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The tree of life


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#1 Guest_Benjamin Ekman

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Posted 29 May 2004 - 05:02 PM

Dear all,

In the Hymns of Paradise by St Ephrem the Syrian the saint expounds on his vision of the Paradise. It is a very spiritual reading of the Gensis account. He ties tgether themes from the whole Bible and presents a picture of the whole economy of Redemption.

One of the fascinating parts of his theology is his treatment of the the Tree of Life and The Tree of Knowledge. He sees Paradise as a Mountain (paralleld with the Ark and Sinai), at it's summit rests the Divine Presence, the Tree of Life is seen as The Holy of Holies and The tree of Knowledge is seen as the Veil. Like many of The Fathers St. Ephrem envisions our first parents as being created in an intermediate state. They are called to realize through their free will what they are called to be: the likneness of God. They are put under the commandment to not eat of the fruit of the tree of Knowledge, if they are faithful in this they will, eventually, be allowed to eat of the tree of Life. This reading has helped me in my understanding of salvation as theosis. It makes a great deal of sense, especially when we see it fulfilled in Christ and he cross offering the fruits of the tree of Life in the Eucharist.

Do any other Fathers have this interpretation of the Tree of Life?

My problem is this: The bibical text only implies that the Tree of Knowledge was "off limits" it does not say that Adam was not allowed to eat the Tree of Life. When Adam and Eve are expelled from the Farden God says that it is so that they will not eat of the Tree of Life, but this might be (and is interpreted by many as) only that a continued eating of it will give eternal Life. How should this passage be understood? If we come to believe that Adam did indeed eat of the fruit, what do we do with the theology of St. Ephrem?
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Yours in Christ,
Benjamin Ekman

#2 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 29 May 2004 - 08:07 PM

St John of Damascus in On the Othodox Faith (Book Two, Chap.11) writes, "The tree of life was either a tree possessing a life-giving force or a tree that was to be eaten of only by such as were worthy of life and not subject to death...he [ie man]rejoiced in the enjoyment of that one most sweet fruit which is the contemplation of God, and by this he was nourished. Now, this is indeed what is fittingly called the tree of life, for the sweetness of divine contemplation communicates a life uninterrupted by death to them that partake of it. It is just this that God meant by 'every tree' when He said:'Of every tree of paradise shalt thou eat.'...

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is the power of discernment by multiple vision, and this is the complete knowing of one's nature. Of itself it manifests the magnificence of the Creator and it is good for them that are full-grown and have walked in the contemplation of God- for them that have no fear of changing, because in the course of time they have aquired a certain habit of such contemplation. It is not good, however, for such as are still young and are more greedy in their appetites, who because of the uncertainty of their perseverance in the true good and because of their not yet being solidly established in their application to the only good, are naturally inclined to be drawn away and distracted by their solicitude for their own bodies."

What St John of Damascus presents is usually a great synthesis of all of the holy fathers of the Orthodox East & especially the Cappadocians.

I am not too sure about the *theological* influence of St Ephraim & the other Syriac fathers on the later Byzantines but my general impression is that it was limited; so how St Ephraim portrays the Tree of Life could be unique to the Syriac tradition.

The second matter here is the manner of Syriac expression which revels in a level of images and analogies not usually found (at least not to that extent) among the Byzantines. It would be worth seeing whether the Syriacs had more of an influence on Byzantine hymnography than on theology. Their manner of expression is often hymnographic. St Ephraim was certainly well known by the Byzantines: the latest Orthodox Life has a translation of the Discourse of St Ephraim on the Passion of the Saviour which in the Russian Typikon may be read at the Great Friday service. But this does not directly deal with the question of the image of the Tree of Life. Remebering that the Tree of Life was seen as an image of the Cross perhaps you could look through the services for the Exaltation & Veneration of the Cross and see if any of the imagery comes close to that of St Ephraim.

