What is the Tree of Life?
info This commentary was written by a volunteer for our Bible translation project. It’s not an official view of our project; we are not a religious denomination and we do not establish doctrine. These commentaries reflect a variety of views and some disagree with each other.
According to Genesis 2:9, God put ‘the Tree of Life’ in the middle of the Paradise of Delights (Garden of Eden). And one of the reasons why God expelled Adam and his wife from the Paradise was (according to Genesis 3:22) to keep them from eating the fruit of that tree and continuing to live. So, was this a real tree?
Well, since the account speaks of the possibility of their eating its fruit, we must assume that it was a real tree. For the Bible simply doesn’t tell us anything more.
And if there was such a tree, this raises the question of whether Adam was truly created perfect and had the ability to live forever, as some say. For if he was, then, why would he have needed to eat from the Tree of Life?
Surely Adam wasn’t imperfect in the beginning. But the fact that God had created a Tree of Life indicates that he needed to prove his faithfulness to God in order to continue living. Yet, such a conclusion raises these questions:
· Does this mean that man was created mortal and corruptible (see 1 Corinthians 15:50-54)?
· Does this mean that Adam would have to partake of the Tree of Life continually to remain alive and free from the corruption of the aging process?
· Will there be Trees of Life on the earth in the future?
· And if so, must mankind continue to eat from these trees in order to become undying and incorruptible?
The following thoughts are just suggestions based on our continuing study of the Bible, and that with more study, these conclusions may change. However, it appears as though man was created mortal (capable of death), for why else would he need the Tree of Life?
Yet, all mention of the Tree (or Trees) of Life in the Bible seems to indicate that partaking of it (or them) is just a one-time requirement. (See Genesis 3:22 and Revelation 2:7). And if these conclusions about the meaning of the words at 1 Corinthians 15:50-54 are correct (see the commentary, ‘God’s Promise of an Inheritance’), the faithful will be raised without any need for the Tree of Life.
For, since they will have already proven themselves righteous, the Bible indicates that they will be resurrected as undying and incorruptible.
As for the future, the Bible does say that there will again be a Tree (or Trees) of Life.
For notice what Jesus promised (at Revelation 2:7):
‘I’ll allow the one that conquers to eat from the Tree (gr. Xylou) of Life that is in the Paradise of The God.’
And at Revelation 22:1, 2, John wrote:
‘Then he showed me the River of the Water of Life…
It was crystal clear and flowing out of the Throne of The God and of the Lamb, down the middle of its street. And on both sides [of the river] were the Trees (gr. Xylon, plural?) of Life, which bear twelve [crops of] fruit, putting out fruit monthly;
And the Trees’ leaves are used for the healing of the nations.’
So, who will eat from these trees? It appears as though all that have not previously been in a covenant relationship with God (the ‘nations’ or ‘ethnics’) will be allowed to partake of the tree’s life-giving fruit once they’ve proven themselves faithful. But then, that is just speculation.