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The Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden: How does it relate to physical death?

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by parousia70, Apr 19, 2002.

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  1. parousia70

    parousia70 Livin' in yesterday's tomorrow Supporter

    United States
    I originally posted this as a response to another post.
    I was heading off topic for that thread so I though it best to start anew.

    I'll post both the original post by Tristan
    along with my reply question which is now the topic/question for this new thread.

    Tristan brings up an interesting question I'd like to hear everyone comment on:

    Would Adam have lived forever If he simply hadn't eaten from the tree of knowledge, or was his eternal life conditional upon his eating from the tree of life?

    Meaning, Could Adam have chosen not to eat from the tree of life and still lived forever?

    An addendum would be, does one bite from the tree of life insure immortality, or would Adam have needed constant access to it's fruit?

    **Note to moderators: Before you judge this thread to be unrealted to endtimes issues, I want to be clear that I posted it because I believe establishing the type of death brought into the world as a result of Adams sin is paramount to understanding the type of "ressurection" prophesied about for the "Last Day". Thank you for your sober consideration in this matter.
    We teamed up with Faith Counseling. Can they help you today?
  2. Hoonbaba

    Hoonbaba Catholic Preterist

    Hi Peter,

    Nope it isn't possible! God sovereignly determines things, otherwise God wouldn't have received the glory of His Son saving the Church. heh, ok so I clearly avoided the issue and answered from a reformed perspective ;)

    Anyway, I honestly don't know how to answer that. I like the reformed response to it, since it sounds valid and I have no idea! LOL!!

  3. Mandy

    Mandy Well-Known Member

    Very interesting question. Any answer though would be pure speculation I believe.
  4. davo

    davo Member

    Gen 2:17 "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

    "dying thou dost die" This is a Hebraism, a Hebrew idiom (a form of expression having a significance other than the literal one). In the Hebrew, when a word (or series of words) is sequentially repeated it "intensifies" that word's meaning -giving it an unequivocle definitive position of certainty.

    The literal Hebrew rendering is "dying die" (the difference in verbal tensing does not affect the idiom). This literally means without fear of contradiction (or as Jesus often said "amen amen" i.e., "truly truly!") you SHALL die! -and in this instance according to this verse "on the very day thou shalt eat thereof". This is NOT talking about the beginnings of a "process" of biological demise i.e., physical death -that however was a "natural" consequence of it.

    This whole issue of "death" is important to get a grasp of. And a big problem straight up front is the impasse over this whole "spiritual versus physical death" argument. It is a wrong (Greek thinking) concept that has muddied the waters and brought much confusion and misunderstanding. Similar in kind to the confusion around "literal versus spiritual interpretation." -(in this instance ALL schools of thought do BOTH, it's just the justification for how or why this is done that differs).

    'Death' in the Scriptures is not ONLY "physical." In relation to our stance before God more importantly it is "COVENANTAL." i.e., relational. Under the Old Covenant when someone was "cast out" of Israel they were "out of covenant" and therefore considered "dead" -their stance in fellowship was broken, they were out of fellowhip their brethren [the people of God] and therefore with God [and this invariably because of sin]. This is the "death" described in Eden. Lk 15:11-32 reflects the truth of this brilliantly -the son that was lost [dead] is now found [alive].

    Lk 15:32 "It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found."

    If by "literal" is meant "physical" then we are presented with problems beyond the text. Covenantal life is all about the restoration [or resurrection] from covenantal death -it was and is definitely "literal," it just isn't physical. As I have said elsewhere, Jesus literally meant "you must be born again" -he just didn't mean physically, it is covenantal. Nicodemus who hankered after a "wooden literalism" missed the spiritual reality [at that time] of Jesus' words.

    Recapping my original point: dying/death IS covenantal -it had/has spiritual and physical consequences, and both are very literal.

    For those of you who think this is just more "preterist mumbo-jumbo" so be it. For those of you who like to "think," I hope this has brought some understanding -and by "understanding" I don't mean you have to agree with me on this.

  5. The Messenger

    The Messenger Member


    i agree, to an extent Mandy. for the sake of the argument's parameters set by the following quote by parousia70, the question in fact can be answered so far as pertaining to the ressurection. the fact Adam lived physically in paradise i think says much though.

    there are 2 types of death, spiritual and physical. no other type of death is spoken of in the bible.

    it does not matter if 1 or 10,000 bites are needed, or if the tree of life is a literal tree or not, the fact that access to it was needed for eternal life is suffecient.

    also the only tree they were forbidden to eat of was the tree of knowledge, the tree of life is not mentioned until after they had already disobeyed God

    Genesis 3:23-24
    Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing 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" --therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken.

    again, let me say it does not matter if these trees are allegorical or not, Adam and Eve had eaten the fruit of the tree of knowledge and sinned, bringing about spiritual death, since they had done this they apparantly were unworthy to stay in paradise and have access to the tree of life, otherwise there would be no reason to kick them out. this brought about physical death.

    more on these 2 deaths in the New testament.

    now the tie in to the resurrection, but first a reminder of what the fruit they ate did; it gave knowledge of good and evil.

