Ever since his expulsion from Eden, man has tried to regain Paradise by his own devices and in his own way, and this explains part of his predicament today—self-will instead of surrender, pride and arrogance instead of humility and obedience.

There is a passage in the third chapter of Genesis that is perhaps of far greater significance than we realize: “Then the LORD God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing 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 which he was taken. He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life” (Gen. 3:22–24).

To read too much into this is foolish. To ignore its significance is equally foolish.

God had ordained that man should not partake of the tree of life by his own volition. The way to life, then and now, is through faith and obedience. There is no other way. For millenniums the tree of life is not mentioned again in the Bible. Then to the suffering church in Ephesus the angel promises “To him who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God” (Rev. 2:7); while at the conclusion of the revelation given to the Apostle John we are told of man’s eternal home: “Then he showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing ...

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