If Adam and Eve were created perfect and without death (immortal), then what is the significance and purpose of the Tree of Life in the middle of the Garden of Eden?
Here's the verse in question:
Genesis 2:16-17 NIV
16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 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.”
The opportunity to live forever
What I find most interesting is that God didn't command Adam to keep away from the tree of
good and evil life. When Adam did finally eat from the tree he was commanded not to eat from, here's what Jesus had to say to His Father:
Genesis 3:22 NIV
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.”
This verse sheds some light on what's happening. Adam certainly had been allowed to eat from the tree of life and live forever prior to this sin event. But because God is a just and Righteous God, He could not allow Adam to go unpunished, therefore taking away the opportunity for Adam to live forever in eternal damnation.
The fruit of righteousness
If we continue reading we find that there is another way to experience the fruit from this tree of life.
Proverbs 11:30 NIV
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and the one who is wise saves lives.
Proverbs 15:4 NIV
The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.
The paradise of God
Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
Wow, I absolutely love this last verse and I don't know why. We will actually once again have the opportunity to eat from this tree of life. Lastly this tree of life is displayed along the main street in the kingdom of God that leads from the entrance to the throne room. Signifying that everybody can freely eat of the tree of life and have it abundantly.
down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
I believe that God, being a fair and Righteous God, had not deprived man of the opportunity to be righteous from day one. However, man chose his own path, to sin. I don't have any doubts that God knew man would do this, but I also know that God would have been subjected to accusations from creation if he had locked the mouse in the cage with cheese and told the mouse not to eat of it.
As it is, no man can hold accusations against God, because God had given a fair opportunity to man.
GENESIS 2:9 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.
The Tree of Life represented Christ, and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil represented Satan. The two trees represented two choices that we all have, to choose the right, or the wrong.
At the end of Genesis Chapter 3 Adam and Eve are driven from the garden to keep them away from the way of the Tree of Life.
Genesis 3:22-23 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: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 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.
Isaiah 35:8 speaks of the return of this "way".
ISAIAH 35:8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.
In Revelation, we learn that overcomers can once again partake of the Tree of Life.
Revelation 2:8 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.
The Tree of Life produces fruit, which can be found in Galatians 5:22-24.
Galatians 5:22-24 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Eve (figuratively) ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil by disbelieving His Word. She literally ate from the Tree by participating in an act that is subject to much debate, and is outside of the scope of this question.
If we want to understand the tree of life in the Garden of Eden, we may find it helpful to first consider the issue of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; this tree leads to spiritual death because it is rooted in the (1).lust of the flesh, (2).lust of the eyes, and the (3).pride of life. Spiritual death means that we don't have the life of God in us, and so Adam and Eve, were cut off from the life of God in the Trinity.The fruit of the tree that caught the eye of our first parents (Eve was deceived, Adam not, he knew what he was doing), turned them to a life of self realization, and God is not in this mode at all, He is in an eternal sphere of holy self sacrificial love and humility, expressed among the Persons in the Godhead.The problem with self realization, is that it opens us up to possibilities of the knowledge of good and evil, helping us to become even more independent of God, creating our Babel, etc. The tree of life is just the opposite, for it lends itself to absolute dependence on God for everything. The tree of knowledge of good and evil hooks the flesh nature of man,and using the powerful medium of the fallen soul (fell under the flesh) to keep mankind in spiritual darkness and away from the tree of life.
The Tree of Life - Christ - Grace was always available but Saten knowing this, deceived man to seek ' Knowledge'...to be ' as God'. Jesus through His death brought again by His grace 'eternal life'. At His Crucifiction ' religion' cried for the release of Barabbas who was guilty of SEDITION and MURDER and this is what 'religion' got, the Spirit of. Religion (sedition) keeps trying to take and direct the believer to ' the knowledge of good and Evil', always back to that Tree, back to the fruit of Death. though they deny this, Whereas Jesus by His Death is saying ' eat of me the Tree of Eternal Life'. The Revelation of Ezekial 36 and the New Covenent is that this fruit of Christ, eternal life with God, is Gods work for it is Gods life through the Holy Spirit indwelling in the believer. Hence the whole Law of the Prophets can be summed up in Love God, Love neighbour and Love each other. The teaching of 'good and evil' evey Sunday takes the focus away from HIM and HINM Crucified, it is sedition and comes from the murder..this is the false spirit of religion that Kills the Christ. This is MY Body, this is MY blood, EAT & DRINK, He fed 600, 0000 in the( Church of ) Desert for 40 years, the Disciples could not discern this re feeding of the thousands. Come to Me ( Tree of Life ) all those that are weary and I will give you rest.