    Christ came and redeemed us from the curse of law. he accomplished this on the cross.

    Galatians 3:13
    Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us--for it is written, "Cursed be every one who hangs on a tree" --

    why is this important? because of what the law does. it too gives knowledge of good and evil the same effect as the fuit of the tree of knowledge.

    Christ's sacrifice redeemed us from the law, reversing the effect of knowing good and evil, the reason for the bansishment that cut us off from the tree of life.

    we later learn The Holy Spirit gives us this Spiritual life as Paul attests to:

    Ephesians 1:7
    In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace

    Romans 8:10
    But if Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness.

    so we see we have spiritual life..redemption. before mortal death. the curse brought by the eating of the tree of knowledge has been removed. but our bodies are still doomed to die they are still mortal, even if our spirit is not.

    this brings us to the resurrection, the redemption of the body that is spoken of by someone who already has spiritual redemption.

    Romans 8:11
    If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit which dwells in you.

    romans 8:10 shows us our spirits are alive, but our bodies are dead Romans 8:11 shows our mortal bodies will be raised as Christ's was.

    so do we then have access to the tree of life?

    Revelation 2:7
    He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

    the salvation process is the exact reverse of the cursing process. first, disobeying God(committing sin dying spiritually) an eating the fruit of knowledge of good and evil brought about the banishment which brought about physical death(no access to the tree) Christ came redeemed us from the curse of the law. acceptance of the gift of Grace countered the effect of the fruit of knowledgegranting spiritual life), then through the spirit dwelling in us we are raised, brought back into paradise, and granted access to the tree.
  6. GW

    GW Veteran

    The Messenger,

    God bless.

    I really can't believe that you are still using Gal 4 to prop up your views that you have redemption (which you do not have according to Gal 5:5; Eph 1:13-14; Eph 4:30; Luke 21:28; Gal 4:5,9-12; 4:19-21; 5:1-5).

    And, you're still using Romans 8 to prop up some SECOND redemption/adoption thousands of years apart from and different than the Gal 4 adoption/redeemption, which you call a first "spiritual one" in your system of eschatology. Yet Eph 1:13-14/4:30 lists your "spiritual" one (i.e., believing and being filled with the Holy Spirit) and calls it an "EARNEST of the redemption," and not the redemption! Eph 1:13-14 shows that you only have the EARNEST of the redemption but you do NOT have redemption (Eph 1:13-14; Eph 4:30), which is also why you can't go to Heaven in your eschatology until some future second coming perhaps thousands of years away.

    Preterists have the redemption and not a mere earnest. Preterists have an opened Heaven teeming with joyous saints and departed loved ones.
  7. Hi parousia70 very good subject. Now may be we can get into a biblical view of death. God does give us some idea of what would have happend if Adam and Eve would have eaten from the tree of life and lived forever. One thing God shows us here is that He did not won't Adam to live for ever in that present condition. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever. (Genesis 3:22)

    The very thought of Adam living in that present condition forever seemed to have taken God's brath away. In other words it was something about Adam living forever in that sin condition that God did not won't Adam to live forever.

    God also tells us that something changed with Adam after he sinned. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings (Genesis 3:7) So it was something about their "change and falling-sin condition" that God did not won't Adam to liver forever.
  8. Aman brother davo.

    To be dead, as used in the Bible, can mean different things. It can mean to be dead physically; it can mean to be dead spiritually; or it can have yet another meaning. It is the last two interpretation of `the death' that will be our subject of study. However it takes some spiritual maturity to be able to answer that challenge. Let's look at a passage of Scripture that gives us a feeling for this third definition of death.

    Then He said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, `Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!' Therefore prophesy and say to them, `Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves. I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it and performed it," says the LORD.'" (Ezekiel 37:11-14)

    During the Babylonian captivity Israel was cut off from her homeland. They spent seventy years in another country. (Here's the point.) Israel was cut off from the promised land was, in the sight of God, as dead! All these Jews were alive physically, but as the Lord showed Ezekiel they were a valley of dry bones in a grave nationally. God in restoring His people to their own land uses the figure of graves opening and His people coming forth in national resurrection. Read again the passage form Ezekiel.

