In the beginning, God put two trees in the middle of the garden of Eden: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the tree of life.
Tree of Death
God commanded Adam and Eve to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, lest they surely die. This makes this tree “the tree of death.” But He did not deny their access to the tree of life until they disobeyed.
Let’s observe the process and results of the eating of the “forbidden fruit.”
Ge 3:4-6 [NIV]
4″You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5″For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
We mentioned before that the serpent availed many tactics and temptations to convince Eve and Adam to partake in the fruit from the tree of death. The lust of Man to covet God’s wisdom began, and with it came their introduction into the ways of the flesh. Their opened eyes are the eyes of the flesh, the doorway to be plunged into the natural world, or the visible reality and self-consciousness.
Before that the Holy Spirit governed every part of the spirit, soul and flesh. There was no separation between the three. (We will talk more in later chapters about this topic.) They were fully in the counsel and life that God intended for them. However, when they ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, their eyes were opened to the natural world and a wisdom alien to the one God intended for them. It began to defile their conscience and their way of thinking. They chose to go down a path other than the honored one that their Father was preparing for them. He was preparing them to be entrusted with the role and responsibility of representing Him to judge with righteousness and justice, and mediate out of love and mercy, but they chose to go their own way and seek their own kind of wisdom. Man’s freewill is a unique gift God gave so man can receive love and offer love as an agent and expression of His love to all Creation. Yet, this freewill was exploited to partake and create things out of God’s will and against His Nature, which is righteousness, holiness, love and goodness.
They began to entertain their own concept of justice and judgment rooted in having to decide what is right and what is wrong. The center of such judgment and desire is to attain man’s well being itself. Man began to take justice into his own hands. First, Man began to have his own standard of righteousness and justice. Secondly, Man began to muster his strength or power to obtain his desired justice and its rendering. This is evident in the case of Cain in only the second generation of Man. He killed his brother Abel for two reasons: first, he deemed himself mistreated by God without justice in comparison with Cain. Secondly, he allowed sin to lead him to avenge himself by killing the one who undermined his own interest, even though Cain should have been his beloved brother.
In this, we can clearly detect a pattern: disobedience leads to sin, sin leads to death, and death leads to the brokenness of human relationships against the constitution of God for the family of man. God’s plan was (and is) righteousness, peace, and love in the Holy Spirit-a life of love toward God and each other.
When Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened to this wisdom from below, they came to be assaulted by mistaken ideas.
- They knew they were naked. Nakedness is revealed to man and creation, so they began to veil it, first using fig leaves. Later, God made garments of skin to clothe them. They came to know shame, recognizing that they were not worthy to stand in the presence of God, not to mention represent Him. From that day on, the shame of sin began to taunt man.
- They began to have fear. The spirit of fear is in opposition with the spirit of Sonship as explained by Paul. (Rom 8:13-15) Fear is the result of awareness of God’s justice and righteousness. Without a mediator, they had to face the consequences of their disobedience. Because of their lack of understanding of God’s goodness, they could not comprehend the concept of forgiveness, nor did they have the means to attain it. The consequence of sin and disobedience is death. From that day on, the fear of death began to assault man.
This tree is where the curse or judgment of God was issued. It’s as if Adam and Eve hanged themselves on this tree – and never got off.
This post is _Part 2_ in a series on The Cross. To continue with this series, click on Part 3. To use this as a growth tool to better understand your own calling, you might start by reading the explanation of this series and then read Pt 1.
Photo credit: vaXzine