A followup to the Tree of Life Question
Comment on Dr Tony Mariot's answer to "Is the Tree of Life in the Bible a metaphor"?
In Genesis, maybe the 7 days could be 7 periods of time, such as “to the Lord a day is as a thousand years”. The story of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil could have represented in story form a general human rebellion against God (still in process) as led by Lucifer as he whispered to them that God is a liar and did not want them to be what they could be, that is ‘gods’. It could have represented man’s ego to go beyond God’s will. Because of this, God would have had to put some restrictions on man’s access to eternal life with Him, as represented symbolically by the story of removing them from the Garden (the domain of God and the innocent) in which was that Tree of Life.
I am not saying that THIS IS WHAT I BELIEVE. What I am doing is questioning if the story is actually a literal one…or is like a parable as Jesus was fond of telling, where the truth is illustrated in a simple way that people can understand.
I do believe with all my heart that Jesus is the Lord God, the Lamb of God who died in our place, opening the gate for us into the Kingdom of God. I do believe his death and resurrection is literal. I believe in repentance and new life in Christ. I believe in miracles. I believe Jesus is returning for his bride the church..literally, gathering us into the sky on our way to forever be with Him.
Dr. Tony Mariot
2h ago · to Liz Marsh
Thank you for sharing this with me, I appreciate your thoughtfulness and your heart. If I may share a most personal observation about myself. I was raised a Christian and for the most part believed what my mother told me and the pastors I was under, as I grew up.
At some point I had questions that they could not answer, hard questions like, is it true that a person can go to Heaven and still end up in Hell? (Revelation 20:7–9).
No one would answer that question, I was told the things of God are in part a mystery. The good news is that encouraged me to learn more on my own, thus my education at Oxford in Theology. One of the things that put my belief into the shock of reality was a trip to the Vatican library in Rome with the school of Theology.
What I saw, not only left me breathless, but has kept me on my knees with a perspective, not shared among any parishioners I knew. We know that the disciples themselves did not believe at first that Jesus rose from the dead, and they were His friends.
What the Vatican holds are carbon dated letters written in both Koine Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic of regular people who were NOT followers of Jesus, but regular laborers in the fields, tanners, herders and so on. They wrote letters to each other saying that they saw Jesus crucified at Galgotha in person and saw Him alive walking in the fields, drinking at wells, speaking to people and ministering AFTER He had died such a public and humiliating death.
There are over 400 of these letters from regular people who were witnesses, writing to other family members about Jesus being alive!! To me, that placed scripture as a whole in another perspective for me, real not subjective, practical not theory, tangible not etherial.
There is a man by the name of Titus, Flavius Josephus, he was a first-century Roman Jewish scholar, historian and hagiographer who was born in Jerusalem in a part of Roman Judea at the time of Christ life. As a Christian, he is someone we should become familiar with, there is a work of his called the complete works of Josephus.
In it, he sites over 400 separate witnesses including himself, of the risen Jesus. His accounts include witnesses like King Herod, Centurions, Governors and other political types who were also witness to Jesus walking around after He rose.
Josephus was no Christian and not a fan of Jesus. He is respected by the Jewish community, Orthodox and otherwise even today and he admits to the resurrection as do these other 400.
My point is, I believed, at least I thought I did, but this experience of physical evidence was as shocking to me as it must have been for those who actually SAW Jesus after the fact. Not because I didn't believe Jesus rose, but I believed it in a vacuum of face value, not deep in my heart truth.
As a result, my studies continue in earnest and one of the reasons I write in this forum among other things.
What I would like to share about your thoughts is they are good questions, healthy ones.
The seven days as compared to the advent of a 1000 years being like a day to God, should be viewed in the context of other event events named in days by God and Jesus Himself. A simple example would be, Jesus said He would rise after 3 days, not 3000 days, and sure enough He rose within a 72 hour period. The concept expressed by Peter, is to say that God is not measured in time, because He is an eternal being. Mans days are numbered, time was created for our benefit. Peter was saying that God does not change and that His creation endures despite the activities of men or the passage of time, that to God a day is like 1000 years as He is not measured as we are.
2 Peter 3:4
And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
2 Peter 3:8
8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
Having said this, God does hold to His measure of mans lifetime, the account of the 70 weeks of Daniel, prophesies Christ death to the exact year. God told Abraham the children of Israel would be slaves for 400 years and then delivered, He limited mans life span in Genesis to 120 years and a host of other biblical accounts that reveal real time. God is a God of order not just in creation, consider the Ephod for the Levites, Gods requirements were exact.
The story of the tree of knowledge of good and evil foretells many things, the most significant is choice and their consequences.
6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else.
7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.
Consider the fight between Satan, the Angels and Michael, which took place after God had already created choice and free will.
We know Angels are created beings,
13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
We know they were created before the foundations of the earth were laid. The foundations are the things necessary to sustain life on the planet, like oxygen etc.
6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
So God created good, evil and choice, and every creature He has made can choose, just like Satan and the 3rd of the Angels that chose to follow evil. The fact that God knows the choices we will make does not mean He chooses who will partake of what choice, we have to live out our choices.
2 Peter 3:9
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
When Adam and Eve were in the garden being naked was OK. After eating the fruit, their eyes were open which was an actual manifestation of their realization of shame, good and evil and all the wonders thereof.
When the floodgates of sin was upon them, Adam shirked responsibility and put it on Eve, she blamed the serpent for their decision.
This was a literal thing, but a necessary exercise. What God did in the creation of these choices placed mankind in the unique position to make a choice out of love and consequence. It was necessary, otherwise like Satan said to God, mans perfecting would be in vain.
Job 1: 9–11
Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?
10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.
This whole experience with Job reveals the heart of God towards man, but man has to make his own choices. In another account about Abraham sacrificing Issac, it was not about God trying to see if Abraham would sacrifice Isaac, God knew Abrahams heart. It was about Abraham learning the reality of his own faith, if he would in fact go all the way, God already knew what Abraham would do, this was for Abrahams benefit, perfecting the choice that was in him.
Consider the foresight of God in the advent of the The new Jerusalem, it was created before the foundations were laid, which is to say the New Jerusalem (Rev 21) was created before man was placed on the earth.
The reason for the tree of knowledge in the first place, was for the perfecting of the saints through choice. The final point I would make, is that the Garden of Eden was not God’s dwelling place, it was for man. God dwells in Heaven but He will subsequently live on Earth will man after the final judgment. (Rev 21:1–3).
Adam never saw God face to face, he saw an aspect of God, like a voice, a breeze, bush on fire, pillar of fire etc… but not God Himself.
18 No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
God created choice but he did not decide who would make what choice. But again, it all had to start in the beginning.
25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
9 And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
13 And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.