I apologise that I do not have more time to go into your question (I have to start preparing for Pentecost Vigil soon!). If you read through the passage from St John above you may find some answers. Apart from this all I can say is that it is important that we see in this matter of the two Trees that the fathers did not mean to provide an absolute 'scientific' explanation. Sometimes on the surface they can even seem to contradict each other or not match up. But under the surface one can usually find common theological messages- in this case it seems that 'tasting of the Tree' is definitely connected to theosis and the spiritual state before & after the Fall.

With the Feast of Pentecost - Fr Raphael

#3 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 04 June 2004 - 07:39 AM

Dear Benjamin,

I would very much like to know the precise location of the text(s) in Ephrem to which you refer, as the subject is of great interest to me.

INXC, Matthew


#4 Guest_Jacob Gorny

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 04:20 PM

In speaking of the tree of the garden, one sees references to it according to its constitution and its fruit. In constitution, knowledge of good and evil (i.e. wisdom) IS the tree which yields life - scriptural imagery supports this reading on multiple levels in both testaments. Properly planted, seeds of wisdom (of which the gospel is a principal part) grow and develop fruit. These fruits, which are expanded upon to great detail in the NT, center on a common principle function - that of creating and preserving life.

The tree of knowledge by nature bears the fruit of life, though imagery of this portrayal varies - including streams of water and other iconic symbols of life from nature.

The important thing to note is that it is neither eating or abstinence from the fruit which condemns Adam and Eve, but the disobedient and deceptive path that they choose. Life is inherent to knowledge and wisdom - but obedience is key. If one is disobedient, wisdom gained bears no fruit: it becomes something that feeds self-condemnation and destroys life.

In stopping the humans from eating, God was saving them from destroying themselves until, as Genesis moves on, humans becomes more obedient, even unto sacrificing one's own son. As humans become more obedient, they are given more knowledge and their lives are preserved. The challenge, of course, is being perfectly obedient to the wisdom of God's will... but we know the rest of that story.


#5 Dcn Alexander Haig

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Posted 19 June 2004 - 03:24 PM

Is the Tree of Life in the Garden physically the Cross or is it an image/type of the Cross. Is this the same as in the Kingdom to come?

With love in Christ

Alex


#6 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 19 June 2004 - 04:47 PM

Dear Alex,

The Tree of Life in the Garden is an image of the Cross and not identical to it.

In the service of the Exaltation of the Cross (Sept. 14) there are a number of stichera which refer to this: "Come, all ye peoples, and let us venerate the blessed Wood [ie the Cross], through which the eternal justice has been brought to pass. For he who by a tree deceived our forefather Adam, is by the Cross himself deceived." (GNE at Lord I have Cried, Great Vespers). "The Tree of true life was planted in the place of the skull, and upon it hast Thou, the eternal King, worked salvation in the midst of the earth." (2nd stichira at Litya) "In Paradise of old, the wood stripped me bare, for by giving its fruit to eat, the enemy brought in death. But now the wood of the Cross that clothes men with the garment of life has been set up in the midst of the earth, and the whole world is filled with boundless joy." (Sessional Hymn after 3rd Ode of Canon at Matins).

The Cross therefore is also a sign of the Tree of Life in the sense that it fulfills the latter.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#7 Guest_Jacob Gorny

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 01:34 AM

Those are nice texts, Fr. Raphael.

The cross and tree of life are also suited to a dyptich comparison - St. Paul ties the concept of expiation by blood in Ephesians to the ability of God to overlook the sins of those who choose to leave the world of sin and death behind and take up their cross - the parallel with the lamb's blood on the doorposts is not unintentional, and there is much hymnography on the subject of Christ as the paschal lamb. Just as the wiping of blood on the doorposts secured the Hebrews who would follow Moses into the desert of death in hope of reaching the promised land, the cross serves an analogous yet higher purpose, allowing God to overlook our sins, granting forgiveness to those who choose to follow Christ in hopes of the ressurection and entry into the Kingdom of God.

So on some level, the Cross is a pre-Exodus image, while the Tree of Life (like the cedars) are a post-Exodus image. While we are unable to attain the Tree on our own without falling into disobedience, the Cross of Christ makes the journey and victory possible to those who submit to it.

