It is odd that Adam and Eve chose not to eat from the Tree of Life when it was right there available. Odd, but not beyond understanding.
Adam and Eve chose not to eat of the Tree of Life because they did not feel an immediate need to do so. Nor did they have a desire for its fruit that was strong enough to compel them to eat from the tree.
In retrospect, we know now they were in trouble long before they were in trouble!
Go Forward Or You Will Go Backwards
I’ve often said over the years, “If you’re not going forward in God, you’re going backwards.” That statement gets mixed results. But Adam and Eve prove my point.
We all know they ate of the forbidden tree. The tree of knowledge of good and evil. But why didn’t they eat of the tree of life? For God Himself had said that if they had chosen to do so, they would have lived forever:
Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now lest he stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever…So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim, and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way of the tree of life.Genesis 3:22, 24
Apparently, there was a graduated state of life that was somehow dependent upon them eating of that tree. This is so even though sin and the subsequent curse of death had not yet entered the world.
If this sounds odd, it’s not. For that would have been nothing more than Adam and Eve living within a context of faith.
This is not unlike what will occur in New Jerusalem during the eternal age when the leaves of the tree of life will be for the “healing of the nations”:
…And on either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.Revelation 22:2
God doesn’t provide a lot of narrative with that statement. But we know that God is a God of faith. So, it’s not odd that the nations during the eternal age somehow will be afforded “healing,” whatever that comprises, by going to a God-appointed source.
And what a coincidence. That source just happens to be in the center of the capitol of New Jerusalem, headquarters of God.
To get these healing leaves, one must either camp out around the trees, or depart where they are to get to the trees, which is probably an immense area capable of accommodating huge crowds.
That’s quite an interesting fact that in the new glorious and perfect world, the tree of life will again require personal initiative if one is to benefit from it.
This is just one of the many ways in which people will continue to demonstrate acts of devotion and faith toward God.
Understanding the eternal principles of devotion and faith toward God helps us understand the placement of the two contrasting trees in the garden of Eden.
Ultimately, Adam and Eve were going to demonstrate their devotion and faith to God (or lack thereof) by choosing one or the other. There simply is no such thing with God as being neutral.
You are going forward or backward.
He who is not with Me is against me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.Matthew 12:30
It’s forward or backward.
Details of Why Adam and Eve Didn’t Eat from the Tree of Life
Concerning Adam and Eve, I think I know some details of why they didn’t eat of the tree of life. I believe it is directly linked to their perceived need to eat its fruit. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say their perceived lack of need.
We can learn a lot by examining their mental state before the great fall. I’ll raise possibilities that can help us take a more aggressive approach to seeking God and spiritual growth, and thus help us not to repeat their mistake.
Was Adam and Eve Too Busy to Eat of the Tree of Life?
It is a fact that regarding spiritual health busyness is often deadly. Jesus gave an end-times warning that can be applied to Adam and Eve.
But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.Luke 21:34
It’s the reference to “cares of this life” that we need to see.
Cares of this life is not necessarily inherently bad. Often they are inherently neutral, neither good nor bad. Is it bad to mow the lawn? (Some would say absolutely!)
Is it it bad to paint a room or shop for groceries? What about balancing the checkbook or watching over your investments?
We could name thousands of routine activities that are morally neutral. Yet, each thing requires time and attention and mental energy. And guess what? There’s only so much of that to go around.
Think about it. How often have you planned to do a critical activity only for it to be pushed aside for a less critical but more pressing demand?
You know. Demands such as your invited guests this evening are expecting your famous buttermilk cornbread. Problem is you’ve just noticed you don’t have any buttermilk.
So off to the store you go on New Year’s eve to get buttermilk. Unfortunately, other folks are making buttermilk cornbread, too. There is no buttermilk. You go to another supermarket and find the precious smelly, lumpy substance.
This was an unplanned 50-minute “care” of this life. It was a nuisance and a time-eater. But it was not sinful. Yet, a thing does not have to be sinful to be deadly.
