The Tree of Life – Literal, Symbolic, or Both…?

A while back I asked the readers of this blog to give me their “2 cents” on what they thought the Tree of Life is. The idea was that I would incorporate these comments into upcoming blog posts about the Tree of Life. There were a range of different answers all focusing on different elements. And since then I have done one post entitled Christ, the Tree of Life that incorporates the comments of three bloggers that subscribe to this blog.

Today I would like to consider whether the Tree of Life was Literal, Symbolic or Both…?

Some of the comments connected to this aspect were as follows:

Nic, blogging here at I call you Friend

I asked my wife what she thought the tree of life was. She said that if we believe the garden was a real garden, then we should really believe the tree was a real tree. Good point!

Lynley, blogging at The Honest One

I think with all things in scripture there is the literal and the deeper meaning. Personally I think it was a literal tree (remembering that heaven and earth were connected at that point). That said, within heaven (where God is) I believe though the tree can be a literal tree, it does not mean Christ is a tree. It could simply mean that Christ is representing Himslef in the tree to us, because we derive an understanding of a tree.

Tobie, blogging at Natural Church

Ahh… The Tree of Life. Here’s some thoughts for consideration (Hope it’s worth two cents!):

1. If it’s a tree, then it’s a thing (an “it”, if you wish), which cannot be, as God does not allow his life to dwell in things.
2. If it’s not a tree, we have a problem. I don’t need to tell you why. Good, solid fundamentalists like John MacArthur will do so. Besides, as an earlier commentator has pointed out, then it also may not be a real garden. Or a serpent. Or an actual woman. Or… You get the point.

This means that it has to be a tree, but it cannot be a tree containing the actual life of God (or any other type of spiritual life, for that matter, for all life comes from God and originates in him). And so, I suspect, the way out of the dilemma is not to see an enchanted tree, but an actual tree functioning as a symbol. (To see the rest of this comment please go here and scroll down to the bottom of the page)

It is clear that all of us see the Tree of life as both a real tree that actually existed. But was it?

I did some research on this topic to discover what the “truth” is behind these questions. So I asked a few people questions relating to this and one person that I trust and respect in particular pointed me in the direction of what is known as Narrative Theology.

Narritive theology is associated with the idea that we are not primarily to learn principles, rules or laws from Scripture, but rather we are to learn to relate to God. In other words, the Bible’s stories are not designed to teach us scientific or theoretical facts, but are there to teach us truth. We are supposed to learn from those truths, and apply these lessons to our lives. As such, we should interpret and apply these stories according to the original intentions of the authors of Scripture—this is why the stories have been preserved for us (see Romans 15:4). (For more on Narritive Theology and how it relates to Systematic and Biblical Theology go here. Also, see N.T Wright on Narrative Theology)

So, with that in mind, what was the original intention of the author/s who wrote Genesis?

Well, from what I have picked up through my readings, it is suggested that Moses wrote the book of Genesis while he was traveling through the Wilderness with the Israelites. It is inferred that he got most of the information from the Israelites themselves who conveyed their history to him as they had carried it on through stories (illiterate cultures have been found to have a very good memory, especially with regards to the history of their culture and family trees). However, the actual creation account in Genesis 1 and 2 could not have been retold by the Israelites and for this reason most biblical scholars assume that God relayed this information directly to Moses just like the angel told John what to write in the book of Revelation.

Fundamentally then, the 5 books that Moses wrote/compiled, known as the Pentateuch or Torah (which means “to teach”) were written to do just that… teach the Israelites about their history and most importantly, their journey and relationship with God. Hence, it was written in the form of a story book. It was designed in many ways to be read like we would read stories to our kids today. The stories are often imaginative, but carry within them certain meanings and lessons that are passed along to the hearers.

Now, I am in no way suggesting that the events in Genesis are not true or historical fact, just that they were written in the form of a story and should therefore be read and interpreted in that light. For this reason, I believe that instead of asking the question, “what is the tree of life?” or “was it a real tree?” a more appropriate question considering the intention of the book would be “what do we learn from the tree of life? or “what was God’s intention for man in the Tree of Life?” These would better bring out the LIFE that is embedded in the book of Genesis.

