reentering Eden. The cherubim had a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to block the way to the Tree of Life (Genesis 3:24).

The Garden of Eden was destroyed before or during the great flood of Noah’s time when the topography of the land was changed; however, the Tree of Life was not destroyed. Rather, the Tree of Life was moved.  In the New Testament book of Revelation, John wrote about the Tree of Life in two different chapters. When speaking to the Church of Ephesus, Christ said, “to him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God” (Rev. 2:7). At that time the Tree of Life was located in paradise. Christ testified that paradise was an existent place when He said to the thief on the cross, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43. Paradise is the place of happiness and rest between death and resurrection (NIV Study Bible notes, 2002, p. 1618).

The Tree of Life is destined to return to earth. In the new Jerusalem a river of water will flow from the throne of God down the middle of a great street (Revelation 22:1). The Tree of Life is located on both sides of the river that flows from God’s throne. The Tree of Life will produce a different variety of fruit each month (Rev. 22:3). Christians who are victorious in overcoming evil (Rev. 7: 14) will eat the fruit of the Tree of Life (Rev. 7:14, 22:14). The leaves of the Tree of Life will be used for healing of the nations (Rev. 22:2).

Symbolism: Life

In the Hebrew of the Old Testament, the word associated with Life in the Tree of Life is “chay.”  “Chay” means alive, living thing, and life that lives and is contrasted with death. Because Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they forfeited eternal life on earth. Even though God banished them from the Garden of Eden, He remained their Father. He continued to interact with them and their children. God made a way for Adam and Eve’s offspring to be reconciled to Him and have a life that lives forever. The way is through His son, Christ, who died once for all mankind.

Just as God wanted a relationship with Adam and Eve, He desires a relationship with each of us. The question is whether or not we are willing to symbolically eat from the Tree of Life here and now. In the New Testament book of John, Christ told Nicodemus that, “flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit” (John 3: 5) and “whoever believes in him (Christ) is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son (John 3:18. The birth and death of Christ was the victory over Satan predicted in Genesis 3:15 which Christ explained, “for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him (Christ) shall not perish but have eternal life (John, 3:16)

My earthly parents (Adam and Eve) were condemned to an earthly death, expelled from Eden, and barred from eating fruit from the Tree of Life, however, I am assured of eternal life. By accepting a relationship with Christ, I am no longer condemned to death; but will live in eternity.

Reflection. What about you? Where are you in the process and progress of your life? Is your future eternal death or eternal life?

I love Bible plants along with their symbolism. If you want to learn more about them, read my two books: 1) Rooted in God and 2) God as a Gardener. You can purchase them from my website: Carolyn Roth Ministry at http://www.CarolynRothMinistry.com/

Copyright December 19, 2010, Carolyn A. Roth; all rights reserved.

Man’s Relationship with Plants

Amaryllis, 2013, RoanokeRead Genesis Chapters 1 – 2.

On Creation Day 6 God planted a garden in the east in Eden (Genesis 2: 8 -9 ).  In the ancient Hebrew language, Eden means “delight.” The Garden of Eden was a place of pristine and abundant natural beauty. All manner of plants were present. God placed some plants there to delight the eye, while others were for food.

God took man, his ultimate creation, and put him in the Garden of Eden. The Bible does not record who named plants in the Garden of Eden other than that God named two trees: the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It is interesting to speculate whether or not God named all the plants in the Garden of Eden. When He made the stars on Creation Day 4, God gave each an individual name, so it would not be out of character for Him to name each plant in the Garden of Eden. God directed Adam to tend, guard and keep the Garden (Genesis 2: 15) and the plants in the Garden.

God brought animals and birds to Adam to name (Genesis 2: 19-20), and God gave Adam dominion over them (Genesis 1: 26, 28). In the  Dictionary,  dominion is defined as having supreme authority over, sovereignty, or absolute ownership. There is a significant difference between the relationship God ordained for Adam to have with the Garden and its plants versus animals, e.g., tend, guard and keep versus dominion. See Table for complete definitions of these words.

