Now if you notice, there are two kinds of trees mentioned in the book of Genesis.
1. The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil
2. The Tree of Life
There were other trees as well except the two above were especially mentioned. Now have you ever wondered what the other trees were and why only two trees were noted?
I’m not a theologian, biblical scholar, nor a pastor, but I would like to take my shot on this issue. To be honest, this requires a lot of biblical jargon. I did some google search but all the documents I’ve stumbled upon where the usual stuff you hear in the pulpit (if you’re a churchgoer), and all the documents were quite tedious to read.
If you’re not an avid reader, those articles will make you cross-eyed and not just bore but blur you to death. So here’s my honest attempt in trying to illustrate this “mystery” and I’ll make it as simple and comprehensible as possible that even myself can also understand.
First, let’s tackle about the other trees not named in the book of Genesis:
What were the other trees in the book of Genesis aside from the two aforementioned above?
What Other’s Think:
I found an article that said the other trees were actually people because there are so many instances or passages in the bible that relates people to trees.
“And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking” ( Mark 8:24).
Leviticus 26:4, 20; Deuteronomy 28:40, 42; Judges 9:8-15; 1Kings 4:33; 2King 3:25; 1Chronicles 16:33; Psalm 96:2; Isaiah 7:2; 10:18; 14:8; 55:12; 61:3; Ezekiel 17:24; 31; Hosea 2:12; Joel 1:12; Zechariah 1:8; 4:4-12; Matthew 3:10; 8:24; Luke 3:9; 21:29; Jude 11:12; Revelation 7:3; 11:4.
Yes, it’s true that there are many examples of people in the bible exemplified as trees but the other trees in the Garden of Eden were not indicated as people. The author even suggested that people were already made before Adam and Eve as indicated in chapter 1 because Adam and Eve appeared in chapter two. I believe the author failed to see that chapter two was a detailed recap and not a continuation of events from chapter one.
It is possible that we were given a clue by none other than the most prolific writer of the New Testament; the apostle Paul. Here’s what Paul said in the book of Galatians:
“But the FRUIT of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. against such there is no law” ( Galatians 5:22- 23).
It also reminded me of a Pastor friend and spiritual father, Pastor Win from Manila, who told me 5 or 6 years ago that the Garden of Eden symbolizes God’s presence. Well, it makes sense because when Adam and Eve sinned, God’s glory left (ECHABOD) and humanity got separated from God’s presence ever since.
In order for the people to behold His glory in the Old Testament, they have to do a lot of rituals and ceremonial cleansing. Unfortunately not everyone was eligible to undertake such a super strict ascetic lifestyle so that’s why not everyone were High Priests. There were only three types of people God could show himself without turning them into a pillar of salt or charred debris and these were:
The rest of the folks were kept afar and separated by the veil that’s draped over the entrance to the Holy of Holies.
Why were there only two trees named?
What Others Think:
Most thought of it as a test for obedience that is why God planted both trees in the midst of the garden side by side. We can also see a glimpse of freewill exercised here. Though this is just a skimmed overview but I agree with their viewpoints.
I also believe that the two trees represent or were a parallel of the two most basic theological viewpoints that draws a line between Judaism and Christianity.
Let me simply illustrate:
The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil —— The Law of Moses, Under Law, Merits of Do’s and Dont’s, Old Covenant
The Tree of Life ———————————— The Lord Jesus Christ, Under Grace, Law of Liberty, unmerited favor, New Covenant
To put it in a nutshell, the tree of knowledge of good and evil was already a law that requires obedience. There were only two commandments given during this time, which is:
A. “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;
B. but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, …”
Yet. Adam and Eve failed miserably in obeying these two basic commandments which was merely a case of “to be or not to be” or more like “to eat or not to eat.” Imagine the Law (Torah) that Moses received from God on Mount Sinai consists of 2,277 commandments, rules and demands found in 613 laws or Mitzvot (commandments). If people in their own rights and efforts couldn’t obey one, what more with the two thousand and two hundred seventy-seven?
In the book of Galatians, Paul argued against Christian legalisms or the Judaizers that the Law (of Moses) cannot coexist with God’s Grace (faith in Jesus Christ). Paul further illustrated this in Galatians 4:21-28.
In the book of Hebrews 8, the author reminded us that when the NEW covenant came, the OLD became obsolete.
“by calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear”. (Hebrews 8:13)
That is why there is no merging of the OLD and NEW covenants.
We Christians are given two choices just like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
Here are the choices:
A. follows the OLD and obeys the whole 2,277 commandments found in 613 laws
B. Or completely trust and put all our faith in JESUS CHRIST the Way, the Truth and the Life.
When we put our trust and faith in Jesus Christ, it doesn’t mean there is no longer a Law. There is still a Law and that Law is the Perfect Law of Liberty. It is this Law that is in work within us (not us working for it) that will make us GRACE conscious and not SIN conscious.
To make the long story short, It is Christ in us that will work out our salvation and make us righteous in Him, not us working out our righteousness for Him because we obviously can’t.
That’s why I believe when Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they forfeited their privilege found in Genesis 2:14 which is:
“You are free to eat from any tree in the garden”
They’re FREE to eat including the fruits found in the TREE OF LIFE. There were NO 2,277 commandments in 613 laws required for them to eat any fruits of any tree except the TREE KNOWLEDGE.
The moment Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, they were not allowed to eat the fruits of the Tree of Life. Since then they have to work, labor and sweat for the ground, so they could eat (Genesis 3:17-19) yet the ground will claim them on their deaths at the end.
Whereas in the garden, all are free and all they have to do was just take care of it. It’s like taking care twelve very expensive and luxurious exotic cars such as Ferrari and Lamborghini given to you freely each month for you to drive for life. Sweet!
So that’s my take! What’s Yours?