Therefore, trying to figure out what the tree of life actually was is in some ways futile, for it is going down a path that the writer of the book never intended one to pursue. Like trying to determine whether Pinocchio was a real boy. Whether he was or was not really does not matter. What matters is what his life and story teaches little kids (not to lie, amongst other things). And therefore what we learn from the tree of life is what is most important. And that is in many ways simple: God desires to dispense Himself into man so that man can live by his uncreated life. God desires to be eaten. To be partaken of. To be enjoyed like food. And we can know Him in this way today in Christ, our Tree of Life!

So,what is the answer the question: “is the Tree of Life literal, symbolic or both…?”

It does not matter!

Check out this video for another great take on what I have just covered in today’s post:

The Whole Sweep Of Scripture from The Work Of The People on Vimeo.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ You have just finished reading an article entitled The Tree of Life – Literal, Symbolic, or Both…? If you wish to leave a comment, please click on the Comment link below. Also, if you have enjoyed it, please consider sharing it by clicking on the relevant links below the post on the blog. And if you missed last weeks post, click on the link just above the comment box to check it out. Glad to have you aboard!

Book Review: The Tree of Life – by Witness Lee

*** This article is part of a blog series about what it means to live with Christ as our source. You can check out the Introduction to the series here. ***

For those of you who do not know Witness Lee, he was a co-worker of Watchmen Nee back in the early parts of the 20th century. They co-laboured in the raising up of local churches all over China, America and other parts of the world. Both of these men wrote a myriad of books. Witness Lee even managed to pen an entire commentary on the bible in his lifetime. Of the many books written by these men, the one’s written by Witness Lee are less well known. This little jewel of a book is amongst those hidden from the greater Christian community. And so, I am delighted to be creating a bit more awareness for it here on this blog.

The book was first published in 1987. Here is a description from the back cover:

When God created man, He placed him before two trees: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life. In warning man to avoid the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God indicated His desire for man to eat of the tree of life, signifying that man should receive God as his life supply. Adam chose poorly, and was barred from the tree of life because of sin. Even today, Christians, those who have washed their robes that they may have right ot the tree of life (Rev. 22:14), often pursue good behaviour rather than receiving Christ, experiencing Christ, and enjoying Christ as their life supply.

In the Tree of Life, Witness Lee presents a view of God’s heart that is little understood and seldom experienced by believers today. God is not looking for well-behaved Christians; He is looking for those who will experience and enjoy Christ as the reality of the tree of life, fulfilling His eternal intention for man.

Contents

  1. The Way to Fulfill God’s purpose
  2. The Source and Consummation of the Two Trees
  3. The Tree of Life in the Gospel of John
  4. The Fatness of the Lord’s House
  5. The Fruit of the Tree of Life
  6. The Tree of Life for Transformation
  7. How the Last Adam Becomes the Tree of Life in Us
  8. How the Body, the Army, and the Dwelling Place of God Came into Being
  9. Christ Opens the Way to the Tree of Life
  10. God’s Purpose Fulfilled by the Growth of the Tree of Life within U
  11. How to Feast on the Tree of Life through the Word
  12. How to Feast on the Tree of Life through Prayer
  13. The Need to Be Poor in Spirit and Pure in Heart to Experience the Tree of Life
  14. God’s Intention Fulfilled in Transformation
  15. Living Letters of Christ by Beholding and Reflecting His Glory
  16. God’s Ultimate Intention Realized

I am personally reading this book at the moment. And believe me it is excellent. It takes the purpose of man right back to the garden of Eden and unveils what God’s original intent was, what went wrong, and most importantly, how Jesus Christ has redeemed God’s desire and recovered the reality of the tree of life in his own person. I strongly recommend it!

It is available from Amazon in both paperback and kindle for about R80: http://www.amazon.com/Tree-Life-Witness-Lee/dp/0870833006. If you are living in South Africa I can arrange a copy for you for about R100 (email me at dyl.crom@gmail.com).

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You have just finished reading a book review on The Tree of Life – by Witness Lee If you wish to leave a comment, please click on the Comment link below. Also, if you have enjoyed it, please consider sharing it by clicking on the relevant links below the post on the blog. And if you missed last weeks post, click on the link just above the comment box to check it out. Glad to have you aboard!

Dealing with invasive tree-kinds!

