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Did they eat from the Tree of Life?

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posted on Jan, 23 2012 @ 01:51 PM
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My question is; Did the writer of the Garden story in Genesis intend us to understand that Adam and Eve ate from the fruit of the Tree of Life?

(Hopefully, putting it that way will pre-empt any debate about whether we take the narrative literally or metaphorically or don’t believe it at all. The question of belief or unbelief ought to be irrelevant.)

The Tree of Life is “the other tree” in the Garden, the tree which Adam and Eve were not forbidden to eat.
Nevertheless, once they had offended God by eating from the Tree of Knowledge, they were expelled from the Garden lest they eat from the Tree of Life “and live for ever”.

Discussions about this story often take it for granted that “living for ever” would have been the effect of a single act of eating from this Tree, in the same way that “knowledge of good and evil” was apparently the effect of a single act of eating from the Tree of Knowledge.

On that assumption, of course, we’re obliged to conclude that Adam and Eve did NOT eat from the Tree of Life (since otherwise it would have been too late to prevent them)

The problem with this assumption is that it leads to all sorts of logical tangles. The apparent implication is that Adam and Eve could have given themselves immortality, if they were quick enough, by rushing to the Tree of Life and taking the fruit before God had the chance to expel them. Thus they would have been able to frustrate God’s intended penalty, which seems absurd.
In Milton’s version of the story, this leads to what one commentator has called “an embarrassed qualification”;
“… Lest, therefore, his now bolder hand
Reach also of the Tree of Life, and eat,
And live forever, dream at least to live
Forever…” Paradise Lost, Book XI, ll 93-96

It gets worse. The Tree of Life was in the centre of the Garden, where they might have passed every day. As already mentioned, they had not been forbidden to eat it. Are we supposed to think that nothing but the vagaries of chance prevented them from picking this fruit, even before they were tempted by the other Tree, and gaining an irrevocable Immortality? And if this was possible, why had the Tree been placed there at all?

There is a way to cut through these logical tangles. We do it by abandoning the idea that Immortality comes from a single act of eating from the Tree. Rather, Life comes from the regular eating of this fruit, and lasts as long as the regular eating continues.

This new assumption opens up the possibility that Adam and Eve were eating from the Tree of Life before they were expelled. In fact I will go further and suggest that the whole point of placing Adam and Eve in the Garden was that they should be eating from the Tree of Life as long as they were living there. “Living in the Garden” goes together with “eating from the Tree of Life”; they are one and the same thing.

This theory makes more sense of the act of setting up the Tree in the centre of the Garden. Instead of being placed in the centre to be ignored and forgotten, as the other interpretation would have us believe, it is placed at the centre in order to be the daily staple of their lives.

It also makes more sense of the expulsion decree. “Lest they eat” would need to be taken as “Lest they continue to eat”. God knows that they will live indefinitely if they are allowed to eat indefinitely, so he expels them from the Garden in order to cut off their access to the Tree. And that is how the sentence of death is carried out. They no longer have “Life” in the same sense as before; they have become subject to death. To use a metaphor which has only become possible in the modern world, the human race has been unplugged from the mains, and is now running on batteries.

I find support for this approach in the last chapter of Revelation, for it seems to me that the author of that book (who is closer than we are to the writer of Genesis) understands eating from the Tree of Life in exactly the same way that I do. The Tree of Life in the New Jerusalem gives fruit all year round, indefinitely, so that it can be eaten indefinitely. If a single act of eating was enough, we would only need one fruit for each inhabitant.

We are told in the Genesis narrative that the Tree of Life was at the centre of the garden where Adam and Eve had been established. I believe that we are meant to understand that this Tree was central to their lives, and that they were eating from its fruit as long as they were allowed to do so.




posted on Jan, 23 2012 @ 02:25 PM
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My personal opinion is the tree's are a metaphor. I don't believe they ate of anything but participated in a sexual act in which they were warned not to pro-create. Seeing their animal instincts overcame them God then became furious and cast them out to have their children elsewhere.
We are told they ate fruit and sinned but it's also said that God told them to go forth and be fruitful. The "apple" was probably a metaphor for Eve's virginity. Like "cherry" is today.

