Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.
Here we read of the final consequence that came upon Adam and Eve as a result of their sin—their banishment from the Garden of Eden. Verse 22 reveals a key point about the reason for Adam and Eve’s removal from the garden. They were banished to cut them off from the tree of life.
To understand why they had to be separated from the tree of life, we have to understand what it symbolized. As we covered in the July 4 Daily Bible Verse Blog post on “The Two Trees,” the tree of life symbolized the way of total obedience and reliance on God through the Holy Spirit of God. God is the source of eternal life through His Holy Spirit (John 6:63; Romans 8:10).
Adam and Eve had rejected God as the total source of truth and knowledge and had decided to not obey and rely on Him. Because they had brought the penalty of death on themselves and were disqualified from receiving the eternal life that the tree of life offered, they had to be “cut off” from the tree of life.
Verse 24 provides more details on how this happened: “So He [God] drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.”
We should understand that this does not just picture Adam and Eve being “cut off” from the tree of life but reveals the overall state of mankind ever since. God, in essence, had closed access to His knowledge, His Holy Spirit and the way to eternal life from the majority of mankind.
Since then, mankind has followed the same path as Adam and Eve: being influenced by the way of Satan (1 John 5:19; Revelation 12:9), living a life characterized by human reasoning (Proverbs 14:12) and eating of the symbolic “fruit” of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God has given mankind 6,000 years to go this way to demonstrate the destructive consequences of sin. This era of history will culminate in a time when sin will become so bad that mankind will destroy itself if God does not intervene (Matthew 24:22).
The good news is that God has a plan to redeem and save human beings from the way of life that Adam and Eve chose. This plan currently consists of a small group of people that God has called out of this world and into His Church (John 6:44; 1 Corinthians 1:26; 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 17:14). The amazing truth is that God will open access to the rest of humanity in a future time (read our article on the “Second Resurrection” to learn more details about this).
To learn more about God’s plan to open access to eternal life to the rest of mankind, read “Plan of Salvation: How God’s Holy Days Reveal His Plan.”
Tomorrow on the Daily Bible Verse Blog: “Raising Cain.”