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I understand how the creation narrative in Genesis can be interpreted to fit within an Evolutionary Creation perspective. In such a paradigm God used Evolution to beautifully create the biodiversity that we see in nature as well as create sufficiently intelligent beings (us humans) to enter into a growing relationship of responsibility and trust with. I can see how the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil can represent both humanities willful disobedience to God’s revealed will (Sin) as well as an image of humanity choosing to determine morality for ourselves, and in the process alienating ourselves from God and suffering spiritual death as the result. Yet, in Genesis 3:22-24 God seems to be afraid of Adam and Eve reaching out and eating of the Tree of Life because they would live forever. So my questions are as follows:

What does the Tree of Life represent in the Evolutionary Creationist interpretation of Genesis 3?

Why would God be afraid of Adam becoming immortal? Is God not able to prevent such an event?

Physical immortality seems to run counter to natural selection and the cycling of resources and space that is required for evolution to work. If the Tree of Life is what it seems (an antidote to physical death) was it part of God’s plan for Humanity to never suffer physical death? If so why create with a method that requires physical death to begin with?

If the Tree of Life is the antidote to the death that Adam suffered after sinning and that death is Spiritual death then why would God be afraid of him partaking of such a tree? Isn’t this exactly what Jesus is/does for us?

Thank you for your insight. This question is one of the only ones keeping me from feeling that my Biblical faith is compatible with the truth of evolutionary biology.

*cross-posted in Biologos Forum

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Q1. How does the Tree of Life fit in Evolutionary Creationism?

I don't think it does. Trying to fit the tree of life into the philosophy of evolutionary creationism is like trying to fit a catapult into into the Ferber method of sleep training a baby. You are taking the description of a physical object with it's purposes and trying to view it through a lens of something that is not related. The best place to start for a comprehensive view of the tree of life would be to do a biblical search on that phrase and write down observations.

Q2. Why would God be afraid of Adam becoming immortal? Is God not able to prevent such an event?

First, we would have to justify God being 'afraid'. While that's an interpretive option, i don't think there's enough evidence to justify "fear" with certainty. In this chapter we see consequences for sin combined with continual care for the man. My best guess on how to interpret this section is: 1. Taking from the tree of life means Adam will live forever and 2. God didn't want Adam to live forever - maybe it was because Adam has experienced fallen-ness and because of God's love for Adam, He didn't want him to live forever in a fallen state.

Q3. If the Tree of Life is what it seems (an antidote to physical death) was it part of God’s plan for Humanity to never suffer physical death?

I think so.

Q4. If so why create with a method that requires physical death to begin with?

God created life not death. This physical death was warned about, the warning was ignored, man sinned, and the consequence of physical death took place. From the text one could conclude that death could have been completely avoided by not sinning.

Q5 If the Tree of Life is the antidote to the death that Adam suffered after sinning and that death is Spiritual death then why would God be afraid of him partaking of such a tree? Isn’t this exactly what Jesus is/does for us?

If we observe the details of the resurrected Jesus along with 1 Cor 15, I think the resurrected body is something entirely different than a person in his/her sinful state not being able to physically die.

  • Thank you for your input, what are your views of creation and evolution? – Oren Peterson Aug 6 at 20:57
  • My view on creation is the biblical view. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth..gen 1:1 Jesus talking., "And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them (adam and eve) from the beginning made them male and female," Matt 19:4. Jn 1: Jesus being God and with God created all things. I believe God created the universe exactly how is listed in the scriptures. I believe micro evolution exists however I do not believe micro evolution is evidence for change of "kinds"- I believe the common ancestry of all living things is a philosophy of science vs fact. – Lionsden Aug 8 at 15:51
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I think you’re comparing apples and bricks. Genesis isn’t “wrong”, it’s just not a science text. Like trying to get science out of a love song. Trying to get it to match a scientific principle is just plain bad science.

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