Deadly Distractions Kept Adam and Eve From Eating of the Tree of Life
It is a fact of life that many people are so consumed with the pressing, routine busyness of life that they never find time to take care of the critical activities that are exponentially more important.
Things like finding out where they came from, why they are here, and where they are going.
Discovering and getting right with God.
I believe Adam and Eve fell into this lethal, blinding, busyness cycle. We know they had a lot to do. God had put them in charge of the entire world. It was a good job.
But apparently they were so engrossed in the legitimate cares of running the world that it distracted them from the more critical need to eat of the Tree of Life.
Are we similarly distracted by routine cares that we have no time left for God?
Did Adam and Eve Not Understand the Benefits of Eating of the Tree of Life?
I find it hard to believe Adam and Eve did not know the benefits of eating of the Tree of Life.
We know for a fact that God had given them every tree of the garden except the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil:
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”Genesis 2:16-17
They were too intelligent not to connect the dots. If eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil produces…death, then eating of the Tree of Life produces…yes, life!
For me, this adds recklessness to their negligence.
But it’s easy to throw mud balls at others. What about us? Isn’t it true that we know of things that would benefit us if we’d only do them? Yet, for some reason we just–don’t–do it.
Were Adam and Eve Planning to One Day Eat of the Tree of Life?
This one reminds me of when Paul the apostle preached the gospel to a wicked ruler, and the guy put off making a decision to another time:
And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.”Acts 24:24-25
Did Felix ever get around to delivering his soul from eternal damnation? We don’t know.
We do know that Adam and Eve never got around to eating of the Tree of Life. But were they planning to one day eat its fruit?
For Felix, it was his love of sin that kept him from eating of the Tree of Life, which for him was Christ. But what of Adam and Eve? Could their lack of urgency have been caused by their perfect environment?
“You think we should eat from the Tree of Life, Adam?”
“Eve, we’ve got all of eternity to eat of the Tree of Life. Let’s go name some more animals.”
It is an ironic and sad truth that we can all attest to. It is simply easier to seek God when we’re in trouble and in pain than when we aren’t. God speaks of this unfortunate trait of human nature in many places in the Bible. Here’s just one of them:
When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you. Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God…Deuteronomy 8:10-11
(Read the entire chapter for full effect.)
Are we falling for this most lethal of traps? Have we been conquered by peace and prosperity and lack of trouble?
It is time to seek the Lord.
Did Lack of Hunger Cause Adam and Eve Not to Eat of the Tree of Life?
Perhaps Adam and Eve didn’t eat of the tree of life because they weren’t hungry.
Actually, I don’t believe hunger for food had anything to do with their decision not to eat of the tree of life. For what did hunger have to do with their decision to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil? Nothing.
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.Genesis 3:6
They ate from the tree solely for the promise of the power behind it. For the tree’s potential good taste and its beauty had always been there. But until this point of Satan’s temptation it had always been unappealing due to God’s command not to eat of it.
Nonetheless, like all sin, its tastiness and beauty became more appealing each moment Eve looked at the tree and pondered, What if…?
There Was A Lack of Spiritual Hunger for the Tree of Life
It is apparent that the tree of life had always been available to Adam and Eve, and that they had always put off eating of it. We’ve examined some possibilities as to why this was so. Now let’s look at a certainty.
Unlike the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which captured their attention and drove them to eat of it, Adam and Eve found nothing compelling about the tree of life.
They already had life, and the tree of life promised nothing but more of the same. Trying to get excited about that tree was like trying to get excited about the Bible or prayer or worshiping God.
All good and always available. If I can’t get around to it today, I’ll try to make time for them tomorrow. But even then, if not, God is love. He understands. I’ll get around to it when I can.
Adam and Eve lightly esteemed the gift of God, and therefore there was no desire to pursue it. We see how their story ended.
What about us? Have we failed to pursue our own tree of life? If so, it’s only a matter of time before we eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
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