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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Tree of Life

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etc. Whatever may have been the frame and texture of Adam's body while in Eden, it is certain that, being "of the earth, it was earthy," and was thus liable to disease and exposed to decay; just as his soul; at the same time, was liable to the greater evil of temptation by being exposed to the power of the tempter. Hence, while "every tree of the garden was given for food," the tree of life, in the midst of the garden, was provided by Infinite Wisdom as the appointed antidote of disease or decay of the body while, at the same time, the enjoyment of spiritual life, or the indwelling of the spirit of God, and the right of access to the tree of life, thus securing immortality, were conditioned on our first parents not eating the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge (Genesis 2:9-17). The various references to the "tree of life" evidently consider it to have been the divinely appointed medium for securing the immortality of our first parents (Proverbs 3:18; Proverbs 11:30; Ezekiel 47:12; Revelation 2:7; Revelation 22:2; Revelation 22:14). See Reineccius, De Arbore Vitae (Weissenf. 1722). (See LIFE).

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil, of which they were forbidden to eat under penalty of excision from the tree of life, and consequent death, which also occupied a conspicuous place in the garden, was the divinely appointed test of good and evil, the means whereby God would try and prove the faithfulness and obedience of our first parents. It was the test of moral' good and evil, i.e. of holiness and sin, and of consequent happiness or misery (Genesis 3:1-24). When, through the instigation of the tempter, the first human pair disregarded the command of their Creator and partook of the fruit of the prohibited tree, they lost the indwelling of the spirit of God, and forfeited the right of access to the tree of life. On that day the sentence of death was awarded to the guilty pair. They were now dead in the eve of the divine law, and the same condemnation passed upon the whole race of man. By partaking of the forbidden tree, they obtained an experimental sense of the distinction between good and evil. Hence their expulsion from Eden and removal from the tree of life was an act of mercy as well as of justice; for, had they been allowed to retain the use of the tree of life, it would, in their condition, have sustained them in an immortality of guilt and misery. See Miller, De Abode Boni et Mali, et Arb. Vitae (Lips. 1755); Journ. of Sac. Lit. Oct. 1862; Jan. and Oct. 1864. (See EDEN).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Tree of Life'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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Saturday, August 15th, 2020
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19
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