Q: I have various questions about the two main trees in Eden, “the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life.” Is the tree of good and evil, the tree of right and wrong as determined by each person who is leaning on their own understanding? Does eating the fruit of it result in false judgment against ourselves and others? I had thought the tree of knowledge of good and evil allowed one to know not only evil but what true goodness was as well.
Is the tree of Life, “the tree of Christ,” as to who He is? Does eating of it (of Him) result in us walking in the Way, the Truth, and the Life?
A: I appreciate your questions. The tree of good and evil produced fruits that were attractive to the eye, but were deadly to the soul. This is what I understand about this matter. When Adam ate of the tree, he fell from an innocent state into a fallen state. This fallen state would pervert everything from what he perceived about life to his attitude towards God, his conduct towards others, and the fruit that his life would ultimately produce. The results proved to become a point of delusion to the mind, bitter to the heart, despairing to spirit, and destructive to the soul. The tragedy is that this state became inherent and has been passed down to Adam’s descendants who would become far removed from understanding what constitutes “goodness” (Romans 5:12-14). In their fallen state they would be separated from God, judged by their conscience that at birth retains the knowledge of God, and condemned by the Law.
The tree of knowledge of good and evil did not reset the standard of what is good and evil; rather, man who knew nothing but goodness, would end up experiencing nothing but evil, and without the standard of righteousness would decide what was right or wrong for himself regardless of how it affected others. In this particular scenario, right and wrong for man would be based on the soulish state of man, which would come down to how something that makes him feel about self, how he looks to others, and whether it makes him king in his environment.
If man does not come back into a relationship with God, he would have no real contrast or gauge in which to know the purity that identifies true goodness. Keep in mind, man can’t start from a point of perversion and end up in purity. Romans 3:10 tells us none is good, while Romans 7:18 presents the case that there is nothing good in the flesh and Isaiah 64:6 makes it clear that man’s best is as filthy rags before God. It is clear, unless man knows God, he can’t know what is really good and that is why Jesus stated that only God is good in Matthew 19:17.
As far as the tree of life it serves as a shadow of the cross, the work of redemption, and the fruitful trees of righteousness. Jesus died on a tree to secure redemption for us so that we can be made in the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). Believing entails accepting new life as being so, receiving it points to assimilating it by faith, and walking in it out in obedience is the means to gain it in its fullness. We must believe the truth that Jesus died in our place, receive by faith the gift of life and then walk in the way of righteousness to experience the fullness of this incredible gift of life.