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I was reading Genesis of the First Testament and came across the following excerpt, Genesis 3:22-23 (KJV):

[22] And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: [23] Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.

My Question is why eating of the Tree of Life a second time would make Adam and Eve and therefore the whole humanity gain eternal Life?

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  • The first matter to clarify is the wording which Robert Young disputes. Lo, the man WAS as one of Us, as to the knowledge of good and evil [YLT]. ... Now he is not (as one of us) and must be banished. – Nigel J Oct 8 '20 at 14:11
  • is there a particular denomination's point of view you are looking for? – depperm Oct 8 '20 at 14:33
  • What makes you think they ate of the Tree of Life a first time? – Mike Borden Oct 8 '20 at 21:34
  • @NigelJ Is Young suggesting that the serpent tempted them to try and become what they already were? That's odd. – Mike Borden Oct 8 '20 at 21:46
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    This question is based on two assumptions that aren’t (as far as I can see) biblically sustainable. (1) - eating for the second time. (When/where is the first?). (2) That eating would result in ‘eternal life’). (You’re equating living forever with/to eternal life. They are not the same.) – Dave Oct 9 '20 at 2:20
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Here is my personal view w/o assuming Satan said a lie. There were 2 Trees in Eden Garden. 1) Fruit/Tree to comprehend Good and Evil and 2) Fruit/Tree for everlasting life. Consuming 1) is haunting Humanity and World is still blindly chasing comprehensive skills and the eternal fall of Man seems to have conquered the Hearts of Men. May be being thrown out of the Garden and not eating 2) Fruit/Tree has not made the fall of Man and sufferings due to his comprehensive skills eternal (this is tree of everlasting life) and gave scope for the redeemer to come and recover a Man from the fall due to 1). Therefore throwing Man out of Eden Garden and does not allowing to have access to 2) is within the logic and providence of God given his eternal knowledge and wisdom. Wish others comment on my view.

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It's an assumption that the whole of humanity would live forever. The only people in the garden at the time are Adam and Eve and the only reference God makes is that they would live forever. I'd like to set this issue aside as it's not, IMO, relevant to the question.

Before the Fall of Adam and Eve, they were already eternal. They were physically perfect and sinless but, by implication of the Father's statement, ignorant and naive. At that time they could eat of the Tree of Life all they wanted and nothing would change.

Once Adam and Eve tasted of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, three things happened. (a) Physically they began to decay. (b) Spiritually they had broken a law. (c) And mentally they became aware of what we today might call the "vagaries of life." They knew before tasting that fruit that it was contrary to God's command to eat it. But they didn't understand why or what the consequences would be until after tasting the fruit.

And here's the rub: Finally knowing both what they did and why it was wrong, they had need to repent. No unclean person, no unrepentant person, no unsaved person, can enter into the Father's kingdom — and that's part of what it means to enjoy eternal life. Had the Father allowed Adam and Eve to eat from the Tree of Life before they'd had a chance to repent, a paradox (another kind of "breaking the law") would happen.

What's the paradox?

The ability to live eternally without the atoning sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ. From a mortal, imperfect perspective, it would be cheating. In a sense, eating from the Tree of Life after the Fall without the benefit of repentance and the Atonement of Jesus Christ would break another law.

Whether you believe the Garden story to be literal or not, the purpose of God must move forward and paradoxes must be avoided. In a parabolic sense, the Tree of Life represents the ability to maintain or regain perfection — to restore ourselves (or, to restore Adam and Eve) to the kingdom of our Father. The scriptures teach that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, meaning that physical process must exist both before and after the fall — and the Tree of Life represents that physical process.

But once Adam and Eve fell, they no longer had the right to avail themselves of that process before repentance, which required more than just saying they were sorry. (And that's a much longer discussion!)

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The line between natural and punitive consequences is blurred. For instance, was Adam's death a natural eventual consequence of the new direction he had chosen? Or did God supernaturally change his constitution from immortal to mortal? Or did God's decision to drive Adam out of the garden keep him from the tree of life which was required for immortality (the implication of Genesis 3:22-24)? Or was it a combination of these?

Taking the Genesis narrative on its own, without pressing in ideas of spiritual eternal life from the New Testament, leaves "death" to refer to physical death. If that is the case, then it appears that the fruit from the tree of life was necessary to avoid natural death. Evidence for this is:

  • Death was promised "in the day" Adam and Eve would sin. Though they did not physically die that day, they were separated from the tree of life that day, which would have made their future death inevitable. It was a death sentence.
  • The angel was posted to prevent future access to the tree of life (Genesis 3:24). This implied that to enforce the punishment of death, access to the tree of life must be prevented.
  • A prominent fixture in the future age when there will be no more death, is the tree of life (Revelation 22:2). Note that there need be no conflict with the status of immortality and the need to eat food, or even the need to get certain nutrients that may only be available from one tree, the tree of life.

Obviously, all this detail is not provided in the narrative in Genesis, but this seems to be a reasonable and probable interpretation in answer to the question.

The tree of life would not give eternal life in the sense that God is the source of life and salvation, but the tree of life may be necessary in sustaining physical life eternally.

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  • In addition to this excellent answer, obviously, Adam and Eve did not eat of the tree of life before they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. – Bill Porter Oct 17 '20 at 18:14

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