Words Meanings from Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, 2005
Dominion Supreme authority over; sovereignty; absolute ownership
Tend To care for, watch over; apply oneself to the care of; cultivate; to take charge of as a caretaker.
Guard (verb form) To protect from danger through watchful attention; make secure; preserve; protect
Keep To have custody, charge or maintenance over; to be faithful to; to save or reserve.

Modern Christian scholars do not know exactly where the Garden of Eden was located. The Bible tells us that a river flowed from Eden and separated into four head waters. The names of the ensuing rivers were Pishon, Gihon, Tigris, and Euphrates. During the great flood of Noah’s time, the landscape of the earth was changed and the Garden of Eden was destroyed. The rivers Pishon and Gihon were lost. The prophet Ezekiel (27:23) mentioned a region named Eden near the Euphrates River which may or may not be associated with the Garden of Eden’s location. Today, the Tigris and Euphrates remain mighty rivers situated primarily in Iraq.

Although the Garden of Eden was destroyed, the symbolism of the Garden of Eden remained in the minds of Israelites. The prophet Joel (2:3) described the land of Judah before its destruction as similar to the Garden of Eden.  Both Isaiah (51:3) and Ezekiel (36:35) promised that after a time of exile and punishment, Judah would be restored like Eden’s garden. Even today in western Christian and secular writings, lush gardens ripe with fruits and flowers are often described as Eden-like or veritable Gardens of Eden.

Most individuals who garden today do not need to plant, cultivate, or raise trees, vegetables and flowers for food and/or beauty. We can buy flowers and produce; yet, many of us elect to garden.  We enjoy enriching the soil and nurturing seeds to full growth. We delight to see our flowers grow and bloom. We crave the rich, succulent fruits of trees and yearn to stimulate our taste buds with fresh grown herbs. There is something inherently satisfying and self enriching about gardening.

Our gardening instincts should not surprise us. Our spiritual father, God, was a gardener –the producer of all vegetation on the earth. Gardening is in our genetic makeup. God gave Adam, our forefather, the responsibility to be the caretaker of the perfect Garden of Eden. Unlike Adam and Eve most of us do not live in delightful gardens, however, God plan is for us to live in and with creation. God still wants vegetation — brightly colored flowers and leafy plants and trees — to delight our eyes and soothe our spirits.

When I lived in the northwest, often we drove to the mountains. One Saturday morning we were driving through the mountain ranges and crested a hill. Looking into the distance, instead of seeing acres of trees, I saw a mountain side cut clear of trees.  Majestic pines and furs trees were replaced by brown earth. What happened?  The owner sold these acres of trees to a timber company. Rather than selectively cutting or thinning trees, the company cut all trees from the mountain side. The owners did not apply themselves to the care of the trees (tend), they did not preserve or protect (guard) them, and they did not acting faithfully (keep) to God’s creation.

I remember telling my brother about this instance of clear cutting. His response was “God made creation to be used by man.” My brother was correct in that God told man to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it (Genesis 1:28). In this verse subdue the earth means using all its vast resources in the service of God and man. At the same time, God expects man to act appropriately in relation to His creation and to care for trees and plants.

Reflection: How often do you thank God for the beauty and bounty of the earth?  When did you last look – really look – at a blooming flower, appreciating the beauty of its leaves, stems and blossoms? Have you ever fallen in love with a flowering crape myrtle or a majestic blue spruce? Does God’s direction to use earth’s resources in the service of God and man mean we can use forests and natural gardens without respect and veneration?

I love Bible plants along with their symbolism. If you want to learn more about them, read my two books: 1) Rooted in God and 2) God as a Gardener. You can purchase them from my website: Carolyn Roth Ministry at http://www.CarolynRothMinistry.com/

Copyright December 4, 2010, Carolyn A. Roth; all rights reserved.