What do the Tree of Life and Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil symbolize?

Last updated on April 8, 2021


The Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil were two trees in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:9).

The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life is symbolic of eternal life. For this reason all those who eat of the tree of life will live forever (Genesis 3:22). After man’s fall into sin, God forbade him from eating from the tree of life. Doing so would make him live forever in a fallen state of sin and misery in this world.

In the New Jerusalem, at the end of time, those who have trusted in Christ will have the right to eat from the tree of life (Revelation 22:2, 22:14).

The Tree of Knowledge

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was put in the garden of Eden as a test. Would Adam and Eve submit to God’s Lordship and not eat of the tree or would they try to become their own lords by deciding what was good or evil for themselves? The LORD had said that it was evil to eat from the tree, and that in the day they ate it, they would surely die (Genesis 2:17).

To judge what is good

Before eating the fruit of this tree, they knew good but did not know evil. By choosing to eat from the tree, they experientially gained knowledge of evil as their act of disobedience corrupted their human nature, perverting the good that was there. By deciding for themselves what was good or evil, they brought sin and suffering into the human race. Adam and Eve were put to the test to see if they would trust that God was good, or if they would trust themselves as better judges of what was good. By the time they thought they knew better than God what was good for them. Consequently sin and death were the result.

Get a good introduction about the Bible in What is the Bible?

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