Martin Luther and the two Trees of Eden

In Bible class on Friday we will discuss the two trees of Eden.  Luther has an interesting interpretation.

Tree of Life:
“The tree of life, was created that man, by eating of it, might be preserved in full bodily vigor, free from diseases and free from weariness; be preserved in perpetual youth.  Powers for procreation and all tasks would have remained unimpaired until humans were translated from the physical life to the spiritual.”

Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil:

“There is now created a new tree distinguishing good and evil, so that Adam might have a definite way to express his worship and reverence toward God.  This tree was Adam’s church, altar and pulpit.  Here he was to yield to God the obedience he owed, give recognition to the Word and will of God, give thanks to God, and call upon God for aid against temptation.  The tree was not deadly by nature; it was deadly because it was stated to be so by the Word of God.  It kills through potency of the Word of Him who issues the prohibition.”

In Luther’s view the tree was like the Law, not bad or fatal in and of itself, but becomes fatal when we ignore God’s prohibition.  In the same way the Tree of Life, like a sacrament, gave life because of the power of the Word, otherwise, it’s just an ordinary tree like water in baptism or bread and wine in communion.


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