Eden. The tree of Life. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam and Eve took of one, and were banned from eating of the other. Recently, I was confronted again with the concept that God threw Adam and Eve out of Eden as punishment. However, that’s not what the Bible says:
To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” 17To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. 18It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” 20Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.
21The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22And 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.” 23So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24After 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.
Yes, they were driven from Eden, but not as part of the punishment for sin. Why then? I believe that their banishment was one of the first displays of God’s grace. He had a plan from the foundation of the world. He made them coats of animal skins, thereby enacting the blood sacrifice and providing a death in their stead. And He drove them out, away from the Tree of Life, since eating of that tree would have made them live forever… apart from Him. For if there were no death, there could be no reunion. Satan couldn’t die physically, so he was condemned to eternal death. God stepped in and disallowed that from happening to Adam and Eve by preventing them from eating of the Tree of Life.
The interesting thing is, there was another tree. There was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, a tree that made them know good and evil, that destroyed their innocence. There was the tree of life, which would have, after sin, possibly condemned them to eternal death. And another. It wasn’t in the garden, or at least wasn’t listed among the trees. But there was a plan for it throughout history as well. God planned for it before He made the world (Rev 13:8); a plan woven into the foundation of the world. A plan for Calvary, for salvation. A plan of redemption through His son and another tree, cut down and made into a cross.