*** This article is part of a blog series about what it means to live with Christ as our source. You can check out the Introduction to the series here. ***

We are designed to be soil that gives rise to crop. Depending on what seeds are sown on the soil of our hearts, that will be what grows within us and what eventually produces fruit and multiplies. The Lord speaks about this in Matthew 13 when he tells the parable of the sower. Although the Lord sows the seeds of the Kingdom of Heaven, sadly, there are others who sow the seeds of a different Kingdom.

Interestingly, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is not a “bad” tree. It was made by God and therefore carries no deformity or evil in and of itself. It is supernatural tree so to speak, but not an “evil” tree baring “bad” fruit. The fruit, as Genesis explains, was “pleasing to look at.” It was a “good” tree. The problem was not the tree, it was the heart of man. Here is an example: Inherently a car is good, but if given to a 12 year old to drive, well, then the results would not be so good, would they? Why? Because a 12 year old is not designed to drive a car.

And so too with the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Satan new that we were not designed to have the knowledge of good and evil. That if we did, it would corrupt us. And so, what did he do. He pointed us in the direction of that car, and said, “of course you can drive it, your dad is just being over-protective. In fact, here are the keys, go for it.” And today we are still recovering from the crash…

So what does this mean? Well, it means that there are ultimately two kinds of trees and therefore two kinds of seeds. And each has the ability to take root and grow within us. Now, Christ, well, he sows the seeds of the Tree of Life which the soil of our hearts are designed to house and grow. But Satan, well, He sows the seeds of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. These seeds, although not inherently bad, are actually bad for us. Our lives and the soil of our hearts are not designed to germinate and grow these seeds. And if planted within us, can and does have disastrous effects on the indigenous ecosystems of our lives.

There is a very appropriate example of this in nature: Alien Vegetation.

Although many countries in the world have the problem of alien vegetation invading and destroying the natural indigenous ecosystems, South Africa is especially effected.

New trees were introduced in South Africa as early as the middle of the 17th century when Jan van Reibeeck established a small trading colony for the Dutch East India company (or VOC) in Cape Town. These new tree species were bought from Eaurope via ship and introduced for a range of purposes including timber, tannins, oils, firewood, ornamentals, stabalizing sand dunes, windbreak barriers, hedges, soil conservation, and shade. (1)

About 750 tree species and around 8 000 shrubby, succulent and herbaceous species are recorded as having been introduced into South Africa. Of these 8 750 species, 161 are now regarded as invasive.

And the invasive plants have created a huge problem, adversely affecting much of the natural indigenous ecosystem. Because they have no natural enemies, they out-compete indigenous species. They spread at alarming rates, impede the growth of natural vegetation, and destabilize the ecological balance by increasing the intensity of wildfires and soil erosion. In many areas, thickets of alien plants have converted valuable agricultural land into unproductive wasteland. (2)

And this is exactly what the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil does to us. It invades! It grows at an alarming rate, impedes the growth of the Tree of Life, and destabilizes the ecological balance of our lives by increasing the intensity of sin and the errosion of the soil of our hearts, ultimately converting the valuable land of our lives into an unproductive wasteland. And although, like with the alien trees that grow wonderfully in their natural habitats, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil grows excellently in its natural habitat, it is indeed, very bad for us.

So what do we do if we are filled with invasive alien vegetation?

Well, fortunately Jesus gave the answer in a subsequent parable called the parable of the weeds, also in Matthew 13. Here it is:

“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'”

When the harvest time comes and noticeably invasive ways within you are fully grown, allow the Lord to remove these alien plants, gather them together, and burn them. Let him cleanse you from that which would destroy you, continue to produce seeds and multiply its kind in your field and in those around you. For he is jealous of the crop he has sown in you and will do whatever a good farmer would do to ensure that the harvest you produce is good and pure.

As for the natural example of alien vegetation destroying the South African ecosystem, this is what one conservation website had to say: ROOIKRAANS WOOD is said to be the best braai and firewood in South Africa! So let’s get the fires started and use an invasive wood type when lighting up your BioFire fireplace!

