the tree of life

edited December 1969 in Youth Corner
So he drove out the man; and he placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 3:24)

Why did God have to guard the tree of life?


  • i had this same question before.
    The tree of life grants immortality. if man, after he had sinned, ate of the tree of life, then he would have been in this state of sin forever. so God protected the tree of life for our sake, because He knew of His redemption plan. so after God redeems us, now we can have immortality and eternal life. so we are now dwelling in immortality without the sting of sin
  • so WHO was God protecting it from? the devil?
  • no from us...
    the tree of life was in the garden of eden, in the midst of all the other fruits. after adam sinned, he could have just went up to the tree of Life and eaten of it. THAT would have caused him to eternally be in sin. obviously thats bad and it didnt fit with Gods plan for us to redeem us. i hope this helps
  • so back then they could just walk right into the garden of eden?
  • As a kid, I always wondered: what happened to the Garden of Eden? Where did it go? Where did the flaming sword go? Otherwise, is part of it allegorical/symbolic?
  • [quote author=Knowledge That Glows link=topic=11605.msg139503#msg139503 date=1308107204]
    so back then they could just walk right into the garden of eden?

    You are correct; the passage has no practical connotations it is meant to dictate how servants of the Lord keep what is unholy away from his presence and in turn it also a prophecy about us too because we are the new fiery angel protecting the tree today.

    Fire generally represents holiness and presence of God; the tree of life is still guarded by fire and it is only through fire that we can approach it; it is like the burning bush in Exodus, the fire represents the divinity of Christ Who was contained within the womb of St Mary.  The image is meant to express how the holiness of God which is consuming and powerful would end up dwelling with men through the incarnation.  A mediation of one of the saints said that we now eat of the tree of life again because the tree of life is the Eucharist; the body of the Lord is the fruit hanging from the wood of the cross (tree).

    Christ also practically refers to how we must become fire saying in the Gospels - I have come to start a fire and how I wish it was already kindled.  John the Baptist also alludes to this by saying that the baptism is by the Holy Spirit and fire.  There are also lots of references to the fire of God in the saints like this story from the desert fathers:

    Lot went to Joseph and said, "Abba, as far as I can, I keep a moderate rule, with a little fasting, and prayer, and meditation, and quiet: and as far as I can I try to cleanse my heart of evil thoughts. What else should I do?"

    Then Joseph stood up and spread out his hands to heaven, and his fingers shone like ten flames of fire, and he said, "If you will, you can become all flame."

    This passage is also in a modest way a prophecy about us because the deacon who stands with abouna guarding the body with the candle represents the Cherubim guarding the tree; it also represents the anointed and baptised Children of God protecting the tree from the unbaptised and unclean who cannot approach the fire before they are purified.

    The Genesis passage is full of these symbols which are meant to be prophetic references to God's plan for us; another one is the Spirit of the Lord hovering over the face of the waters (which is a reference to baptism before God had even created anything!).  This is to show how it was always in God's plans for us to be united with Him.

    God bless,

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