“Two Trees in Paradise”
God planted two special trees in the middle of Eden: the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They represent two out of the three most important trees in the Bible (the third being the cross).
The tree of life stands for all life created by God, and he declared it “good.” It is a tree of justice, beauty, truth, love, light, and righteousness. While in the garden, Adam and Eve ate freely from the tree of life.
To eat from, be grafted into, or take hold of this tree is to obtain everlasting life. Thus, by definition, the tree of life stands for Christ. The rest of the Bible centers on the tree of life.
The other tree planted in the middle of paradise was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This tree opens the door to pride, evil, greed, arrogance, hatred, cruelty, malice, ugliness, and callousness. To eat from this tree is bad, while to consciously avoid this tree is good. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil symbolizes death, and death is bad.
God put the poisonous tree in the middle of the garden, where Adam and Eve couldn’t mistake it. “This tree will kill you the minute you eat from it,” God warned. He then offered some helpful advice: “The tree of life is always here right beside temptation—just to remind you.” Beside every bad decision in life, there is a good alternative.
Sadly, Adam and Eve made the wrong decision. As a result, the couple would no longer have access to the tree of life, meaning they would age and then die. And as if that weren’t enough, they would be evicted from paradise.
With the first day’s devotional, we have only dipped our toes into the first three chapters of the Bible, yet we see that God places the most important events under, around, on, and next to trees. Thus far, in today’s Scripture, we’ve seen fig leaves used in an attempt to hide human shame, the earth grow thorns and thistles, the tree of life taken away, and the gates of paradise locked. We’ve seen humanity lose its innocence. But don’t despair: while brutally honest, the Bible is a story of hope and redemption.
What decision is weighing on your mind now? How can a godly ethical perspective guide you to make the right choice?