Needless to say that we should keep with the Lord’s desires by donating all our invasive tree-kinds for His fire place this winter! 😉

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Sources

  1. http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/005/AC846E/ac846e09.htm#TopOfPage
  2. http://www.biofire-fireplaces.co.za/blog/alien-vegetation-in-south-africa/

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You have just finished reading Dealing with invasive tree-kinds! If you wish to leave a comment, please click on the Comment link below. Also, if you have enjoyed it, please consider sharing it by clicking on the relevant links below the post on the blog. And if you missed last weeks post, click on the link just above the comment box to check it out. Glad to have you aboard!

The fruit we eat is the fruit we bare!

*** This article is part of a blog series about what it means to live with Christ as our source. You can check out the Introduction to the series here. ***

Jesus often used plant life to explain important aspects of the Kingdom of Heaven to his disciples. Here is a very significant one that he teaches them while sitting on a mount, presumably in Galilee:

“Every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognise them by their fruit.” (Matthew 7:17-20)

The concept that people are related to trees and their works to fruit is a concept that is carried throughout the New Testament. It is clearly an important metaphor that we should take note of. And it brings us to a very important principle. A tree can only reproduce according to its kind.

Trees are designed to live, grow, flower, produce seeds, and then release their seeds to be planted somewhere else. Seeds are thus the reproductive vessel of the tree. And they are found within the fruit. The fruit encapsulates or houses the seeds and are a sign that the tree is preparing for reproduction.  Yahoo answers had the following to say on the topic:

The fruit provides nutrients to the seeds, much like a placenta provides nutrients to a fetus. Additionally, the fruit which surrounds the seed temps animals to eat the seeds and thus carry it to a new location to propagate the plant. Doubtless the fact that the seed passes through the digestive system of the animal and is deposited with a nice helping of fertilizer is also an advantage to the plant.

How interesting that the fruit is designed to appeal to animals so that they will carry the seeds to a new location for reproduction. The fruit is thus designed for the seed, for reproduction. So that the tree can multiply its kind on the earth. And it is the same with us. The fruit that we produce actually harbour within them the seed of the tree kind that is growing within us.

Hence, if we have an “evil” tree living within us, we will produce bad fruit and also reproduce an evil tree kind. Naturally, if we have a good tree living within us we will produce good fruit and reproduce its kind. And the way to recognise what type of tree grows within us is by our fruit. For that is the main element displaying the inner nature of the tree. If the fruit it good, so too the tree. If the fruit is bad, well, you get the picture.

So, what does this mean for our lives? Well, its pretty simple, what you eat you will reproduce. So, if you eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, guess what tree will begin to grow in you? And similarly, if you eat of the Tree of Life, its kind will begin to grow and bear fruit in you. But it is only through eating of its fruit that you can take in its seed to be planted on the soil of your heart.

Additionally, the fruit we eat is the fruit we bare… or put another way, the tree that grows within you will be the tree that you give life and multiplication to. Because as you bare fruit, people will come by, eat of it and within in them will begin to grow the same tree. And the cycle will repeat itself ensuring the multiplication of that tree kind all over the earth. It’s the way the Lord designed it.

Sadly, Adam and Eve ate of the Tree of the Knowlegde of Good and Evil and since that day the human race has been eating of and giving multiplication to this tree kind. There was no way for us to eat of the Tree of Life, for we needed someone who actually had the Tree of Life growing within them so that we could eat of its fruit, take in that seed and reproduce its life. And I’m guessing you know who that person is…. But more on that next week.

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The Tree of Life in Scripture

*** This article is part of a blog series about what it means to live with Christ as our source. You can check out the Introduction to the series here. ***

Out of all the things in scripture, the Tree of Life is one of the only things that we see both in the first and the last book of the bible. It is not focused on, but simply mentioned in each. And although, based on the very little that is said about it, we could assume that it is insignificant, I think that actually the opposite is true. I think that it is one of the only things we see as “normal” or “natural” to Eden – the place where heaven and earth meet. Every time we see God “dwelling” with man, the Tree of Life is mentioned or symbolically present. And that my dear friends is significant. Because God with man is the ulimate purpose and reason for creation and subsequently salvation,  redemption, and recreation.

So lets take a look at how the Tree of Life is represented in the Old Testament.