In a way, the cross and the tree of life face each other across the chasm of death that only Christ could conquer. One is not the other, but as Fr. said above, one leads to the other.


#8 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 29 August 2004 - 07:13 AM

From a post by My Ekman much earlier in this thread:

My problem is this: The bibical text only implies that the Tree of Knowledge was "off limits" it does not say that Adam was not allowed to eat the Tree of Life. When Adam and Eve are expelled from the Farden God says that it is so that they will not eat of the Tree of Life, but this might be (and is interpreted by many as) only that a continued eating of it will give eternal Life. How should this passage be understood?


It is interesting that a related theme has since come up on another thread taking place in this forum. The notion of the state of Adam and Eve in the Garden is interpreted by most fathers as one of pure communion with God. That which makes real their immortality and incorruptibility in the Garden is this union with the source of life. When this union is broken, the realities made possible by it are lost. This seems quite in line with the reading(s) you mentioned: only by the continual eating of the tree of life, that is, only by the continual communion with God, is true and eternal life possible for man. To be separated from this communion, this tree, is to rend oneself apart from the source of life.

INXC, Matthew

#9 Guest_Callistus

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Posted 29 August 2004 - 07:25 AM

People were talking about how the tree relates to the cross. I found a whole article about this on Monachos

http://www.monachos....oss_in_ot.shtml

---tim


#10 Guest_C Robert Crawford

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Posted 23 September 2004 - 07:40 PM

Greetings brethren,

Grace and peace be with you all.

The tree of life is a type of Christ, while the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is a type of Christ's adversary, antichrist. The one tree provided fruit for eternal life (Christ); the other provided for them death (antichrist) since the scriptures inform us they would die in the day they ate thereof.

The tale in Genesis is not only a historical account, but also a prophecy of what is to come in the last times. The serpent beguiled "the woman" (notice the scripture does not say eve) in the beginning, to show that that in the end the serpent which was "more subtil than any beast of the field" would beguile the "woman" (i.e. the Church) yet again into eating the forbidden fruit.

In the scriptures antichrist and his kingdom are depicted as "beasts". That is why the serpent is likened to a beast in Genesis, to reveal to us that this account is also a prophecy of what is to come in the end.

The eternal Word commanded "the woman" not to eat of the forbidden fruit in the first dispensation, and then repeated this command to all of us as recorded in the gospels after the Word became flesh.

And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it. --Mark 11:13-14

So you see, the Church, the glorious and virtuous woman depicted in chapter twelve of the apocalypse was also commanded not to eat of a certain tree. This tree Christ commanded us to not eat of is in the midst of the nations just as the tree of knowledge of good and evil was in the midst of the garden.

Thus saith the Lord God; This is Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries that are round about her. --Ezekiel 5:5

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us. There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after. --Ecclesiastes 1:9-11

To God our Saviour be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.


#11 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 23 September 2004 - 08:09 PM

C. Robert Crawford wrote, "The tree of life is a type of Christ, while the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is a type of Christ's adversary, antichrist. The one tree provided fruit for eternal life (Christ); the other provided for them death (antichrist) since the scriptures inform us they would die in the day they ate thereof."

Can the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil really be a type of the antichrist since God Himself created the Garden and everything found in it? It would be good if you had a Patristic or other reference for this interpretation so that we could better understand this interpretation.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

PS: It is good to see the monachos forum back up & running again. I kept going through my Trebnik to see if I could find a "Moleben for Protecting Websites". Posted Image

#12 Guest_C Robert Crawford

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Posted 23 September 2004 - 08:52 PM

Greetings Father Raphael,

Can the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil really be a type of the antichrist since God Himself created the Garden and everything found in it?

Thank you for taking the time to offer your input to the discussion. In response to your question, God created the serpent, and it was found in the Garden. Yet we know that the serpent represents evil (by his own free choice), even if he was originally created perfect.

So it is with the tree. You are correct, it was created good--for everything God created was good. But as with the serpent, that which is created good can certainly be transformed to represent evil.

