10. Eden had the tree of life, but Adam and Eve were prohibited from eating from it.
We’re not told specifically that Adam and Eve could not or did not eat of the tree of Life that was in the midst of the garden. But it would seem that the fruit of this tree was a feast for Adam and Eve would enjoy once they passed the test of obedience represented in the forbidden tree. Revelation 2:7 speaks of eating of the tree of life being granted to those who “overcome” or “conquer.” Clearly, Adam and Eve did not overcome temptation. They were meant to rule over creation but they couldn’t rule over their own appetites. Because of their disobedience they were barred from eating of the tree.
Revelation 22 reveals that the opportunity for God’s people to eat of the tree of life is not gone forever. Instead, the tree of life is gloriously planted in the center of the greater garden to come. In Eden, the trees bore fruit in their season, which means once a year. But in the new and better Eden, the tree of life yields a new crop of fruit every month. In Eden, the tree of life grew in the midst of the garden. But in the new Eden, the tree of life grows on either side of the river. It seems to have multiplied and expanded, implying that everyone will have access to it; all will be welcome to eat their fill. And it’s not just the fruit that will feed us; the leaves of this tree will heal us. In fact, they will heal everything.
Sometimes we hear the story of the Bible told as Creation-Fall-Redemption-Restoration. But as good as Eden was, we’re not merely headed back to Eden as it once was. The story of the Bible is Creation-Fall-Redemption-Consummation. We’re looking forward to a home that will be even better than Eden.
Content adapted from Even Better than Eden: Nine Ways the Bible's Story Changes Everything about Your Story by Nancy Guthrie. The article originally appeared on Crossway.org; used with permission.
Nancy Guthrie teaches the Bible at her church, Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in Franklin, Tennessee, and at conferences worldwide. She and her husband, David, are the cohosts of the GriefShare video series used in more than 10,000 churches nationwide and also host Respite Retreats for couples who have experienced the death of a child. Guthrie is also the host of Help Me Teach the Bible, a podcast of the Gospel Coalition.
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