In Genesis, God gives humanity a gift that they quickly forfeit—eternal life that comes by eating from the tree of life. What is the meaning of this powerful image and how do sacred trees play a key role throughout the Bible?
“Trees have a significant, animated role in the biblical story. As we’re going to see in Genesis 1, they are not passive objects. At the key hinge points in the biblical story, there’s usually a tree somewhere in the mix playing an active role.”
Humans are… Trees?
Humans are like trees. This idea might seem strange to us until we see how the Hebrew Bible connects them with the same key words, images, and scenes. Humans and trees are found together at most of the hinge points in the biblical story. Listen in as Tim and Jon discuss these parallels in the Bible.
Trees of the Ancients
The tree of life represents God’s own life given as a gift to humanity. This image echoes across ancient Near Eastern cultures, and even today, people long for the peace and security symbolized in the tree of life. Listen in as Tim and Jon explore the meaning and context of the tree of life.
The Tale of Two Trees
On the first pages of the Bible, God places humans in a lush garden to rule with him. There are two trees in the garden, and humanity is presented with a choice: trust God and enjoy his good gifts or take the knowledge of good and bad for themselves. The tale of two trees tells us something profound about the human condition and the choice we all face.
Dismantling the Tree
Noah and Abraham both face important tests before a tree on a high place. Their obedience and sacrifice opens the door for mercy and blessing, and their stories point us to a future hope of one who will overcome the tree of knowing good and bad and restore humanity. Listen in as Tim and Jon discuss Noah, Abraham, and their moments of decision at trees on high places.
Are Humans Naturally Immortal? Tree of Life Q+R #1
Why are moments of testing on high places often accompanied by sacrifice in the Bible? Why does the Eden story seem ambiguous about the number of trees in the garden? Were humans mortal when they were placed in the garden? Tim and Jon respond to these questions and more in this question and response episode.
Moses, Israel, & The S’neh Tree
The story of Moses repeats key themes from the stories of the garden, Noah, and Abraham. Moses and Israel both face tests before trees on high places, and Moses takes the act of sacrifice one step further. Listen in as Tim and Jon discuss Moses and the s’neh tree.
David, Isaiah, and New Eden
King David sets up a new Eden in Jerusalem, but the people continue to set up false Edens in high places. How will God respond, and when will he raise up the seed who will usher in a new Eden? The book of Isaiah brings these themes together and points us to God’s answer.
Back to the Tree of Life
Jesus often talks about the Kingdom of God like a garden. And in this Kingdom, Jesus saw himself as the tree at the center. Listen in as Tim and Jon discuss the life and parables of Jesus, as well as the future promise of a new Eden on the final pages of the Bible.
Jesus on the Cursed Tree
In this final episode of the Tree of Life series, Tim and Jon talk about the death of Jesus upon a tree on a high place. Jesus begins his final week on earth by cursing a tree. He faces his final test in a high garden and ends his life hanging on a tree as a sacrifice for a broken humanity.
Is the Tree of Life Practical?
We are concluding our Tree of Life series with a question and response episode. In this episode, Tim and Jon respond to audience questions on the theme of the Tree of Life in the Bible. Thank you to everyone that submitted questions!