Bless me and pray for me father.

C Robert Crawford


#13 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 24 September 2004 - 08:19 AM

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is not a type of the antichrist. The patristic witness is quite clear that this is not so, and, rather, that this tree is in fact the image of the full knowledge of God.

Humanity was forbidden to eat of its fruit in Eden because it was not ready. But there will come a time when it shall be ready.

INXC, Matthew


#14 Guest_C Robert Crawford

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 06:42 PM

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is not a type of the antichrist. The patristic witness is quite clear that this is not so, and, rather, that this tree is in fact the image of the full knowledge of God.

Greetings Matthew and brethren,

I would be interested in reading some of this patristic witness, if you would be so kind as to point me in the right direction.

Humanity was forbidden to eat of its fruit in Eden because it was not ready. But there will come a time when it shall be ready.

Alright, but I find it interesting that in the last chapter of Revelation we see the tree of life pictured, but no mention of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Why do you think that is?

Let's back up a bit. Are you in agreement that the devil or antichrist is sometimes typified by a tree in the scriptures?

Stand fast in the Lord brethren,

C. Robert Crawford


#15 Guest_C Robert Crawford

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Posted 07 November 2004 - 08:43 AM

Ezekiel 31:

KJV/LXX

2. Son of man, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, and to his multitude; Whom art thou like in thy greatness?
2 To whom hast thou compared thyself in thy haughtiness?

8. The cedars in the garden of God could not hide him: the fir trees were not like his boughs, and the chesnut trees were not like his branches; <b>nor any tree in the garden of God was like unto him in his beauty.
8 And such cypresses as this were in the paradise of God; and there were no pines like his shoots, and there were no firs like his branches: no tree in the paradise of God was like him in his beauty,

9. I have made him fair by the multitude of his branches: so that all the trees of Eden, that were in the garden of God, envied him.
9 because of the multitude of his branches: and the trees of God’s paradise of delight envied him.

10. Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Because thou hast lifted up thyself in height, and he hath shot up his top among the thick boughs, and his heart is lifted up in his height;
10 Therefore thus saith the Lord; Because thou art grown great, and hast set thy top in the midst of the clouds, and I saw when he was exalted;

11. I have therefore delivered him into the hand of the mighty one of the heathen; he shall surely deal with him: I have driven him out for his wickedness.
11 therefore I delivered him into the hands of the prince of the nations, and he wrought his destruction.

16. I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to hell with them that descend into the pit: and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, shall be comforted in the nether parts of the earth.
16 At the sound of his fall the nations quaked, when I brought him down to Hades with them that go down to the pit: and all the trees of Delight comforted him in the heart, and the choice of plants of Libanus, all that drink water.

17. They also went down into hell with him unto them that be slain with the sword; and they that were his arm, that dwelt under his shadow in the midst of the heathen.
17 For they went down to hell with him among the slain with the sword; and his seed, even they that dwelt under his shadow, perished in the midst of their life.

18. To whom art thou thus like in glory and in greatness among the trees of Eden? yet shalt thou be brought down with the trees of Eden unto the nether parts of the earth: thou shalt lie in the midst of the uncircumcised with them that be slain by the sword. This is Pharaoh and all his multitude, saith the Lord God.
18 To whom art thou compared? descend, and be thou debased with the trees of paradise to the depth of the earth: thou shalt lie in the midst of the uncircumcised with them that are slain by the sword. Thus shall Pharao be, and the multitude of his host, saith the Lord God.


#16 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 08 November 2004 - 03:10 PM

Mr Crawford,

It is unclear the intention of your post containing solely scriptural extracts from Ezechiel.

INXC, Matthew


#17 Guest_C Robert Crawford

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Posted 10 November 2004 - 11:39 PM

Greetings Mr Steenberg,

My apologies. Pharaoh king of Egypt is one of many types of the devil or antichrist found in the scriptures. In Ezekiel 31 Pharaoh is likened to the most beautiful tree in the garden of Eden.

