The tree of life is mentioned in Genesis and The Revelation. The tree of life is mentioned seven time in total in the scriptures. Three times in Genesis and four times in the Revelation. In Genesis we are shown that the fruit of the tree of life gives immortality, the ability to live forever. We also see that because of sin, Adam and Eve are denied access to the tree of life so they will not live forever. In the Revelation access to the tree of life is granted to the faithful enabling eternal life. Sin keeps man from eternal life, but faithful obedience grants one eternal life.
In Genesis chapter 2:7 the Bible tells us that God breathed life into man and he became a living being, creature, or soul depending on the translation of the Bible you read. Either way, nowhere does it allude to man being created with or as an immortal soul. It would seem that the only way for one to attain immortality was to eat from the tree of life which had been in the garden in the beginning, but now is in the paradise of God. Access to the tree of life had been available to Adam and Eve, the only tree they were not allowed to eat from was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God had told them if they ate from that tree they would die. He wasn’t saying he would take away their immortal status, but that he would take away their access to the tree of life which gives immortality.
Many have the mistaken impression that humans have an immortal soul that goes on forever. The Bible does not back that up. There are many passages showing that man is mortal, and in his present condition is not fit for eternity. Only in Christ are we made fit for eternity. First let’s look at something Jesus said. “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt. 10:28) Jesus himself says that the soul like the body, can be destroyed. If the human soul were immortal, it could not be destroyed. The apostle Paul said that carnal man cannot inherit the kingdom of God. “I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.”(1 Cor 15:50) In his statement he makes it clear that carnal man is not fit for eternity. Only in the resurrection of the faithful, will mortal man put on immortality, (1 Cor. 15:51-56). In Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians he makes it clear that the faithful gain immortality and conversely the lost will face God’s wrath and destruction. (1 Thess. 4:13-5:11) The apostle Peter in his second letter to the church wanted them to understand the only reason that Jesus promised return had not occurred yet was because God was being patient wanting everyone to come to repentance rather than perish (die). (2 Peter 3:7-10) Peter had to be speaking about something other than the physical death we all must face. Repentance doesn’t save us from physical death, it saves us from the second death, the death of our soul. The second death is spoken of by the Lord himself in Revelation 2:11 and three other times in the Revelation. (Rev. 20:6,14 & 21:8) The first death we all must face, separates from this life and those we love. The second death spoken of in the Revelation speaks of the death of the soul, eternal separation from God. Utter destruction awaits those that suffer the second death. God doesn’t want anyone to succumb to the second death, He wants all to have eternal life in heaven with him. That is why is so patient in sending Jesus back to collect the faithful.
Ultimately it is only because of Jesus sacrifice on the cross that mankind has access to the tree of life once again. Access to immortality. Eternity in the presence of God Almighty! Our souls are not immortal, our bodies most certainly are not. Jesus is our only means of access to immortality. He is the Way the Truth and the Life, no one can go to the Father, no one can access the tree of life except through Jesus alone. We must strive toward the Tree of Life.
© 2017 Leo J Woodman