Again this is my opinion, but think about it.
edit on 23-1-2012 by TheLieWeLive because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 23 2012 @ 02:31 PM
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reply to post by TheLieWeLive
 

I think we're talking about different trees.
You're offering a comment on what was meant by the act which God deemed sinful, the act which was, or is represented by, the eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.
I'm talking about the other tree, the tree which they were NOT forbidden to eat.



posted on Jan, 23 2012 @ 02:44 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


I understand that but if one is a metaphor it stands to reason the other one could be as well. For Adam and Eve to live immortally could be referencing to their DNA. In that sense they are immortal because their DNA would be around as long as the human race is.

I'm not saying for sure I'm just offering other ways to look at it. There are so many parables in the bible you never really know for sure.
edit on 23-1-2012 by TheLieWeLive because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 23 2012 @ 02:54 PM
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reply to post by TheLieWeLive
 

I'm not denying the possibility that the Tree of Life may be metaphorical.
But even if a statement is metaphorical, we need to establish exactly what statement is being made before we can understand the metaphor.
Does the author mean that they did not eat from the Tree of Life, even when they had the chance, and that the chance was then taken away from them (one conventional view)?
Or does he mean that they DID eat from the Tree, up to the moment when their eating was interrupted (the view offered in this thread)?
The choice between these two versions of the statement does not depend on whether the statement is taken literally or metaphorically.



posted on Jan, 23 2012 @ 02:55 PM
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I've always thought that the Tree of Life was something that they had to CONTINUE to eat from (not a one-off act) in order to remain immortal... rather than something that would have waylaid the consequences of eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

View the Tree of Life as something that, like any other food, has immediate (but rarely long-lasting) benefits; cellular regeneration, perhaps... you'd have to continue eating that fruit to see the effects continue, would you not?

So, in essence, what I'm saying is...

I agree wholeheartedly - and I think the Bible does too. Your point in terms of Revelation and the returned access to the Tree of Life is not insignificant.
edit on 23-1-2012 by Awen24 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 23 2012 @ 02:59 PM
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reply to post by Awen24
 

Thank you for your contribution.
I'm glad to see that I'm not the only person thinking this way.
But I've seen so many comments, including some from theologians, based on the "one-off" interpretation, that it seemed desirable to put forward the alternative.


edit on 23-1-2012 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 23 2012 @ 03:01 PM
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Revelation describes a restoration back to whatever was the best and it is symbolic of what we have now which is the word of God to sustain us spiritually. It should not be taken literally, as if we go to a garden in the sky to eat fruit from a real tree.
But to answer the OP's question, that would be the central source of sustenance for the first people, the tree of life and the rest was to fill in the space with useful and good and pleasant surroundings.



posted on Jan, 23 2012 @ 03:12 PM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 

Thank you for that contribution.
I think in essence you're agreeing with my main premise; that whatever the Tree of Life represents, the fact that the "first people" were deprived of it, temporarily, does not mean they were not benefiting from it previously.



posted on Jan, 23 2012 @ 03:20 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


It is an interesting question. Let's say there is an actual fruit bearing tree that provides infinite life. Do you think it could still exist? I've heard the fertile crescent which is said to be "The Cradle of Civilization" could be where the Garden existed but I have a hard time of picturing a place we will never be allowed back into existing there. This is again why I lean to the tree and even the garden being metaphorical. There is also the kabbalah tree of life, which I don't know enough about.

