Greetings Dear Readers:
And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:9 CJB.
The text starts with the words “Out of the ground.” Have you ever thought about what lies beneath our feet? The intricate system of life and death; seeds dying, breaking, growing, root systems sprawling, the coursing of water, insects and animals burrowing, organic matter decomposing, pressurizing of rock, mineralization, fossilization… the list goes on and on.
A stunning creation and a perfectly governed ecosystem, is this complex realm of existence, underground. We don’t see it happening but what lays beneath our feet affects our lives. Just as God created the trees from out of the ground so is it that man was created from the same substance.
Our very lives are connected to the existence of plant life. Consider the perfect balance of exchange. Man breathes in oxygen by which the trees produce for us by absorbing our carbon dioxide. A well thought out plan that only the Creator could accomplish.
God gave us plants, herbs and fruit-bearing trees as food, even medicine for wholeness and health. Look at the animals. Even they know instinctively to eat grass when they feel sick.
In Hebrew, “Tree of Life” is translated as Eitz Chaim and is championed as God’s gift to man.
The tree of life bears a different fruit than the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The difference first lies in the seed.
In Hebrew, the word for knowledge is da’at. Da’at is learned behavior. It is through da’at that one can learn to walk, talk and tie their shoes. It is da’at that causes one to know math and science through study or observation. Da’at is the reason of man. It is man’s ideas, calculations, determinations and conclusions. Da’at (man’s knowledge) is not evil, in and of itself, but it can be used for good or evil as man chooses. The fruit of da’at has within in it good and bad seed. This seed is man’s motive.
This tree of the knowledge of good and evil was problematic and was forbidden by God as He ordered Adam and Eve not to eat from it.
Adonai, God, gave the person this order: “You may freely eat from every tree in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. You are not to eat from it, because on the day that you eat from it, it will become certain that you will die” (Genesis 2:16 CJB).
Why would God say this?
Mankind has a tendency to boast in knowledge. We see man relishing in the advancement of medical science, technology, space exploration, food modification, automation and robotics. We work hard on education. Elevating certifications, degrees and position, we strive to become wealthier, ministering to our need to acquire “things.” To many, knowledge becomes a constant pursuit in making life more comfortable while creating a showcase for others to recognize. We are very proud of our accomplishments.
Even though much has been gained through the knowledge (da’at) of man, we have also created endangerment to our ecological system, air and water quality. We have become sick through artificial food. We have created jealousy and covetousness and in the grand scheme of things, a serious arms race and the threat of World War. The list goes on. Good seed and bad seed.
Because Adam and Eve chose to eat of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they became sowers of this seed. Seed that allows man to determine what is good and evil, what is right and wrong. Their dependence was no longer on God guiding them in the ways of righteousness. They had no need of Him. The serpent told them they would be just like God as they would be ruler and judge of their own lives. It is inherent within the nature of man to please himself. Man desires the “good life” which most often includes riches and the ability to live a long and healthy life.
In those days, there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes, as written in Judges 17:6 KJV. In Proverbs 14:12 (KJV) it says, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
Let’s now look at the other tree mentioned in Genesis.
So he drove the man out, and he placed at the east of the garden of ‘Eden the k’ruvim and a flaming sword which turned in every direction to guard the way to the tree of life. Genesis 3:24 CJB.
Until a person comes to the realization that there is a serious need for God’s guidance in life and the leadership of the Holy Spirit to direct their behavior, God will guard His tree of life.
What is the tree of life?
The tree of life is not the da’at of man but rather the divine wisdom of God. In Hebrew, the word is chokmah. Divine wisdom is not learned nor does it come from the intellect of man. It is supernaturally received when one seeks God and asks for it. It is gained only by trust in God. Lack of faith and fear keeps many from finding it.
“Happy is the man that findeth wisdom (chokmah), and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her” (Proverbs 3:13 KJV).
Notice the proverb is comparing this wisdom to be far better than the desire of man’s selfish desires of riches gained by his own da’at (knowledge). Then, as irony has it, the very goals of man’s selfish pursuit of wealth, health and long life are integrated anyway as a blessing in the result of trusting in God’s chokmah to guide you in life. So the question now becomes: In what way will man obtain his knowledge and thereby his health and wealth?
“He that trusteth in his riches shall fall; but the righteous shall flourish as a branch. The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise” (Proverbs 11:28 KJV).
We must take an inventory of our lives. Where have we planted trees based on our own knowledge puffed up with motives of self-exaltation? Are we gloating in our own accomplishments? Are we self-righteous? Are we self-aggrandizing? Are we self-oriented?
If so, we need to pull up the roots of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that we are eating and sowing from and seek to eat from the tree of life. We must walk up to the angel guarding the tree and ask for the flaming sword of the Holy Spirit of God to cut from within us the wheat from the chaff, the stubble from what is pure, what is of the soul and what is of the Spirit. We must ask for refinement and purification. We must abase ourselves (repent) and be willing to be purged of self –righteousness. We must die to ourselves and enter into covenant through the shed blood of God’s Messiah that allows us to enter the path where the wisdom of God is freely given.
On February 11, 2017, the Jewish people will be celebrating Tu bish’vat. This ancient celebration is beautiful as it commemorates the dying and breaking of seeds underground that will soon break forth above ground for our provision of health and breath.
Yeshua said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (John 12:24 KJV).
Man can either depend on his own knowledge believing in what can be proven only by science, or he can trust in the unseen, having faith in the Word of God and His promises. God offers His Wisdom freely to those that ask.
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:15 KJV).
God instructs those who are His, who struggle with wanting to trust in their own da’at (knowledge of man) versus trusting in His chokmah (the divinely imparted wisdom of God). His instruction is to repent of falling away and ask Him to refine you again.
“Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (Revelations 2:5-7).
The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord, and the wisdom of God (chokmah) is the tree of life.