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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : Tree Of Life or Knowledge of Good and Evil

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AbideinHim
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Joined: 2006/11/26
Posts: 3662
Louisiana

 Tree Of Life or Knowledge of Good and Evil

THE MEANING OF
THE TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL
AND THE TREE OF LIFE

The meaning of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is man acting apart from God, man pursuing goodness according to his self-will, man hastily and impatiently seeking after the knowledge that God has not granted, and man pursuing progress by his own means rather than by trusting in God. What all these mean is that man is simply acting alone and independently, outside of God. Dear brothers, this is the first sin committed by man. In God’s eyes, the meaning of sin is not necessarily related to committing many defiling acts. As long as man seeks anything, does anything, or acts in any way by himself, he has sinned, regardless of whether the thing he seeks after or does is good or bad.

God hates to see man acting independently apart from Him. God wants man to depend on Him. The purpose for God to create and save man was for man to depend on Him. This is the meaning of the tree of life. God told Adam: "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it" (Gen. 2:16-17). Among all the edible trees, God specifically mentioned the tree of life in contrast to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. "The tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil" (v. 9). We see from God’s specific mention of the tree of life that it was the most crucial tree among all the edible trees. This was what Adam should have eaten first. What is the reason for this?

The tree of life signifies God’s life—God’s uncreated life. Adam was a created being; hence, he did not have this life. Although Adam was sinless, he was natural, one among all the animals; he did not have the divine life. God’s intention was for Adam to exercise his will to choose the fruit of the tree of life, thus establishing a life-relationship with Him. This would transform him from something created by God into something born of God. God wanted Adam to refuse his created natural life, unite himself with God’s life, and live in dependence on His life every day. This is the meaning of the tree of life. God intended that Adam would live according to a life that was not his originally. Here the significance of dependence or reliance is most obvious. When a creature lives according to his created life, he does not have to depend on anything, because life is independent and can exist by itself. But the minute a creature decides to live according to the Creator’s life, he has to exercise dependence, because such a life is not in him; it is only in God. Hence, he cannot live independently from God but must depend fully on God and must have unceasing fellowship with Him. Since this life was not within Adam, he had to exercise dependence before he could receive it. Adam did not have the strength to live out this life. Hence, he had to continue to exercise a dependence on God so that he could be preserved. The condition to receive is the same as the condition to be preserved. Adam had to depend on God every day so that he could have the life of God every day.

GOD’S DEMAND ON US

The same is true with God’s demand on us today. In Genesis, figuratively speaking, God’s life and man’s life were only planted together in the midst of a garden. Today God’s life and man’s life are both within us. The saved believers are all regenerated, that is, we are all born of God and have established a life-relationship with God. The created life is within us and so is the Creator’s life. The present problem is whether or not we live according to God’s life and completely depend on God in our daily living. As our physical body cannot survive without the created life, in the same manner our spirit cannot survive without the Creator’s life.

Brothers, God wants us to have no activity apart from Him. He wants us to die to ourselves. He wants us to attach ourselves to Him as if we could not even move without Him. God does not want us to initiate anything by ourselves, but He wants us to act according to His instruction in everything. God wants us to realize that we are helpless and that we should depend on Him wholeheartedly. We should reject any independent act apart from God. It is altogether of the self to do anything, try to do anything, or have done anything without praying, without waiting for God, without seeking His will and clearly understanding it, without recognizing the self’s weaknesses and impotence, without helplessly turning to and depending on God, and without the assurance (through the inspection of the conscience) that nothing of the self is involved. In God’s eyes, without this assurance, what we do just involves sins. Brothers, God does not care how well you have done something; He only cares about who does it. God will not be moved just because we have done something good. Besides His own work, God is not satisfied with anything else. You may act, work, labor, or suffer for Christ and His church, but unless you are certain that this is what God wants you to do, and unless you realize your own inability in fear and trembling and turn to God to work through Him, in God’s eyes, you are sinning just like Adam. Brothers, stop your own work! Never think that you can do something just because it is good. God’s view is not as small as ours! You can labor, and you can do something according to your own delights; but you will not have any spiritual usefulness at all.

(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 08: The Present Testimony (1), Chapter 6, by Watchman Nee)


_________________
Mike

 2021/2/9 21:54Profile
Platy
Member



Joined: 2019/10/5
Posts: 70


 Re: Tree Of Life or Knowledge of Good and Evil

Good thought provoking article.

Watchman Nee writes in the first sentence of the second paragraph “God hates to see man acting independently apart from Him.” Also he writes in the second paragraph under the “God’s Demand On Us” section “Brothers, God wants us to have no activity apart from Him. And he quotes Genesis 2:16-17 “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it.” He makes the claim that “Brothers, God wants us to have no activity apart from Him.” And then he
quotes a command of God stating “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:” Now if Adam is allowed by God to freely eat of every other tree other than the tree of knowledge of good and evil then that means he is acting apart from God because God gave him that freedom. This would be a contradiction and would leave Watchman Nee in error because he makes the claim we can have no activity apart from him. I think that this to do with the concept of Christian liberty. When is it liberty and when does it become bondage? When you chew your food are you acting apart from God? How about brushing your teeth? How about taking a breath? How about going to the bathroom? How about getting up from your chair or going outside for a walk? How about if someone comes up to you on the street and gets into a conversation with you?

Some verses of that come to mind are:
Acts 21:25 - As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.

I Corinthians 7:39 - The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.

Jesus did say:
John 15:5 - I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Jesus states that without him you can do nothing and that the only way to be fruitful is to abide in him. What do you suppose abiding in him is?
John 15:7 - If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done
unto you.