    If you now understand this third meaning of death (national Jews cut off from the promised land), then you possess a valuable in understand the resurrection of the dead. What God did for Israel national, He later did for Iisael spiritually. In order to understand the Bible we most see things the way God see's them.
  9. davo

    davo Member

    G'day Mani, good post. Just by way of clarification for those following along. I agree with your post, however just to pre-empt confusion -I'm not actually talking about a 3rd option with respect to 'death.' I'm attempting reframe how we look at it. 'Covenantal death' brings separation to the "whole" man, physically and spiritually -i.e., temporally and eternally. We are either in relationship with God [LIFE] or we are not [DEATH]. And your reference to Eze shows this -thankyou. :clap:

  10. The Messenger

    The Messenger Member


    i have the redemption Paul had and spoke of in the present tense pre 70ad, which is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. since i have the spirit that raised Christ from the dead in me when i die life will be givin to my mortal body also.

    well if you do not like God's way of doing things i really do not know what to tell you, look how long it took from the fall to the redemption from sin the cross bought! spiritually i am connected to heaven now.

    so does this mean your in your immortal glorified body NOW? no? then your still waiting on THAT promise are'nt you? your still waiting on physical redemption to go along with your spiritual redemption...no different than Paul.

    there are 2 redemptions clearly spoken of.
  11. Hi davo. This is the very point I was trying to show Willis for those following along. When Adam was casted out of the garden he was then separated of God and was actually seen as [DEAD] This separation was apart of the [sin death] that was passed down to all men through Adam.

    It sometime blows my mind that our futurist brothers don't comprehend this is why Jesus said we mustall be born again. To be born again of the Spirit of God is called biblical resurrection. Those who have eternal [life or have been resurrected have no need of resurrection.
  12. parousia70

    parousia70 Livin' in yesterday's tomorrow Supporter

    United States
    I believe the although the tree of life was not mentioned specifically before the fall, it had to be included in this statement by God:
    Ge 2:16
    And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat;

    We know the only exception God gives to this statement is the tree of Knowledge, therefore the tree of life MUST be included with the term "every tree" yes?

    My issue here, is that Adam had free will before the fall.
    God makes it clear that access to the tree of life is what would enable Adam to "Live forever". I can't help but conclude that Adam, via his free will, would have had the ability to choose not to access the tree of life, had he not fallen.

    I do not believe it can be argued that it is only "speculation" to say Adam had the free will to choose to access the tree of life or not, for the fact he had free will before the fall is biblically established. The only speculation would be how he would have excercised that free will, and I'm not going there.

    All I need to do to legitimize my question is estalish the fact that he would have had the choice access the tree of life or not, had he not fallen, and I believe I have done just that.

    This is where it gets sticky for many people.

    Since it would have been Adams choice access the tree of life or not, had he not fallen, I do not see how it can be argued that had he not fallen, he automatically would have lived physically forever. That is pure speculation, and in fact, unknowable.

    Therefore, we can not claim with any certainty at all, that physical death was not a reality for man before the fall.

    We can not claim that the fall ushered in the reality of physical death for man. Therefore we can not assert that part of Christ's function is to "restore" that which can not be extablished was lost in the fall.

  13. My point exactly brother. Christ never said he came to restore man from physical death. As a matter of fact Christ stated that he came to do the very opposite (John 3:3-8)
  14. Willis Deal

    Willis Deal Member


    We CAN claim, fully supported from scripture, that the fall ushered in physical death.

    Let's assume you are correct, that Adam would have needed access to the tree of life to live forever. How does that change anything? The very fact that the tree of life existed in the garden PROVES that God intended for man to live forever, since as you pointed out God gave Adam permission to eat from all trees. So it WAS God's will for Adam to eat from the tree of life, just as it was God's will for Adam to abstain from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. If Adam goes against God's will then he dies.

    As a direct result of Adam's sin he was denied access to the tree of life. Physical death becomes a reality because there is now no way for Adam to avoid physical death.
  15. GW

    GW Veteran

    That is a blatant denial of the scriptures which never calls believing and the Holy Spirit the "redemption." Quite the contrary:

    Eph 1:13-14
    in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the EARNEST of our inheritance UNTIL the redemption of the purchased possession

    What part of this verse don't you understand? Believing and being filled with the Spirit is an EARNEST UNTIL THE REDEMPTION. Notice how careful Paul is here to say that believing and being filled with the Spirit is NOT the redemption. Yet you blatantly deny this and call what you have (belief and the Holy Spirit) "the redemption." You are stuck and there is no way around this.

