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The Kabbalistic One-Tree-Thesis ...

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Benjamin Kilchör's Kabbalistic One-Tree-Thesis

Personal details: Benjamin Kilchör: born 1984 in Wetzikon, Canton Zurich, Switzerland. 2003 undergraduate studies in German and Ancient History at the University of Zurich, from 2005 to 2010 studies in Theology at the STH Basel, the University of Basel and the ETF Leuven in Belgium. In 2014 he received his doctorate in theology from ETF Leuven, and since 2020 he has been a full professor of Old Testament at STH Basel.

2021 Awarded the Johann Tobias Beck Prize for the book: Restored Worship. An Interpretation of Ezekiel's Second Temple Vision (Ez 40-48) on the Example of the Tasks of the Priests and Levites, Freiburg: Herder, 2020.

Benjamin Kilchör runs a YouTube channel under his name, on which he examines and interprets the text in short contributions that laypeople can understand, verse by verse, starting with Genesis 1:1. He builds a bridge between theological science and the general public. Controversial opinions and concepts are also discussed. A mammoth project both in content and time. In terms of time, because there is no end in sight for his LECTIO CONTINUA and in terms of content, because his offers lead to the different interpretations of terms, figures and concepts throughout the Bible. Not only does he illuminate things with objective distance, he also takes a personal stand and positions himself. The visitor to the LECTIO CONTINUA also gains deeper insights into the more recent scientific interpretation of the sripture and its underlying concepts. Benjamin Kilchör will be represented personally.  

Our criticism is directed at the Kabbalistic idea that there was only one tree in the middle of the garden, the tree of life, which is also said to be the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

In LECTIO CONTINUA, Episode 23 , Benjamin Kilchör begins by asking two momentous questions that are fundamental to his understanding of pictorial figures and concepts that reach beyond the passages under discussion. Only in connection with other scriptural passages can one grasp how the esoteric-cabbalistic interpretation is trying to assert itself more and more. Prof. Kilchör's questions are:

  1. Why is man not allowed to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?
  2. Is this knowledge reserved for God alone, or are its fruits poisonous?

The lesson begins with the reading of verses 16-17 from Exodus 2. Benjamin Kilchör, from now on usually abbreviated to BK, has retranslated the verses. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, You may eat of any tree in the garden, but you may not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and bad; for on the day that you eat of it you must surely die.

What you immediately notice is that the tree is no longer called the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but the tree of good and bad. A good idea to swap out the word "evil" and replace it with the word "bad"? B. Kilchör's explanations disregard the Hebrew meaning, thus linguistically relativizing evil. Leaving it at the word "evil," we are in agreement with the meanings of the Hebrew terms.

H7451 רַע ra` - Adjective; רָעָה ra`ah – feminine:
1. bad,
2. (as a noun) evil (natural or moral),
derived from the word root H7489.

H7489 רָעַע ra`a`  v.
1. to spoil, perish,
2. to ruin by breaking to pieces,
3. to make good for nothing,
4. (figuratively) to be good for nothing,
5. (physically, socially or morally) to be bad.

Like the roots of the word stand to the word, so the roots of the tree stand to the tree, i.e. the invisible roots characterize the visible part, in our case the word ra רַע has the quality of something corrupt. If the tree is already corrupted from the roots, then the entire tree is corrupted, that is, evil.

BK: Why am I now talking about good and bad and not good and evil? His answer: The distinction between good and bad is based, in my understanding, on the order that God created for the world ...  

The abbreviation "SP:" stands for - Simon Project, the passages marked with it reflect our understanding on the subject.

SP: God did not create order, rather it reflects His nature, Paul writes: God is not a God of disorder, but of peace. Conversely, we can say: God is a God of order (literally: of stability, of constancy), he is always the same, this can be seen in creation, as is said in Romans 1:20: For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.

BK further states: … therefore also always this refrain-like “and God saw that it was good”, the good in the creation. The good is always what serves the life, what promotes the life, what produces the life, while the bad is that what leads to death, what prevents life also, what complicates life.  

SP: The statement is fuzzy, because what does BK mean by: "The good in creation? …while the bad…” The way it is worded, it implies that God also put the bad in creation. Unfortunately, BK does not get specific at this important point, does not explain where the bad things comes from. Temporally and thematically one stands before the fall with Genesis 2 and at this time the whole creation was very good.

BK goes on to say: And the distinction between good and evil as a wisdom distinction is insight into the order of the world, which is not only related to morality.
Good and evil, there you are immediately in moral categories, but wisdom overall means understanding: what are the orders that God has given the world and what serves life and what leads to death. What promotes life, what promotes death also, to differentiate. Good and bad is actually a moral category. One could perhaps put it this way: evil is a subcategory of evil, i.e evil brought about at will is evil. So wherever bad things are done, brought about, combined with personal responsibility, it becomes (too) something morally bad and then it's evil. And this tree of knowledge, according to my understanding, should not only lead to the knowledge of morality, but also to the knowledge of the distinction between good and bad.

