The “Tree of Life” is unquestionably the Garden of Eden’s most important feature. However, because it’s only briefly mentioned twice in Genesis.
Once at the beginning of the story concerning the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” and again at the conclusion when cherubim and a flaming sword are set before it to keep Adam and Eve from eating its fruit—its presence has always been a bit of a mystery to Bible students.
Although the nature and purpose of the “Trees of Life and Knowledge” are not expressly described in scripture, an understanding of the teachings and design of temples can shed a lot of light on this topic.
Continue reading to learn more about the difference between “The Tree of Life” and “The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”.
What is a “Tree of Life”?
In many myths, religions, and philosophical traditions around the world, “the tree of life” serves as a key archetype. The idea of the sacred tree is strongly tied to it.
In the Genesis account, “the tree of life” appears right after God has finished creating Adam and Eve. Then God creates the Garden of Eden, a stunning paradise for man and woman to enjoy. “The tree of life” is planted amid the garden by God.
Bible scholars generally concur that the tree of life located in the garden was intended to serve as a reminder to Adam and Eve of their dependence on God and their life in fellowship with him.
Human life was distinguished from animal life in the garden’s middle. More than just physical creatures, Adam and Eve were spiritual beings who would find their highest fulfillment in communion with God.
However, this fullness of life in all of its material and spiritual aspects could only be preserved according to God’s instructions.
Adam and Eve were kicked out of the garden after disobeying God by eating from “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”.
The Bible explains their expulsion: God did not want them to take the chance of eating from “the tree of life” and continue live in disobedience for all eternity.
In mythology, culture, and fiction, various trees of life are described, frequently concerning fertility or immortality. They were inspired by religious symbolism.
Professor Elvyra Usaiovait asserts that a “typical” representation of ancient iconography is two symmetrical figures facing one another with a tree in the center.
The two figures could stand in for monarchs, deities, or perhaps a god and a devotee.
“The Tree of Life” in Wisdom Literature
“The tree of life” only makes another appearance in the old testament after Genesis in the proverbs book’s wisdom literature. The word “tree of life” in this context alludes to the different ways that life is enriched:
- In knowledge – Proverbs 3:18
- In righteous fruit (good deeds) Proverbs 11:30
- In fulfilled desires – Proverbs 13:12
- In gentle speech – Proverbs 15:4
“Tree of Life” in the New Testament
The book of Revelation, which contains the only allusions to the tree in the New Testament, contains imagery of “the tree of life” at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of the Bible.
The restoration of God’s life-giving presence is symbolized by “the tree of life” in revelation. In Genesis 3:24, God placed powerful cherubim and a blazing sword to block the way to “the tree of life”, closing off access to it.
But in this chapter of revelation, everyone who has been cleansed in the blood of Jesus Christ has access once more to the tree.
What Is “The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”?
The majority of academics concur that “the trees of life” and “the knowledge of good and evil” are two distinct trees.
The fruit from “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” was disallowed because it would result in death, according to the Bible (Genesis 2:15-17). In contrast, consuming fruit from “the tree of life” would ensure eternal life.
The Genesis narrative demonstrated that, while not immediate death, eating from “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” led to sexual awareness, shame, and the loss of innocence.
To stop Adam and Eve from eating the second tree, “the tree of life”, which would have permitted them to live forever in their fallen, sinful state, they were expelled from Eden.
Adam and Eve were tragically cut off from God as a result of eating from “the tree of knowledge of good and evil”.
Where Was the “The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” Located?
The key to the beginning is revealed in Genesis 1-3. God spoke and gradually created the universe and the earth. The Garden of Eden was subsequently created by the Lord as a miniature paradise on earth.
To manage and spread that heaven on Earth and extend God’s loving dominion to all of creation, he fashioned beings made in his image (this time with his hands).
Where the Garden of Eden was situated has been a topic of debate and discussion among academics. The two main theories seem to be from Southwest Asia and East Africa.
- Southwest Asia makes the most sense, given how Genesis describes the many rivers. The horrific global deluge during the time of Noah, however, might have significantly altered the earth’s topography.
- God planted two trees in the Garden’s center. “The Tree of Life” comes first. “The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” is the second.