The Tree of Life – A journey through the Old Testament

In Genesis, we see man being introduced to the Tree of Life, and then later, because of his disobedience, being banned from the garden and subsequently cut off from the Tree of Life. God takes this so seriously that he places an angel with a flaming sword in front of it to guard the way to the Tree of Life. (Genesis 2:9, 3:22, 3:24)

Then, after a long time without any mention of it, we begin to see the Tree of Life revealed again to the people of God in symbolic ways. Firstly, God reveals Himself to Moses through a burning bush (an interesting choice). And then, after leaving Egypt and giving Moses instructions for the building of the tabernacle, we see the lamp-stand (which would burn throughout the night, giving light to the Most  Holy Place) designed to look like an Almond tree. (Exodus 3:1-6, 25:31-40, 37:19-20)

Thereafter, Aaron’s staff, when placed in front of the Holy of Holy’s begins to bud and blossom with almond flowers and ripe almonds. These were the “first fruits” for the House of Israel and was a prophetic picture of the fruitfullness of the land of Canaan that they would later enter. Interestingly, this budding staff was later placed in the Ark of the Covenant alongside the stone tablets of the law and the golden jar of manna. (Numbers 17:1-11)

Then, God makes a very interesting law related to a tree. He tells the people of Israel to kill those of their tribe that commit sins worthy of death, and hang them on trees for all to see. But only until evening, after which they must be taken down and buried, else the curse of God will be upon them and the land. Later in Joshua this is done to the king of Ai and to five of the Southern Kings in Canaan.  (Deutoronomy 21:22-23, Joshua 8:29, 10:26) Although this may seem like a disturbing reference to a tree in the OT and seemingly unrelated to the Tree of Life, you will see its relevance in future posts. 

Then, in the Psalms and major prophets (Isaiah and Jeremiah), trees begin to take on a different symbolism. They begin to be used as metaphors for people. Psalm 1 in fact relates one who is focused on the Word of God thinking about ‘it’ all day and night to be like a tree that is planted by streams of’living’ water, producing fruit when it must and never withering or dying. Isaiah calls people “oaks” of righteousness and even personifies the trees of the field to clap their hands as the people of Israel are led out with peace and joy. (Psalm 1:2-3, 92:12, Isaiah 61:3-4, 55:12, Jeremiah 17:8)

Then in proverbs we see the tree of life used as a symbol for life, wisdom and blessing. Wisdom is said to be a tree of life, and men are encouraged to lay hold of her. A gentle tongue and the fruit of the righteous is said to be a tree of life. And lastly, a desire fulfilled is represented as a tree of life. (Proverbs 3:18, 11:30, 13:12, 15:4)

Later, in a vision of the new temple and city, Ezekiel sees not just one tree, but what he describes as “all kinds of trees” for food growing on either side of a river. Their leaves never withering and their fruit never failing. The trees bear fruit every month because they receive water from the throne (sanctuary), and their fruit is used for food and their leaves for healing. (Ezekiel 47:12)

At the end of Hosea we see a wonderful image of a tree used to describe both Israel and the Lord in the same chapter. In His plea for Israel to return to the Lord, Hosea says that as the Lord becomes dew to Israel, causing him to blossom like the lily, to take root like the trees of Lebanon. He says that Israel’s beauty shall be like the olive tree and his fragrance like the cedar trees of Lebanon. Then it swaps over and the the Lords is described as a tree that will produce shade for His people to live underneath. And because of this, they will blossom like a grapevine. At the end, the Lord encourages His people not to go to idols and says, “I am like an evergreen tree, all your fruit comes from me.”

Additionally, in some of the minor prophets we see that God begins to use trees to represent Israels source of life in that without them their would be no shade, no building materials, no crop to eat and no food for their livestock. And subsequently, when God punishes his people for not obeying him, he cuts them off from their practical life supply (which are trees and the fruit from trees) through droughts and storms. Also, of the many trees that are mentioned in the Old Testament, each is used to display something unique about God, life, or humans. One type of tree in particular that is mentioned in both Judges and Isaiah is the vine tree. Other trees that are mentioned often are the fig tree, the palm tree, the oak tree, the cedar tree, and the olive tree.

