October 31, 2020

The Council

Proclaiming the truth to the world.

The view that looks most promising to me about the tree of life is that it wasn’t some magical tree that supplied immortality.

The tree of life is apparently some kind of sacrament (that is, there is no reason to believe it is magical) that would confirm the man in his moral condition: hence he needed to gain (or retain) access to it by obedience and would have been rewarded by being confirmed in holiness forever. This is why God does not want him to have it after his sin (Gen. 3:22): he would then be confirmed in his sinfulness forever, and this is horrible. This would explain the use of this tree as an image, both in the Old Testament (Prov. 3:18, applied to wisdom; 11:30, to the fruit of the righteous; 13:12, to desire fulfilled; and 15:4, to a healing tongue: they are means to keep people on the path to immortal happiness)50 and in the New Testament (Rev. 2:7; 22:2, 14, 19, where it functions as a symbol of confirmation in holiness).

C. John Collins. Genesis 1-4: A Linguistic, Literary, And Theological Commentary (Kindle Locations 1292-1297). Kindle Edition.

Gen. 3:22, 24 refers to the “tree of life” and says that if Adam had been able to eat from it, he would have been able to “live forever.” Presumably, the tree there represented the presence of God, which would impart eternal life to all who could enter it.

Beale, G. K. (1999). The book of Revelation: a commentary on the Greek text (p. 1107). Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press.

The common objection is that Revelation 22 teaches it was a literal tree. The pseudo exegete will ignore the presence of the metaphors of the “living waters” and “robes” that are being employed to force their conclusions. The connection to the Tree of Life is to fit into the New Creation presented in the previous chapter. Revelation 22 is connected to Isaiah 35 and Ezekiel 40-48.The more important point of the chapter is the life-giving power of Christ and not about mystical trees.