Genesis 2:9. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Hebrews 11:6 says that we must believe that “God exists and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him.” In other words, we must believe that God is good. That, in love, he wants to provide everything we need. And this is exactly how the Genesis account of life begins.
By the end of Genesis 2:9 there is nothing mankind needs that is not provided. Trees that are good for food are all over the garden paradise. But beyond this physical provision, God gives us everything we need to live the good life. There is beauty. There is love. There is glory. There is purpose. And all of this goodness is part of mankind’s shared intimacy and impact with the Trinity.
Everything that a person requires to live a fruitful, meaningful life is there in the garden. What more could we possibly need?
In spite of having everything we just mentioned, Adam and Eve still needed to eat from the tree of life. They still needed to receive God’s goodness into themselves in order to have his everlasting life. They needed union with God.
I believe that one of the biggest misunderstandings that people have about Adam and Eve is that when they were created they were perfect. That they were as good as humanity can get. But it is probably better to think of them as neutral. Admittedly the tree of life is very mysterious, and Genesis provides us very little information about it. But it’s clear that it offered them a level of existence beyond what they already had. Not a life where they become God or gods. But a life where they fully image God in love and holiness by receiving his life of love into themselves by grace through faith.
The tree of life pushes back against everything that we think life is about. Accomplishment. Performance. Achieving. Success. Figuring it all out. Getting it right. Being your best self. The tree of life IS the gospel in Genesis. The tree of life is an invitation. An open door to come to God and receive him. God is saying to Adam and Eve “take eat this is my life provided for you. Do you want to live? Here. Take life. Eat it. It’s all yours if you trust me.”
Now we are a long way from Genesis 2. But God still offers us his life today in a receivable form. Not in a fruit tree, but in a person – the God-man Jesus Christ. He says to us today “take eat this is my life broken for you, poured out for you, given for you.”
“To live is Christ” is to receive the life of God in the person of Christ. Life beyond your life. A life that offers you hope beyond your own accomplishments and achievements. A life that offers you love for love’s sake. For God’s sake.
God is not offering his life as a reward for those who figure their own life out. He’s offering his life as a gracious reward for those who simply “seek him” in faith (Heb. 11:6). It’s for all that would come to the tree of life, the cross of Christ, and in his death find his real life.
What is your Tree of Life? What makes you feel alive? What makes your life worth living? Is it Christ?
You in Christ
Meditate today on the reality of your union with God. Spend some time today worshiping God as the giver of both physical and spiritual life.
Christ in you
How can you make the life of Christ pleasant to the sight today so that others would want to receive it?
Playlist: Tree of Life
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