Passage: Genesis 2:4–2:17
In the beginning, God made two trees, the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and gave humanity a choice.
The Tree of Life is one major “bookend” of the Bible. It shows up in the Garden of Eden in Genesis, and in the New Jerusalem in Revelation. That’s a pretty significant achievement!
I have never heard the two trees of Eden preached on well. Most people fall into the trap of basically saying that God made a bad tree to test humanity, but that pretty obviously makes God the author of evil, and therefore evil. I’m always intrigued by the early church’s approach to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil—they are pretty ambivalent about it. Knowledge is a good thing, and everything God created was good, so the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is also good. Most early Christians suggest that God’s prohibition was probably temporary—that once Adam and Eve grew in knowledge and fear of the Lord, then in their mature state God would have opened the fruit of this last tree to them. Calvin, too, suggests that the sin of Adam and Eve is taking a shortcut to knowledge through disobedience, rather than going through the slower, better work of growing in knowledge and obedience of God.
The Tree of Life, of course, points us to Jesus. That’s been the interpretation of all Christians from the New Testament to this day. And that’s what makes tree-imagery in the Bible so powerful.
To see this sermon in the context of the entire worship service please open this bulletin.