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Is there one off-limits tree in the Garden of Eden or two? Genesis speaks of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17) and then later talks of the tree of life (Genesis 3:22). Are they the same tree or two different trees?

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No. These are two different trees.

The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground--trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Gen 2:9)

At first, only one was made off limits to humans.

but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die. (Gen 2:17)

Then, after humans disobeyed, God made the other tree off limits, as well.

And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever. (Gen 3:22)

But now... it is under guard.

After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. (Gen 3:24)

In summary: There are two trees (among many) in this story, the fruit of one was forbidden, humans disobeyed God. Now we are locked out of the other tree (from which the humans were allowed to eat in the first place.)

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Genesis 2:17 says that God placed a Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the middle of the Garden of Eden, telling Adam that he must not eat the fruit of this tree. By way of explanation, the ancients thought of existence as comprising good and evil, so knowing both good and evil meant to know everything.

Leon R. Kass says, in The Beginning of Wisdom: Reading Genesis, page 69, that the Tree of Life had not been a concern, because until Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge, they were unaware that they were not immortal. As long as they had not eaten the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, God had no need to forbid Adam from eating the fruit of the Tree of Life that he had also planted in the Garden of Eden. So that the people would not now eat of the Tree of Life and thus become immortal, God sent Adam and Eve from the Garden and placed cherubim (Hebrew; sing: cherub) and a flaming sword to keep (block) the path to the Tree of Life (Genesis 3:24).

Kass believes the Tree of Life was actually more important than the Tree of Knowledge. He says that once Adam and Eve are aware of their mortality, immortality becomes at once a conscious desire and a known impossibility. By placing a tree of life in our mythical original condition, and by showing original man's indifference to it, the Garden of Eden story speaks more to the impossible longings of its readers than of the desires of innocent man. Indeed, the Bible may even regard the human longing for (literal) deathlessness as mistaken, and limitless life as undesirable for a creature such as man.

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the trees are most certainly not the same. kabala (jewish mysticism...those that have passed on deeper teachings from these days) teaches of the tree of life as a spiritual tree with multiple levels representing levels of spiritual life and that there are 3 plains on which this tree exists the low spirit the human levels and the divine....but the most basic recount of genisis clearly shows the two trees distinct at about genesis 3:22

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I was reading severall comments on this subject, but I don't see someone who wrote about the real truth about the tree of life and the knowledge of good and evil. 2 peter 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. With this on mind we can find about genesis in Romans7. But first. What is the knowing of good and evil? In Romans 7:7 God say that I had not known sin, but by the law. In Corinthinas 15:56 we find The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. God say to the man in the garden of eden that he surely die if eat from the tree. Now. Death - sin - law. What else is law if not the knowledge of good and evil. Before eating the forbidden fruit the man is immortal. He live. But when he eat he die.(surelly spiritual death). Romans 7:9-11 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. 11For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me And Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins. OK. But we know that in New Testament we have a new law. Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. This is the tree of life. And it is the same tree of knowing good and evil. Take in sight this: Romans 7:13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. Why it is so complicate to understand. I pray and hope that someone who have eyes and ears to see and hear that things.

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Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

Welcome Norbert. Sadly, this answer seems to just express your opinion, which isn't what this site is about: please take a minute to learn how this site is different from others, and review how to write a good, supported answer. – Nathaniel Sep 25 '15 at 13:53
This answer tries to cover many points not directly related to the question. It would be much better if it stated the main argument first, then dealt with the subordinate issues. Even better would be to refer to other answers for the subordinate arguments. – disciple May 15 at 18:13

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