I can tell you don't like my opinion, you haven't thanked me for contributing.
Oh well, you can't please them all.



posted on Jan, 23 2012 @ 03:26 PM
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reply to post by TheLieWeLive
 

Thank you for that contribution.
I'm inclined towards the metaphorical myself. I think the Garden represents a state of existence rather than a place, and the point of the Tree of Life idea may be something like "getting life direct from God". I used the analogy of the difference between being plugged into the mains and running on batteries.



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 08:31 AM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


The way i heard it from a massianic jew, they had to eat from the tree of life once a month to maintain their vitality. The question is, not wether or not they ate from the tree of life but who the tree of life is.

Choose the tree of life, and have eternal life. Choose the tree of death (knowledge of evil) and have eternal death. The Tree of Life was the good tree, the Tree of Knowledge was the evil tree. This can be represented as a metaphor or allegory of choosing between Jesus Christ or choosing Lucifer (Satan).

Jesus said "I AM the truth the way and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me".

At the same time i also believe Jesus was the flaming sword gaurding the way back to Eden. Unless you can pass his test you cannot ever go home and make no mistake, this earth is not our home, Eden is.
edit on 24-1-2012 by lonewolf19792000 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 08:39 AM
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reply to post by lonewolf19792000
 

Thank you for that contribution.
It would be interesting to know if that is the interpretation of Jewish scholars in general.
This seems to confirm my view that the "one-off" theory -which, as far as I know, holds the field in conventional Christian theology- was a false step.



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 08:49 AM
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Originally posted by lonewolf19792000
The Tree of Life was the good tree, the Tree of Knowledge was the evil tree. This can be represented as a metaphor or allegory of choosing between Jesus Christ or choosing Lucifer (Satan).

Revelation certainly makes clear that from a Christian standpoint the Tree of Life is inseparable from Jesus;
"To him who conquers I will grant to eat of the Tree of Life..."- Revelation ch2 v7
edit on 24-1-2012 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 10:39 AM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 

I did a google search using the term,
"one-off theory" in Christian theology,
and got no hits, so you may want to fill us in on what you are talking about.


edit on 24-1-2012 by jmdewey60 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 11:58 AM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 

Sorry- "one-off" theory is a privately-invented term for the idea I was contesting in the OP, viz. that a single act of eating from the Tree of Life would have conveyed instant immortality. I think many people, including Milton, have found the story confusing because they assumed that this is what the author meant. The express purpose of the OP was to disagree with that assumption.



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 04:44 PM
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From, "The Life of Adam and Eve" otherwise known as, "The Apocalypse of Moses"
This is a translation by G. Anderson, of the critical Greek text by M. Nagel

17.5 And I said: "Yea, we eat of all, save one only, which is in the middle of paradise, concerning which, God charged us not to eat of it, for, you shall die the death."
University of Virginia
This is classified often as among Jewish apocrypha but is probably early Christian (see: Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament As Part of Christian Literature: The Case of the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs and the Greek Life of Adam, pages 186 & 199) .

edit on 24-1-2012 by jmdewey60 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 05:15 PM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 

Interesting.
Yes, that quoted phrase certainly ought to imply that the Tree of Life was included among the trees they were eating.
Yet further down the same page, when God is explaining the expulsion decision, the writer quotes him as saying about the Tree of Life

...that you taste not of it and lived for ever...

which suggests that a single taste would have been sufficient.
(Although, on second thoughts, I ought to go back and look at the Greek text for that verb)

Ps; I can't. Either the site or my browser won't let me.


edit on 24-1-2012 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 05:22 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


Go to this site Google Books
You can try that, because this is the source of what is on that web page I linked to on my last post.
There is a search box and you can try entering a relevant key word and see if it comes up.
Or buy the book
www.amazon.com...=wl_it_dp_o_npd?ie=UTF8&coliid=IGZNWDA5X74BH&colid=WVGDGZ7BJPP
for $32.85
edit on 24-1-2012 by jmdewey60 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 24 2012 @ 05:24 PM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 

Thank you for that link.
I'll investigate.



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