In that wonderful garden, there was only one rule: refrain from eating anything from “the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil”. One rule, that’s all.
- God explained the repercussions: Adam and Eve would perish if they ate that fruit. It was implied that they could eat from “the Tree of Life” at will and thus live eternally. If they broke the one rule, that would immediately come to an end.
- Eve eventually began to trust the accuser’s lying after an unspecified period. Eve and Adam consumed food from the forbidden tree.
- They were abruptly banished from paradise, mostly to prevent corrupt people from accessing “the Tree of Life” and living forever, and humanity now lived under the curse of death.
Something happened to all of creation even though they didn’t immediately pass away because they were still living and having heartbeats.
Entropy is the term used in science to describe how everything is prone to decay, death, and destruction. Now, Adam and Eve would struggle to survive on a basic level, an activity that was futile because, no matter what they did or how hard they tried, they would perish.
What Does “The Tree of Knowledge” Represent in Different Religions?
|Christianity||The tree of knowledge of good and evil, according to Christianity, is both a real tree and a metaphor. Adam and Eve violated God’s commands and committed the original sin by eating the fruit of this tree. Christianity holds that neither the tree nor its fruit was in any way evil.|
|Judaism||Judaism holds that good and evil were two distinct ideas before Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge. The human mind had no experience with evil, and it had no desire either. It was merely a stand-alone object. But because Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s order, they combined the two beings.|
|Islam||The name for the tree of knowledge of good and evil in Islam isn’t known. It’s just referred to as “the tree” instead. Islam holds that God instructed Adam and Eve they might eat from every tree in the garden, but not from the one that Satan later said would make them eternal. Satan subtly informed Eve that eating from the tree would provide them immortality and angelic status, both of which God did not desire. When Eve followed Satan’s advice, she sinned.|
What Is the Difference Between “The Tree of Life” and “The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”?
“Tree of knowledge” and “the tree of life” are two different types of trees. The consequences of eating from these trees are different.
- God chose “the tree of life” to stand in for the gift of a long life he bestowed upon those who were thought deserving of it. Given enough time, Adam and Eve would have received everlasting life and so been regarded worthy of eating the fruit that represented such a reward if they had continued to love and obey God.
- “The tree of the knowledge of good and evil” symbolized God’s unwavering understanding of right and wrong as well as his sovereign authority to choose what is best and worst for his rational, corporeal creatures.
By consuming the prohibited fruit, Adam and Eve transgressed this divine authority. They effectively choose to disobey God’s commandment by making their own decisions about what is best for them. It ended up being a poor decision. Neither tree possessed any unique abilities or traits.
One merely symbolized God’s absolute knowledge of good and evil as the ruler or sovereign. At the same time, the other represented God’s promise of eternal life to those who love and obey him. God alone is the source of wisdom and eternal life, not trees.
The trees served as only symbolic representations; refraining from eating from one would signify respect for and acceptance of divine law while eating from the other would signify receiving the reward of perpetual life as a result of doing so.
Only if the recipient sincerely loved and obeyed God with all of their heart would this occur.
As perfect people, Adam and Eve already grasped the difference between good and evil, but they didn’t fully understand what was good and wicked from God’s perspective.
They, therefore, required heavenly direction as life evolved and progressed. God meant that man had come to select and choose for himself what was good and bad without consulting a higher source, a divine source when he said that man had become like one of us, spirits.
Spirits are the highest possible source of knowledge. Adam and Eve decided to lead a life devoid of God. Sadly, the world has continued to live in the same manner.
- “The Tree of Life” is a symbol of people’s desire to seek the origin of their life and go back to their natural state.
- The tendency of people to be drawn to separateness, knowledge, leverage, and gain is symbolized by “the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”.
- One obtains knowledge by eating from “the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil”. For most people, this is as close as it gets to knowledge of good and knowledge of evil.
- “The Tree of Life” is the source of immortality. God was forced to exile him from the Garden and install cherubim and a blazing sword on the path leading back to “the Tree of Life” to prevent Adam and Eve from becoming even more godlike since they both had access to the wisdom of the gods and were eternal (Genesis 3:24).