Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil
Well hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and it’s wonderful to imagine what that garden must have looked like: the first animals, the first flowers and trees. Well, we know that there was the tree of life in the middle of the garden, but perhaps you did not realize there were two trees in the middle of the garden. Listen to Genesis Chapter 2, verse 9, then let me flip over to Genesis Chapter 3, right after the man and the woman ate the fruit.
It says, “In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And the Lord God said, 'The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to now reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat and live forever.'" Wow! It’s the old, old story. The serpent beguiled Eve, and she and her husband ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Suddenly they understood the difference between what was good and what was evil, and because they did not obey God, death, sorrow, and disease became a fact of life.
Now, some people think that God was unkind in banishing Adam and Eve from the Garden, but not so. God was just, because God is just. From the very beginning, disobedience carried a penalty; fellowship between God and man had been completely severed. So, God was just, but (get this) He was also kind, very kind. Because –listen to this from Chapter 3, "After [God] drove the man out, He placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth (now get this) to guard the way to the tree of life."
How good and merciful of God to keep diseased and sin-sick Man from eating of the tree of life. The tree of life is a big deal. If you look in the book of Revelation, it’s right there – when we get to heaven, we will eat of the tree of life, and we will live forever. Had Adam and Eve not been banished from the garden to prevent them from eating from the tree of life, it's likely that mankind, in his very sad and sorry state would have lived forever. Yes, in his sinful state forever. That is terrible. Oh my goodness, how awful! Who wants to live forever in a body of sin and death? Certainly not me!
So, when you read about God throwing Adam and Eve out of the garden and setting up strong angels to prevent them from coming back, He’s not being unfair and He’s certainly not being unkind. Far from being a story of heavy-handed, cruel justice, the real story in the Garden is one of God's wisdom, compassion and protection.
Because like I said, the tree of life not only grew in the Garden of Eden, but it will one day grow in the new heavens and new earth. Revelation Chapter 22, "On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse." Praise God! I’m so grateful that the Lord prevented Adam and Eve in all their sin from reaching for the fruit on the tree of life. But you and I sure can reach for that tree as we reach out for the cross where the Lord of life died not only for Adam and Eve’s sin, but for your sin and mine. Hold fast to that cross, and you’ll experience what it means to really eat and enjoy fruit from the tree of life. Enjoy eating that tree today as you open up the Word of God. When you have a chance today, drop by joniandfriends.org.
By: Joni Eareckson Tada
© Joni and Friends
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