10. Eden had the tree of life, but Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat it.
We are not specifically told that Adam and Eve could not or did not eat from the tree of life that was in the middle of the garden. But it would appear that the fruit of this tree was a feast for Adam and Eve once they passed the obedience test depicted in the forbidden tree. Revelation 2: 7 speaks of eating from the tree of life granted to those who “conquer” or “conquer”. Obviously, Adam and Eve did not overcome temptation. They were supposed to rule over creation, but they could not rule over their own appetites. Because of their disobedience, they were forbidden to eat from the tree.
Revelation 22 reveals that the opportunity for God‘s people to eat from the tree of life is not lost forever. Instead, the tree of life is gloriously planted in the center of the great coming garden. In Eden, the trees bore fruit in their season, that is, once a year. But in the new and better Eden, the tree of life produces a new crop of fruit every month. In Eden, the tree of life grew in the middle of the garden. But in the new Eden, the tree of life grows on either side of the river. It seems to have multiplied and spread, implying that everyone will have access to it; all will be welcome to have enough to eat. And it is not only the fruit that will nourish us; the leaves of this tree will heal us. In fact, they will heal everything.
Sometimes we hear the story of the Bible told as Creation-Fall-Redemption-Restoration. But as good as Eden was, we didn’t just go back to Eden like we used to. The story of the Bible is Creation-Fall-Redemption-Consumption. We look forward to a home that will be even better than Eden.
Content adapted from Even Better Than Eden: Nine Ways The Bible Story Changes Everything In Your Story by Nancy Guthrie. The article was originally published on Crossway.org; used with permission.
Nancy Guthrie teaches the Bible at his church, Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in Franklin, Tennessee, and at conferences around the world. She and her husband, David, are co-hosts of the GriefShare video series used in more than 10,000 churches nationwide and also host respite retreats for couples who have experienced the death of a child. Guthrie is also the host of Help me teach the bible, a podcast of the Gospel Coalition.
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