In Conclusion

In the Old Testament, it is clear that after man was expelled from the garden and cut off from the Tree of life, the Lord slowly begins reintroducing it in various ways to His people. He makes it a significant element in the tabernacle, which was designed to, among other things, reintroduce the concept of “God dwelling with man.”  He then begins using trees as a symbol that exposes sin as the Israelites move into the promised land and place on trees the kings of the sinful pagan nations. Later in the Psalms and Proverbs we see the tree of life symbolically representing elements of the higher life that should be desired and ardently sought after. And then, after teaching the Israelites that growing around the river that flows from the throne in the new temple is a myriad of trees producing miraculous fruit and leaves through Ezekiel’s vision, he tells them through Hosea that the Lord likens Israel to a beautiful tree as well as Himself to an everlasting green tree that protects and provides for them all the nourishment they could ever need.

Then walks in Jesus of Nazareth…

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You have just finished reading The Tree of Life in the Scripture. If you wish to leave a comment, please click on the Comment link below. Also, if you have enjoyed it, please consider sharing it by clicking on the relevant links below the post on the blog. And if you missed last weeks post, click on the link just above the comment box to check it out. Glad to have you aboard!

The Tree of Life (part 1): Zoe-Life

#3.1 of Living with Christ as our SOURCE

*** This article is part of a blog series about what it means to live with Christ as our source. You can check out the Introduction to the series here. ***

In section two, “in the beginning,” we observed a few things and asked many questions. Here is a summary of the main points we looked at:

  1. Childlike dependence on God: God made man to be dependent on something other than himself; an external source. And in the beginning man lived by the Word of God alone. He did only as God instructed him. He was living blissfully in pure untainted relationship with God as his all sufficient source for life.
  2. Curiosity killed humanity: But then, he was lured away from being connected to God as his only source by the craftiness of a different source, satan. His curiosity drove him to “listen” to the word of satan and consider what he had to say above what God had said.
  3. Taking Dominion, or Not…: This however, was confusing because God had explicitly instructed man to take dominion over the the creeping things (His enemy). So why didn’t he? Why did he just receive from the serpent instead of exercising God’s authority over him?

The answer: He COULDN’T!

For he did not yet possess the “Life of God.” 

In the beginning, God told man that he can eat from the fruit of any tree in the garden accept from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He also mentions the Tree of Life in the midst (center) of the garden. Even though he never specifically tells them to eat from the Tree of Life, it is assumed because it is in the garden and therefore falls in the category – “any tree in the garden.”

Now, to help us understand what exactly the Tree of Life is and why Genesis specifically mentions it, I will paraphrase an explanation that Watchmen Nee gives in a book he wrote called “The Spiritual Man.” He explains:

Some Bible scholars point out to us that three different words are employed in the Greek to designate “life”: (1) bios (2) psuche, and (3) zoe. They all describe life but convey very different meanings. Bios has reference to the means of life or living. People use this term to refer to “making a living,” or “earning a living.” Our Lord Jesus used this word when He commended the woman who cast into the temple treasury her whole living. Psuche refers to the animated life of man, his natural life or the life of the soul. The Bible employs this term when it describes the human lifeZoe is the highest life (or God’s life), the life of the Spirit. Whenever the Bible speaks of Eternal Life it uses this word.

Our English Bibles do not differentiate between the different types of “life” as does the Greek. And so the Tree of Life is not just the Tree of Normal-Life (or psuche life) as we know it, which is to live and breathe and walk and talk. No, it is the Tree of Zoe-Life. Which is God’s uncreated and eternal life. Or as Watchmen Nee calls it: the highest life.

From this we can gather something truly miraculous: God placed in the center of the Garden a tree that would bare fruit with His very life in it. A tree that would give those who ate of its fruit God’s own uncreated Zoe-Life. Isn’t that completely out of this world!

God wanted to impart His life into man. And so He provided this for him in a means that was accessible to him. In the form of Fruit. Man would essentially live and grow by God’s life in the same way we we live and grow today: by Eating.

Let me tell you, since receiving this revelation, I have been seeing things a whole lot differently. It has really changed the way I look at life, the bible, and my spiritual walk with Christ. And I would like to share it with all of you. So I would like to make available an audio message that brings this revelation to life in an awesome way.

