We have heard of a tree called The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This tree was in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve ate the fruit from this tree. We still use the expression ‘the forbidden fruit’. The warning about this tree was this: “but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” It has also been translated ‘dying, you will die’.
As we know, another voice suggested they eat that very fruit. That voice told them that they would not die. Rather, they would gain an ability to judge things for themselves. The words contained this phrase, ‘you will be like God’.
Their reaction to eating this fruit was very strange. It says, “they realized they were naked.” Rather than gaining some power that made them like gods, they found themselves to be naked and they didn’t like it. They took leaves and made themselves coverings.
It seems that the Lord God would visit them. They hear him coming and they run away and hide. Adam hears the voice of the Lord saying, “Where are you?” Adam replies, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” Adam does not know how to lie. We can believe him. He says he was afraid. Afraid because he was naked. That is why he hid.
We have little idea of how they felt before eating this fruit. But it seems that ‘being afraid’ was new. My question is this: why did ‘being naked’ bother them? And what were they afraid of?
Adam had gained a self consciousness that was uncomfortable. He became extremely aware of himself in his body. It was like he woke up and discovered he was naked in a world that suddenly seemed somehow dangerous. He was separate from everything else. He knew he was a person before. He was Adam. He had a wife. But now, he felt alone. He says “I” four times in his short response to “Where are you?”
He feels separate from his Maker and Benefactor so he hides. He feels separate from his wife and calls her ‘the woman’. He realizes that there is at least one creature, the serpent, that deceives people. There is some danger on this earth. Maybe there is more. This is the thing that bothers him. His nakedness means he is alienated from everything else. It is just him, in his body, and that body does not seem enough. It needs a covering of some sort.
A lot is made of the ‘punishments’ that are given out by the Lord. But sometimes left out is that he gives them better coverings. He clothes them. He becomes their tailor as someone said. They are also sent out of the Garden area. But why? Because of the other tree, the Tree of Life.
This Tree of Life becomes a problem. God takes away their access to this tree. What exactly is this tree? All we know is that it will give people the power to live forever.
It seems that the choice they had was either this tree or that tree. They chose one and now lose their chance to eat from the other. The next time we read about it is in John’s vision of the future, “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.”
We have this tree in the past. We have it in the future. But what about now? Is our choice lost? Can we gain this eternal life or is it now denied forever. The same bible that tells us of the Tree of Life, contains other statements about eternal life and how to get it. Jesus makes several statements about this.”
“Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
“Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
“For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
“I am the bread of life that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever.”
Jesus compares himself to something you eat: bread. And something you drink: water. He says the result of this eating and drinking is eternal life, living forever. So we do have a choice now to have eternal life. But we have to eat ‘the Bread of Life’ not fruit from the Tree of Life.