SP: Benjamin Kilchör considers the distinction between good and evil to be a wisdom distinction, an insight into the order of the world that is not only related to morality. This fails to recognize the function of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. While the tree reveals their disobedience to Adam and Eve, it also reveals the tree's true character, which is that it is evil, utterly depraved. This reveals the origin of the evil that God did not create. Satan himself is the source of evil and corruption, for he had risen up against God in his heart, and this is now coming to light through the disobedience of the first human couple. (We will come to the tree metaphor later).  

When B. Kilchör means that one is immediately in moral categories with good and evil, then again the reference to the Hebrew word evil, which actually means “corrupted, nothing that can be repaired” in its root, in the sense of: given over to corruption. Such wood is eaten by the worms. Isaiah 14:11-12: ...maggots are under you and worms are your covering. How did you fall from heaven, you shining star, son of the dawn! Fallen to earth, conqueror of the nations!” Therefore, we do not understand evil as a category of bad, as BK states in Lesson 24 , but as the substantiation of the quality: bad, corrupt, that which cannot be repaired.

Whoever eats from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil will be corrupted by the fruit. What did God say when he commanded man not to eat from this tree? "… on that day when you eat of it, you will surely die." This cannot possibly be said of the tree of life. The fruits of the tree of life are all good fruits, fruits of life.  

But the fruits of the tree of knowledge are consistently bad fruits and thus fruits of death. This tree is fundamentally evil and this is exactly what Jesus explains in Luke 6:43: "For there is no good tree which brings forth rotten fruit”. Let's hear it again: There is no tree, but no good tree at all, that produces bad fruit. Jesus continues: “Nor (is there) a bad tree that brings forth good fruit.” The Lords's statements leave no doubt about the different characters of the trees, "for every tree is known by its own fruit."

The Greek word sapros (σαπρος) for bad means: spoiled, consequently there are only spoiled fruits from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The Greek word for good is kalos (καλος) and means beautiful, good, valuable, virtuous; such are the fruits of a good tree, just the fruits of the tree of life.

Now let's see what arguments BK's makes for his one-tree thesis in Lesson 20.

1.The argument of the explicative " And "

Linguistically, the "and" could also be used explicatively, then it would mean: "... the tree of life in the middle of the garden , namely the tree of knowledge ..." As a reference for the explicative use, BK quotes Zechariah 9:9: Rejoice loudly, daughter Zion; shout, daughter Jerusalem! Behold, your king will come to you: righteous and savior he is, poor, and riding on a donkey, and that on a colt, a young donkey.

SP: The explicative use is contradicted by the separate mentions of the trees. In Gen. 2,17 God says: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, of it you shall not eat.” God did not command: Of the tree of life you shall not eat, that would contradict Deut. 30:19, because there God commands hand-wringing: “Life and death I have set before you, the blessing and the curse. So choose life, that you may live, you and your seed.”

In chapter 3:11 God asks: Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from? God had not forbidden eating from the tree of life, so his question is directed to the other tree. In chapter 3, 22 a distinction is made between the two trees if you read carefully. God states: Adam and Eve became like us. Why did they become equal to God? Because they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Because the rotten fruit from the bad tree is really rotten, anyone who eats from the rotten fruit becomes rotten fruit himself.

God's commandment is therefore less of a prohibition but more of a warning. After Adam and Eve had eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, contrary to the commandment, God denied them access to the tree of life so that those infected would not eat from it and live eternally before God as rotten fruit. The LORD still wanted Adam and Eve to live forever, but without the poison, so he invented a solution: atonement through the blood of a substitute. This concept runs through the entire Holy Scripture.

The “in the middle of the garden” argument

BK: In the context of Genesis. 2:9 the tree of life is located “in the midst of the garden”, in Genesis 3:3 however the tree of knowledge, consequently it can be only one tree. BK summarizes: "The center of the garden is marked by a certain point" (kabbalistic geometry) and if one understands the "and" as an explicative "and", then the tree of life is the same as the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, from which Adam and Eve are not allowed to eat."  

SP: In the story of how the garden was planted, we learn that the tree of life is planted in the middle. When Eve places the tree of knowledge in the middle, she has previously changed her perspective. She had “moved away” the actual center, the tree of life, and declared the tree of the knowledge of good and evil to be her new center. Eva speaks therefore about nothing else than her new middle. This points prophetically to 2 Thess. 2,7, there it says: Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the middle - Μεσος - Furthermore, it points to the church of Laodicea, where the Lord is not in the middle.