May the Lord bless you and keep you,

C Robert Crawford


#18 Guest_C Robert Crawford

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Posted 11 November 2004 - 10:42 AM

Greetings brethren,

Something else some of of you might want to ponder.

LXX:

And the Lord God gave a charge to Adam, saying, Of every tree which is in the garden thou mayest freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil—of it ye shall not eat, but in whatsoever day ye eat of it, ye shall surely die. --Genesis 2:16-17

Notice the distinction between the second person personal pronoun in the singular and then how in mid-sentence God switches to the plural.

"Thou" is used when speaking to another in the singular.
"Ye" is used when speaking to more than one person in the plural. You don't address an individual as "Ye".

So we must ask ourselves why God made a transition in mid-sentence when giving Adam a charge. What is the purpose of speaking to Adam in the singular when speaking of trees he could eat, but then commanding in the plural when specifying not to eat of the tree of knowledge?

One cannot get around this by saying that the Lord God was speaking to both Adam and Eve (hence the plural "ye"), because woman was not created until the end of chapter two, five verses after this command was given to Adam.

Even if it could be argued that the account in Genesis chapter two is not necessarily in chronological order, and that somehow Eve was with Adam when this command was given, that would not explain how verse 15 specifically relates that the charge (command) was given specifically to Adam, and if Eve was there beside him why wouldn't the whole verse use the plural "ye"? I think it would be a stretch to suggest that the first half of the command was spoken solely to Adam (presuming Eve was in his presence), and yet the second part of the command is meant to include her.

When you view the command, "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil—of it ye shall not eat" as not a one-time command for just one person, for only one dispensation, but in the plural sense as the pronoun "Ye" should be properly understood, then you are on your way to understanding how this command was prophetic.

Did not the woman (Eve) who was beguiled by the serpent eat the fruit of lies?

Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men. --Hosea 10:13

And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it. --Mark 11:13-14

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us. There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after. --Ecclesiastes 1:9-11

O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

C Robert Crawford


#19 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 11 November 2004 - 04:20 PM

Dear Mr Crawford and others,

As before: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is not a type of the antichrist. The patristic witness is quite clear that this is not so, and, rather, that this tree is in fact the image of the full knowledge of God. A few snippets:

The tree of knowledge itself was good, and its fruit was good. For it was not the tree, as some think, but the disobedience, which had death in it. For there was nothing else in the fruit than only knowledge; but knowledge is good when one uses it discreetly. But Adam, being yet an infant in age, was on this account as yet unable to receive knowledge worthily. For now, also, when a child is born it is not at once able to eat bread, but is nourished first with milk, and then, with the increment of years, it advances to solid food. Thus, too, would it have been with Adam; for not as one who grudged him, as some suppose, did God command him not to eat of knowledge. But He wished also to make proof of him, whether he was submissive to His commandment. And at the same time He wished man, infant as he was, to remain for some time longer simple and sincere. For this is holy, not only with God, but also with men, that in simplicity and guilelessness subjection be yielded to parents. But if it is right that children be subject to parents, how much more to the God and Father of all things? Besides, it is unseemly that children in infancy be wise beyond their years; for as in stature one increases in an orderly progress, so also in wisdom. But as when a law has commanded abstinence from anything, and some one has not obeyed, it is obviously not the law which causes punishment, but the disobedience and transgression; for a father sometimes enjoins on his own child abstinence from certain things, and when he does not obey the paternal order, he is flogged and punished on account of the disobedience; and in this case the actions themselves are not the [cause of] stripes, but the disobedience procures punishment for him who disobeys. So also for the first man, disobedience procured his expulsion from Paradise. Not, therefore, as if there were any evil in the tree of knowledge; but from his disobedience did man draw, as from a fountain, labour, pain, grief, and at last fall a prey to death. (Theophilus of Antioch, Ad Autolycum 2.25)

Theophilus is eminently clear on this point. The tree is good. The knowledge it contains is good. The only evil comes from disobeying God's command, which he had given as an help to man -- that the infantile creature should not take into itself a knowledge that its level of maturity could not contain. Irenaeus of Lyons writes something similar, while not speaking directly of the tree:

If, however, any one say, "What then? Could not God have exhibited man as perfect from beginning? "let him know that, inasmuch as God is indeed always the same and unbegotten as respects Himself, all things are possible to Him. But created things must be inferior to Him who created them, from the very fact of their later origin; for it was not possible for things recently created to have been uncreated. But inasmuch as they are not uncreated, for this very reason do they come short of the perfect. Because, as these things are of later date, so are they infantile; so are they unaccustomed to, and unexercised in, perfect discipline. For as it certainly is in the power of a mother to give strong food to her infant, [but she does not do so], as the child is not yet able to receive more substantial nourishment; so also it was possible for God Himself to have made man perfect from the first, but man could not receive this [perfection], being as yet an infant. And for this cause our Lord in these last times, when He had summed up all things into Himself, came to us, not as He might have come, but as we were capable of beholding Him. He might easily have come to us in His immortal glory, but in that case we could never have endured the greatness of the glory; and therefore it was that He, who was the perfect bread of the Father, offered Himself to us as milk, [because we were] as infants. He did this when He appeared as a man, that we, being nourished, as it were, from the breast of His flesh, and having, by such a course of milk nourishment, become accustomed to eat and drink the Word of God, may be able also to contain in ourselves the Bread of immortality, which is the Spirit of the Father. (Irenaeus, Adversus haereses 4.38.1)

The point he makes is the same as that of Theophilus: God's actions in the economy, especially at the beginning of the economy, are designed not to protect man from some indwelling evil present in the cosmos (certainly not in the Garden, in a tree planted by God himself), but to protect man from the misuse of his own freedom in a manner dangerous to his level of maturity. Irenaeus does also speak directly of the tree:

He [Satan] had indeed been already accustomed to lie against God, for the purpose of leading men astray. For at the beginning, when God had given to man a variety of things for food, while He commanded him not to eat of one tree only, as the Scripture tells us that God said to Adam: "From every tree which is in the garden thou shalt eat food; but from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, from this ye shall not eat: for in the day that ye shall eat of it, ye shall surely die"; he then, lying against the Lord, tempted man, as the Scripture says that the serpent said to the woman: "Has God indeed said this, Ye shall not eat from every tree of the garden?" And when she had exposed the falsehood, and simply related the command, as He had said, "From every tree of the garden we shall eat; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die"; when he had [thus] learned from the woman the command of God, having brought his cunning into play, he finally deceived her by a falsehood, saying, "Ye shall not die by death; for God knew that in the day ye shall eat of it your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." In the first place, then, in the garden of God he disputed about God, as if God was not there, for he was ignorant of the greatness of God; and then, in the next place, after he had learned from the woman that God had said that they should die if they tasted the aforesaid tree, opening his mouth, he uttered the third falsehood, "Ye shall not surely die." But that God was true, and the serpent a liar, was proved by the result, death having passed upon them who had eaten. For along with the fruit they did also fall under the power of death, because they did eat in disobedience; and disobedience to God entails death. Wherefore, as they became forfeit to death, from that [moment] they were handed over to it. (Irenaeus, Adversus haereses 5.23.1)

No evil is seen as present in the tree, and how much less is the tree itself a sign or symbol of Satan, or of the antichrist. Irenaeus' comments only make sense if the opposite is understood: the tree is holy, blessed, good. The knowledge it contains is divine, pure. Only in light of this reality does the serpent's mis-information about the tree become a lie, for he distorts the reality of God's economy. And if we read carefully the latter passage by Irenaeus, we find him noting that even the fruit of the tree is effected by the disobedience wrought upon and through it by humanity -- humanity, 'along with the fruit', falls under the grip of death.

INXC, Matthew

#20 Guest_Martin Rieks

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Posted 11 November 2004 - 04:29 PM

This whole idea of the tree being about the devil, and the strange hodgepodge of bible quotes to "prove" it, is nothing other than the rantings of dispensationalism, which is heresy. Dispensationalists go on about it all the time.





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