    What is the "purchased posession?" THE CHURCH! (Acts 20:28). When does the Church get redeemed? In Paul's future at the time he was writing Eph 1:13-14.
  16. The Messenger

    The Messenger Member


    that is what i assume too, i would not go so far as to say MUST though, but i believe it was included.

    that is possible, in our physical life we can choose to commit suicide or not... ;)

    actually, that choice you refer to was the choice to disobey God and partake of the forbidden fruit, the immediate consequence was denial of access to the tree of life. Remember, Adam & Eve were informed that if he ate the fruit they would die. Satan told Eve "you will not die" They chose to believe Satan. but it seems they did not die? what is this! did God lie?

    the answer is they did in fact die, biblically speaking there are 2 modes of existance(actually they are mixed together) spiritual and physical Adam and Eve did not physically die at the fall, therefore the death must have been spiritual since that is the only mode of existance left by process of elimination.

    much later in history we see that accepting the gift of Grace removes the penalty of knowing good and evil, which is a choice as well, to Believe God or not, which was the choice Adam and Eve had. we also know that choosing to believe God(Jesus) will grant us access to the tree of life.

    the reverse is also true(and for the same reasons you just gave); we can not claim with any certainty at all, that physical death was a reality for man before the fall. Adam knew he had a choice, God told him if he chose to disobey he would die. he chose not to believe it.

    in the act of "falling" physical death was in fact brought about by choice God told Adam he would die if he ate the fruit, he chose to eat it. and BECAUSE he ate it he was denied access to the tree of life, which eventually DID kill him physically...remember, God told him if he did this thing, he would die.

    congratulations! you have just intellectualized the meaning and the purpose of the cross away! do you then agree with the assertion that the cross was a "mere death"?

    scripture tells us in no uncertain terms Christ died for our sins. alright, so why would he do that since you just philosophied the reason away?

    Galatians 2:20-21
    I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification were through the law, then Christ died to no purpose .

    Romans 3:20
    For no human being will be justified in his sight by works of the law, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
  17. The Messenger

    The Messenger Member

    GW your forgetting the "earnest" IS the Holy Spirit. you get the Holy Spirit by accepting the Gift of Grace...

    Acts 2:38
    And Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    and what is this "forgiveness of your sins"? also refered to as?

    Ephesians 1:7
    In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses , according to the riches of his grace

    and why do we need redemption from the law?

    Romans 3:20
    For no human being will be justified in his sight by works of the law, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

    just like that fruit eh? i do believe that brings us back on topic...
  18. The Messenger

    The Messenger Member


    where did all my preterist buddies go?
  19. davo

    davo Member

    LOL :D Messenger -perhaps they've been "ruptured" ;) [only joking mate :) ]

  20. parousia70

    parousia70 Livin' in yesterday's tomorrow Supporter

    United States
    I'm back...

    Willis, you make it sound like If Adam had chosen not to access the tree of life, he would have disobeyed God.
    This is simply untrue.

    Ge 2:16
    And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat;

    "may freely eat"

    This is not God instructing adam that he "must eat" from every tree. God is saying to Adam, you are free to eat of every and any tree you so choose.

    The only tree God said Adam was not to eat was the tree of knowledge. Choosing to eat that tree was the only choice Adam could have made that was "against" Gods will.
    Choosing not to eat from the tree of life would not have been against Gods will as you would have it, for Gods will was for Adam to eat "freely", not "forcibly" from every tree except the tree of knowledge.

    I see from much of your post, we can find limited agreement.

    What I disagree with is the same thing I disagree with Willis about (imagine that). You seem to be claiming by your suicide remark that Choosing to abstain from the tree of life would be choosing against Gods will, when God mad it clear that Adam was "free" to eat from it before the fall, not "forced" to.

    The only choice that was against God was the choice to eat from the tree of knowledge. Thats the only one. Adam could choose one day to eat a pear, then choose the next day not to eat a pear but to eat a mango instead. This choice not to eat the pear would not have been against God as you would have it, because Adam was "free" to eat from every tree.

    Your statement that I have intellectualized the meaning and the purpose of the cross away, couldn't be farther from the truth. I don't believe the Cross was a "mere" local execution with no ramifications for us today any more than I believe AD70 was a mere "local" coming of Christ with no ramifications for us today.

    Christ's finished work restored our seperation from God.
    I believe Physical death was a reality for man before the fall, but once the fall erected the barrier between man and God, Physical death became a big problem. Christ fixed the problem, and now physical death has been restored back into Gods servant to bring man into a deeper level of human existance, which I believe was it's original purpose, intended from the foundation of the world.

    Physical death, in and of itself, is not a "barrier" between man and God.

    I'll say it again,
    Christ didn't come to "restore" that which was not "lost".
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