More on being fruitful:
Psalms 1:2-3 - But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Watchman Nee was influenced by Jesse Penne Lewis who wrote a strange book called “War On The Saints”. I was never too sure what to make of that book but there were definitely things in there that didn’t seem to come from the bible. Watchman Nee wrote that one of the meanings of the tree of
knowledge of good and evil is “man hastily and impatiently seeking after the knowledge that God has not granted”. Wouldn’t this be a violation of his own writing here since he acquired knowledge from Jesse Penne Lewis’s writings who was at times was extra biblical (outside of the bible)?

Interesting subject. Your thoughts on this Mike? Or anyone else?

"If it is in the Bible, it is so. It's not even to be prayed about. It's to be received and acted upon. Inactivity is a robber which steals blessings." -Smith Wigglesworth

 2021/2/10 7:52Profile
BranchinVINE
Member



Joined: 2016/6/15
Posts: 787
Australia

 Re: Tree Of Life or Knowledge of Good and Evil



Acts 17:28 –
For in him we live and move and have our being.


This is evil:

Jer. 2:12-13 –
"Be appalled, O heavens, at this,
And shudder, be very desolate," declares the LORD.
“For My people have committed two evils:
They have abandoned Me,
The fountain of living waters,
To carve out for themselves cisterns,
Broken cisterns
That do not hold water.”


All that men are, and all that man can do and achieve are worthless.

1 Pet. 1:24 –
All flesh is as grass,
And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.
The grass withers,
And its flower falls away,

The wisdom of man is foolishness with God.

1 Cor. 1:19-21 –
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.
For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”; and again, “The LORD knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.”
Therefore let no one boast in men.

All man’s righteous deeds are as filthy rags to God.

Isa. 64:6 –
For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
And all of us wither like a leaf,
And our wrongdoings, like the wind, take us away.



This is how a righteous man must live:

Rom. 1:17 –
………as it is written, "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH."

Rom. 14:23 –
and whatever is not from faith is sin.

2 Cor. 3:5 –
Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God,

Phil. 3:3 –
for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,

Rom. 8:6-8 –
For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

All our springs of life are in God.

Ps. 87:7 –
All my springs are in you.

Ps. 36:9 –
For with You is the fountain of life;
In Your light we see light

2 Pet. 1:3 –
for His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

1 Cor. 15:10
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.

1 Cor. 1:30-31 –
But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, "LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD."

NOT I BUT CHRIST.





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Jade

 2021/2/10 9:39Profile
Platy
Member



Joined: 2019/10/5
Posts: 70


 Re:

Lot of verses but let's start this one.

Rom. 8:6-8 –
For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Note the phrase not subject to the law of God. What does the law of God mean?

 2021/2/10 10:05Profile
Platy
Member



Joined: 2019/10/5
Posts: 70


 Re:

The complete verse for Acts 17:28 -

For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

Paul is using Greek poetry to make a case. Also he is using his intellect to reason with the Greeks. What do you do with this verse? Is he carnal?

 2021/2/10 18:06Profile
Platy
Member



Joined: 2019/10/5
Posts: 70


 Re:

Is Acts 17:28 the wisdom of the world? Or maybe there is another meaning to it?

 2021/2/10 18:23Profile
Platy
Member



Joined: 2019/10/5
Posts: 70


 Re:

James talks about two wisdoms perhaps you will find it in his book.

 2021/2/10 18:30Profile
Platy
Member



Joined: 2019/10/5
Posts: 70


 Re:

And then maybe there is a parallel between James and 1 Corinthians because they seem to be addressing the same issue.

 2021/2/10 18:33Profile
BranchinVINE
Member



Joined: 2016/6/15
Posts: 787
Australia

 Re:

Actually, Platy, I was responding to Mike’s OP, not your post.

Anyway, you wrote:

Quote:
Rom. 8:6-8 –
For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Note the phrase not subject to the law of God. What does the law of God mean?



I would say that the mind set on flesh will debate on all kinds of things instead of just preaching our righteousness in Christ by faith.

Rom. 10:4 (Amp) –
For Christ is the end of the law [it leads to Him and its purpose is fulfilled in Him], for [granting] righteousness to everyone who believes [in Him as Savior].

2 Cor. 5:21 –
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Phil. 3:8-9 –
More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,


You also said:

Quote:
The complete verse for Acts 17:28 -

For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

Paul is using Greek poetry to make a case. Also he is using his intellect to reason with the Greeks. What do you do with this verse? Is he carnal?

Is Acts 17:28 the wisdom of the world? Or maybe there is another meaning to it?

James talks about two wisdoms perhaps you will find it in his book.

And then maybe there is a parallel between James and 1 Corinthians because they seem to be addressing the same issue.




“For in him we live, and move, and have our being” – this is the main and all-important point and is also taught in other scripture.

The word of God is simply to be received and believed in.

Jer. 1:16 –
Your words were found and I ate them,
And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart;
For I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.

Scripture frivolously dissected and torn apart becomes no longer palatable as spiritual food.

Your line of questioning will only lead to endless debate that will only consume a lot of precious time and in the end impart not one iota of righteousness and life and goodness to anyone.

Unless Christ alone is sought and desired and and seen and believed in, scripture will remain veiled – John 5:39-40, John 14:6, John 20:31, 2 Cor, 3:14-16.

2 Cor 3:18 --
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

Heb. 12:1-2 –
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, FIXING OUR EYES ON JESUS, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Blessings

ADD:
====
The mind set on the FLESH (Rom. 8:6) most definitely does not and is not even able to subject itself to the law of the SPIRIT of life in Christ Jesus that sets us free from the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:2).


_________________
Jade

 2021/2/11 1:05Profile
Platy
Member



Joined: 2019/10/5
Posts: 70


 Re:

The meaning of a verse is the verse not the verse itself.

 2021/2/11 7:12Profile





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