googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Genesis 3:22-24, The Tree of Life

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Genesis 3:22-24, The Tree of Life

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: 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. (Genesis 3:22, 24 KJV)

At first hearing, most people equate the casting of Adam and Eve from the Garden with God's pronouncement of the Curse upon them – that is, they believe God cursed Adam and Eve, then cast them from the Garden as part of the same Judgment. Because the passages appear together, it's a reasonable understanding. However, I believe it is an incorrect understanding.

I think the key to understanding this verse lies in Paul's confession found in Romans 7:18-19

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.”

Paul ends Romans 7 with this lament (v. 24), Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?”

I can certainly empathize with Paul. There are things I know I should do and yet I don't do them. There are also things I know I shouldn't do and yet I do them. I hate it. Our flesh is literally at war with our spirit and thus it will always be as long as we dwell in our fleshly bodies. There are times I long to be rid of the flesh and leave the strife of this world behind.

When Paul asked who would free him from his body of death, he was asking rhetorically. We have a Savior who has promised just that. He is the One who makes all things new (2 Corithians 5:17). One day, our fleshly bodies will die but we have eternal life with Him in a place free from the Curse. That is God's desire for us and that was His desire for Adam.

God would have known that Adam would feel the same way that Paul felt. The Bible says that Adam knew right and wrong and so he would face the same battles as Paul. Adam would know those things he should do yet would not do them. Adam would know those things he should not do and he would do them. God did not want that for Adam. If Adam ate from the Tree of Life he would live forever in his body of death. God had a better plan!

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