Immortality and the Tree of Life

Question

In Genesis it speaks of the Garden of Eden and mention two trees in particular. The Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. God tells Adam and Eve they can eat from every tree in the garden except for the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. My question is: So could Man eat from the “Tree of Life”? Thank you.

1 week

Answers

  1. What a thoughtful question! Before the sin of listening to the bad advice of the snake, God did not forbid eating from the Tree of Life. In fact, it is described as being “in the middle of the garden,” in the most central and convenient location. Had they eaten from it, they could have been immortal. The Torah states, “And God commanded man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat. But of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil you shall not eat of it, for on the day that you eat thereof, you shall surely die.” (Gen. 2:16-17)

    In a sense, Adam and Eve, before the sin, were neither mortal nor immortal. When they sinned, their reality was determined as mortal, but had they not sinned by eating from the Tree of Knowledge, their reality would have been determined as immortal.

    Interestingly, the Tree of Life was guarded by Cherub angels, and the only other item in the Torah that was “guarded” by Cherub angels is the Holy Ark. The Ark (Aron), which contained the Torah, was covered by two Cherubs. The Torah is also called a “Tree of Life.”

    However, unlike Adam and Eve who lost immortal life through their sin, the Jewish People who sinned with the Golden Calf were nevertheless allowed to partake of the Torah — which is the eternal Tree of Life. Through the study and fulfillment of Torah we can achieve clarity of reality and a purity of existence that theoretically makes suffering, and even death, unnecessary, and allows the human being to achieve a close and immortal relationship with the Creator, despite having eaten from the Tree of Knowledge.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team