2 THE TREE OF LIFE
The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:8-9)
In Genesis Chapter 2, I see God as a Gardner. Jesus also said “My Father is the Gardner” in John 15:1 (NIV). The first garden He made on the earth was Eden. God made this garden for His precious children. The environment was perfect. The woman did not need to go grocery shopping, cook or wash dishes, and do laundry. Adam and Eve simply ate fruit from all kinds of trees. Everything was organic! Adam did not work for food because God had provided their food. Adam took care of the animals. That was his job. And Eve helped him. That was her job.
God put two trees in the middle of the garden: one was called the Tree of Life and the other was called – a little bit longer name – the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil! God told Adam, “You will surely die if you eat fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.” Unfortunately, Adam and Eve chose to eat from the forbidden tree, not from the Tree of Life. They did not take God’s word seriously, that they would “surely die”. The result of their choice was exactly what God said. They died. They did not die physically on the spot. But their death started on the day Adam and Eve trusted themselves more than God. Death became part of their lives.
After they ate from the forbidden tree, Adam and Eve covered their bodies with fig leaves because they felt shame. They also hid from God and became afraid of Him and they blamed others. Adam told God “because of the woman You put here” and Eve said “because of the serpent.” Blaming is a sin we can find in our daily lives. Here are examples. If you have ever watched a Korean drama, then you have seen a woman yelling to her son “You’re just like Your father.” She never says, “You are like My husband!” Fortune tellers say, “Your life has problems because of your birth date, and where you live.” Psychologists blame the way your parents raised you and sociologists blame the schools and society. The blaming goes on and on. I blamed my spouse, parents, my society, and even God if something wrong happened to me.
I thought I could cover my weakness and shame with what I made or bought. While a teenager, I used expensive shoes, fancy bags and clothes as my cover. When a little older, I thought my education, social status, achievements and my own righteousness could cover me and make me look better. But all these things were like fig leaves-temporal and perishable, and unworthy before the eyes of God. And I wanted to hide from Him. The image of God I had before I believed in Jesus was like a judge searching for my faults.
Besides blame, shame and fear, more things were in the “Death Package” in Adam and Eve’s life: hard work, pain, inequity, labor to grow food, and finally physical death. But gracious God put another tree in the middle of Garden: The Tree of Life. This tree is the only way to wash away the poison of our disobedience.
Jesus said “I am the true vine and the Father is the Gardener and you are branches” and in Him is life (John 15:1). Tree of Life foreshadows Jesus as the only way a person can overcome the power of Death. Jesus said if anyone does not remain in Him that person is like a branch that is thrown away and dries up. Such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. These words reminded me that God told Adam, “You will surely die.” However, Jesus, the Tree of Life, is inviting us to “Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Apart from Me you can do nothing.”
Here, in the middle of my life and your life, God has put two trees: The Tree of Life and The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. I am not asking which tree we will choose because we have already chosen the second one when we sinned, and then came under the power of death. Let’s turn toward our one and only hope, Jesus! When I became a branch of the Tree of Life, I started to taste the Package of Life: love, joy, forgiveness, peace, patience, and more. Do you know what the final element in the package of life is? It is Eternal Life. “God loves the world so much that whoever believes in Jesus shall not perish but have eternal life”(John 3:16).