31 Jan Tree of Life
In the Bible, in Genesis, God creates man in his own image. Soon after, God puts Adam to work in the Garden of Eden where God has provided him with plants and fruit trees for food. However, God forbids Adam from eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam and his mate, Eve, nonetheless eat the forbidden fruit and God declares that they are now “like one of us, [gods], knowing Good and Evil.” As punishment, God banishes them from the Garden of Eden for fear that they will eat the fruit of the Tree of Life which would grant them eternal life. The implication is that man, created in the image of God and having obtained the knowledge of Good and Evil, can become one of the gods and live forever if he eats the fruit of the Tree of Life.
What is the Knowledge of Good and Evil? That Good precedes Evil suggests that we are initially Good yet become Evil. Before we are born we are in a natural state of Good as we are one with everything. When one with everything we treat everything as we treat ourselves. This is the Golden Rule. Kindness, compassion and generosity is Good. At birth we become self-serving animals; Evil as we act selfishly, inconsiderate of what’s best for all or how our actions might be of detriment to others. Eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is having the knowledge of how to be one with everything. When one with everything, we are God.
The Tree of Life represents all life that once was, is now and will be. Eating the fruit of the Tree of Life awakens us to the realization that we are not solely one of billions of unique cells of the Tree, we are one with the Tree; like an individual cell in our body awakening to realize its collective identity is one with the whole body. As the Tree is eternal, being one with the Tree is the realization that we live forever. But as Adam and Eve and their progeny cannot access the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Life in its center, we need to work to create on Earth our own Garden of Eden with plants, fruit trees and other manifestations of the Tree of Life for the betterment of all; thereby realizing our potential in service to making Earth a better place than it would be otherwise. Then we can cease our work (as God did on the seventh day of creation), feast on the fruits of our garden and meditatively gaze in wonder upon our creation with which we are one.
The fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil gives us the knowledge of how to be one with everything. The fruit of the Tree of Life is the realization that we live forever.
Ultimately, that God tosses Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden is a blessing, not a punishment, as it is a rite of passage. They were created as the only form of life with the potential to transition from animal to divine consciousness. This life is an opportunity for us to do so.