In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
In the school where I serve as a campus pastor and as an English teacher, we talk about metaphors and how important they are in a piece of literature. We also pay attention to imagery used by an author to show meaningful threads throughout a narrative.
The Bible is God’s Word to us, revealing to us the grand story of creation, salvation in Christ, and life with God and his people forever. The Bible is also a literary masterpiece, filled with imagery and metaphors that carry through in meaningful threads from beginning to end.
For example, of the many trees described in the Bible, the two here in Genesis 2 are prototypes for other trees mentioned later on: trees that indicate life and fruitfulness, and trees that represent potentials for brokenness and disobedience. The tree of life presented abundant life and intimacy with God, while the other tree presented consequences connected with choosing and doing wrong.
The tree of life especially prefigures many stories featuring hope, redemption, promise, and comfort, indicating that even from the beginning, people were not left to live here alone but were given a protected place of abundance and well-being. Emphasis is placed on the loving relationship between God and creation, summed up in the rich image of the tree of life—and later we find this tree again in the new heaven and new earth, where we will live with God forever (Revelation 22:1-2).
Lord, thank you for showing us your loving and generous promises in the imagery of the tree of life. Guide us to hope and truly live in you always. Amen.