Growing up I don’t recall much emphasis made of the two trees placed in the garden of Eden. The forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil is the one most of our attention was turned toward. Ever today we rarely mention the tree of life. Perhaps it is the absence of restrictions placed on this tree that causes it to get second billing. That is until Adam and Eve take from the other tree then Good gets concerned about the other tree.
Then the Lord God said, “Look, the human beings have become like us, knowing both good and evil. What if they reach out, take fruit from the tree of life, and eat it? Then they will live forever!”
The reason for Adam and Eve’s banishment was to prevent them from eating from this tree of life. On the eviction notice is the reason that they would live forever if not banished. Wait! What? Why wouldn’t God want his creation to live forever? It is too easy to make this another example of God’s wrath. If “Gods so loved the world… may have eternal life” is true, then it seems like the fulfillment of Christ is to prevent eternal death.
God did not want humanity to live forever in a state of disobedience. If they had taken of the tree of life, they would have forever lived in rebellion. What if God took this action to protect his creation in order for him to provide a way for us to eat from the tree?
Therefore the problem established in the first three chapters of Genesis is that God’s created image-bearers rebel and in order to protect his creation and to provide a way of redemption he banishes them from paradise. The solution to the problem begins in the following chapter. God begins to prepare the way of redemption by instructing them on the form of their worship. God accepts Abel’s offering because it is representative of how God will provide the way for us to go back and take the fruit of the tree of life.
It seems significant that God’s first move is to shape their worship. We are formed and shaped by our worship. This is why the form of our worship matters.
If the end result of God’s plan is that we would have eternal life which is symbolized by the eating of fruit from a tree? Does it not seem appropriate that the cross is the tree and our eating comes in the form of communion? The central message of the gospel is summed up in the rite of communion. If our purpose for worship is totell God’s story of good news, should not our worship reflect it by the way we prioritize communion?