It is one of the first and fundamental lessons Frank Viola teaches every one of the churches he plants or works with. He sees it as one of the most integral elements in being a church that lives by the Indwelling Life of Christ together. It will rock your world and revolutionise the way you understand your purpose and God’s initial and ultimate desire in creating you, as well as give you a few glimpses of how you can begin to live out that eternal purpose practically. It really is going to blow your socks off!

You can listen to it online or download it by clicking on the “download” button and then right clicking and selecting “save link as” on the next page. Also, check out a few comments of people that have listened to it before by scrolling down (they are very encouraging). Go to the message now by clicking here. Enjoy!

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You have just finished reading article number 3.1 of Living with Christ as our SOURCE – The Tree of Life (part 1): Zoe-Life  If you wish to leave a comment, please click on the Comment link below. Also, if you have enjoyed it, please consider sharing it by clicking on the relevant links below the post on the blog. And if you missed last weeks post, click on the link just above the comment box to check it out. Glad to have you aboard!

In the beginning… (part 1): Childlike dependence on God

#2.1 of Living with Christ as our Source

*** This article is part of a blog series about what it means to live with Christ as our source. You can check out the Introduction to the series by clicking here. ***

It would only be appropriate to start at the very beginning (a very good place to start). 😉

Man and Woman have been created and placed in the garden together. God has created the heavens and the earth, the fish of the sea, the creatures of the land, and the birds of the sky. He has also created plants and vegetation on the earth designed to produce fruit for food. Additionally, he has placed two very special and unique trees in the garden. The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God has told them that they can eat the fruit of any tree in the garden accept the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

This first account of God and man is very significant. It was the beginning. The first time we see a glimpse of untainted relationship between God and man. And there are definite characteristics to it. God is the creator and man is the created. God is the one giving man everything he needs for life, and man is the one learning what that means. He is like a little child in many ways. Looking to a Father for his every move. Needing His Father to show him how to brush his teeth, eat his food, and wipe his….mouth. He really is completely dependent. And that is exactly what we see in the initial relationship between God and man.

But then, sadly, everything changes. Man decides to live from a different source. Man decides to depend on someone else….

I have heard it many times said that in the beginning, man went his own way and that is what caused the fall. In some ways that is true. But it is not the whole picture. Man is like a child. He does not actually know how to “do his own thing” so to speak. He has been designed to live from a source. This is represented in all of life. Children need parents. The body needs food. The mind needs education. All external things giving us what we need to live and grow.  If you think carefully about your life and all the aspects of it, you will realise that nothing in fact comes from yourself. Everything is taken in from the outside, processed, and then released. Nothing actually originates from within you. Everything comes from an outside source. (More on this in future posts)

And in the beginning, we see two distinct sources. God, and Satan. Man is given instructions from God. Instructions by which to live and grow. He is told what to eat, and what not to eat. He is told what to do with his time and what his relationship should be with his wife. He is given everything he needs for life from God, his all sufficient source. But then, something new is introduced into the story… A new and different source. Let us take a look at it together:

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said,‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”  But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.  Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

Genesis 3: 1-7

Now, if you look at this closely, you will see that the Woman’s initial mistake was not eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. That only came later. In fact, it was deciding to listen to a different source: the serpent. Up until that point, both Adam and his Wife had relied completely on God for their “knowledge” of what to do and what not to do. In fact, you can see it in the Woman’s answer: “but God said,…” She does not claim to know what is right and wrong, she is simply telling the serpent what God had told them concerning what they were and were not allowed to do. In this you can see a complete reliance on what God had spoken. Not a knowledge of right and wrong, but a simple lifestyle that flowed from a relationship with God. His instructions, his ways, his words motivating their every move. Not their own thoughts, or their own ways, or their own understanding. Simply, God’s!

And in this we see a glimpse of what pure, untainted relationship was like with God. It was humble, almost childlike in nature. Only knowing what God says and needing nothing more. Living effectively and blissfully by listening to Him and doing only as He instructs. Essentially, living by the Word of God.

But then, something went terribly wrong…

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You have just finished reading article number 2.1 of Living with Christ as our SOURCEIn the beginning… (part 1): Childlike dependence on God  If you wish to leave a comment, please click on the Comment link below. Also, if you have enjoyed it, please consider sharing it by clicking on the relevant links below the post on the blog. And if you missed last weeks post, click on the link just above the comment box to check it out. Glad to have you aboard!