Which Tree Do You Pick?

God has given mankind the ultimate test to determine if we will be in His family: two trees. What do these two trees teach us about the decisions of our lives?

If you had to design a test to see who could become members of God’s eternal family, what type of test would you design? Would you devise a complex and formidable test that caused people to display endurance, courage and extraordinary wisdom?

Of all of the options available, God in His powerful wisdom tested mankind in one field: character.

God gives the simplest, most effective test there is: a choice.

Two trees and a snake

God created a paradise called the Garden of Eden, full of many different trees that mankind would take care of. Two of these trees were special: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life. Despite both trees being singled out as special, only one tree was forbidden—the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:9, 16-17).

With this command, God permitted Adam and Eve to have control of their destiny. They didn’t realize it, but they had been given a simple test. Their opponent, Satan, did recognize the test for what it was and decided to try to influence the outcome. Disguised as a snake, he deceived Eve into eating the forbidden fruit. Adam soon followed his wife’s example of eating the forbidden fruit (even though he was not deceived) and failed the simple test of character that God had given him (Genesis 3). They had chosen to disobey God instead of obeying Him.

What Adam and Eve did was more than pick between two trees. They also picked between two completely different ways of life.More than two trees

What Adam and Eve did was more than pick between two trees. They also picked between two completely different ways of life: God’s way as opposed to a way that included a plethora of wrong options.

There was only one way that mankind could have passed God’s test and selected His way of life: actively rejecting the way of Satan and seeking God’s way only. It’s easy to find Satan’s way of life and live by it, but living God’s way is much more difficult and can only be done by a conscious choice and active effort (Matthew 7:13-14).

A second Adam

God’s plan did not stop, even though mankind had failed His simple test of character. Instead of calling it quits for His creation, God still gives us the choice to develop the character that Adam rejected when he chose the forbidden tree.

In order to receive eternal life, we have to choose the tree of life and, with God’s help, defeat Satan. Satan attempted to convince Jesus to follow the example of Adam and select the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. While there were no literal trees, the test of character was the same: the choice between God’s way and Satan’s way (Matthew 4).

Jesus Christ, of course, passed the test and defeated Satan. Jesus, throughout His entire life, qualified to be the perfect sacrifice for sin—because He never once chose the lifestyle of the forbidden fruit. Adam, as mankind’s earliest representative, chose the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Christ, as a type of “second Adam,” chose the tree of life and started the process of reversing the consequences of Adam’s choice (1 Corinthians 15:45-49).

Your turn

Christ gave His life to pay for our sins so we can repent and be forgiven. He has picked the tree of life and made it available for His people. If we reject the way of the forbidden tree, we’ll have access to the tree of life (Revelation 2:7). We have the same test that all mankind has: We must choose between God’s way and Satan’s way. This isn’t just a one-time decision. It is a choice that we have to make every day and every hour of our lives!

Life is really that simple. There are no shades of gray. Satan tries to make it confusing, but it is a very simple choice between life and death, with the mightiest being in the universe urging us to choose life (Deuteronomy 30:19).

Which tree do you choose?

To learn more about the meaning of the two trees, read “Adam and Eve and the Two Trees” and “The Tree of Life.”

About the Author

Joshua Travers

Joshua Travers

Joshua Travers grew up and lives in Athens, Ohio. He graduated in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in social studies and Spanish education from Ohio University. He also studied theology at Foundation Institute, Center for Biblical Education, in Allen, Texas and graduated with a certificate in biblical studies in May 2017.

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