Is the Tree of Life a metaphor?

Is the Tree of Life in the Bible a metaphor?

Trees are often used in Scripture as symbols of life, the fruitfulness of righteous people for example, is likened to a tree filled with life (Prov. 11:30), and the fullness of life and honor is associated with righteousness (Prov. 21:21)

The tree was a physical means of conducting a spiritual transaction, the very essence of a sacrament.

The fruit of the tree of life was "good for food" and Adam was told that he could "freely eat" of it (Genesis 2:16).

However, he was not required to eat its fruit to stay alive! He was created by God to live without dying at the time, with only one restriction—that is, he was not to eat of "the tree of knowledge of good and evil," for that would cause him to die both spiritually and physically (Genesis 2:17).

Genesis 2:17

17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

In Genesis 3: 22 God uses the reference “ the man has become as one of us” The “us” refers to God Himself, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

What we know about the tree and its fruit is that God said man would live forever like Him, the Son and the Holy Spirit, if he was to eat from the tree, which takes it out of the metaphoric aspect and into actual application.

This is to say that the tree of life is an actual tree, in the actual Garden of Eden on Earth, now hidden from man.

Genesis 3:22–24

22 And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

23 Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.

24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

The tree first appears in Genesis 2:9 and Genesis 3:22-24 as the source of eternal life in the Garden of Eden.

Genesis 2:9

9 And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 3:22-24

22 And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

23 Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.

24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

It appears in the Book of Revelation (Chapter 22) as a part of the new garden of paradise. At that point access to the tree is no longer forbidden, but they have right to the tree of life (Rev 22:14).

Revelation 22:14

14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

A similar statement appears in Rev 2:7, where the tree of life is promised as a reward to those who overcome.

Revelation 2:7

7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

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© 2020 Tony - Antonakis Maritis