The key of understanding lies in chapter 3:6, there it is said that Eve desired the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the tree that Eve declared to be her center. If the tree of knowledge should have been the tree of life at the same time, Eve should not have desired this tree? That is completely absurd and lacks any clear logic. Metaphorically the tree of life stands for the LORD and this tree Eve was allowed desire very well. If she had only desired Him, she would still be alive today. What was true then is still true today: Choose the life, that you may live. Deuteronomy 30:19

And if Eve had feared to transgress the commandment of God, and had coveted and eaten from the tree of life, not only would she live forever, but the fruit would have given her knowledge, counsel, and power, wisdom, and understanding. In other words, she would have received the Spirit of Yahweh and been born again. But because Eve did not fear and transgressed the commandment of God, she conceived another spirit that left behind in her the law of sin.

2 Peter 1:20: No prophecy of Scripture is of its own interpretation, not even Genesis 3.  

In the first book of Moses we find all the beginnings and in the book of Revelation their completions, that is also valid for the two trees. The tree of knowledge of good and evil, placed in the center from perspective of Eve, is found in the "garden" of Laodicea. The lampstand, Jesus Christ, the Tree of Life, is not in their midst, another tree, the tree of death, has spread there.

Eve is naked both before and after eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. There was no difference in her outward appearance, except that after eating the rotten fruit, her eyes were opened and she recognized her new (evil) state. Laodicea is also naked (wicked), but because of the constant ingestion of poisonous food, she is contaminated of the kind that she can neither see nor feel. Due to her spiritual diabetes, she suffers not only from the clouding of her eyes, she is also afflicted with polyneuropathy, which severely limits her ability to distinguish. Good and bad become empty phrases. She also does not know that she is being lied to by the new center. The spiritual food set before her continues to consist of spoiled food, a poisonous hodgepodge, conjured up from stagnant water, moldy bread and kabbalistic-esoteric vegetables. Once Eve was rich, but now Lady Laodicea is poor. If she would sell herself completely to Jesus, she would receive the good gold - righteousness - of the land of Havilah and be clothed with white garments by the LORD.  

The “Tree of Life in the Book of Proverbs” argument

BK says, “The tree of life occurs several times in the book of Proverbs, the book of Old Testament wisdom. The word wisdom means distinction, the distinction between good and bad.” We too - SP - are of the opinion that the tree of life occurs several times in the book of Proverbs.

BK first cites Proverbs 3:18: It (wisdom) is a tree of life .

What BK neglects is the mind. In verse 3:12 the passage begins with the words, Blessed is the man who has found wisdom, and the man who has gained understanding . Wisdom alone cannot represent a tree, but it is a branch on the tree of life. Wisdom and intellect form the innermost twins of this tree. The twins are mentioned again in verse 18. In the second sentence it says: The Lord founded the earth through wisdom and according to his understanding (understanding ) prepared the heavens. Both verses point to the tree of life, the candlestick with seven lights, see Isaiah 11:2. Each of the seven lamps of the Menorah represents one of the seven spirits of God. Here is a picture of the candlestick.

Proverbs 3 does not only point to the tree of life, in a veiled way it tells about the rebirth that a person experiences when he seeks it. From the context set out above we come to the conclusion: The verses of Proverbs 3:12 and 18 cannot be related to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, because it would be difficult, even impossible, to assign the attribute "corrupt" to the tree of life. Who would want to assign the characteristic “corrupt” to the LORD Jesus? That would be blasphemy, wouldn't it? But the texts from Proverbs 3:12 and 18 fit perfectly to Isaiah 11 and the Menorah. They describe the tree of life vividly and precisely.

BK: “The grasping of the fruit led Adam and Eve to a certain wisdom, but at the same time it becomes a death sentence for them. Wisdom is ambivalent, it can become both death and life. That is the logic", (What logic!) "considering that it is a tree." (Warning! We are reaching the pinnacle of kabbalistic logic:) "The fruits in themselves are not fruits of life or fruits of death, but in which way one gets to the fruits of the tree, the tree becomes a tree of life or a tree of death".

SP: Benjamin Kilchör fails to recognize the fraud involved. Someone could claim to have received divine permission to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Under what conditions should God allow such a thing? The plain and simple commandment, "You shall not eat of it, lest you die”, contains no if-then condition, it was and is a protective decree, a warning, not only for Adam and Eve. The commandment is intended to protect against the poison of death, which the serpent carries since its fall. And besides: Who wanted to judge objectively and then also still prove conclusively from the Bible that this or that one had nevertheless the right to eat or also not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of the good and evil? It can be seen at every funeral: Born to die once. Already the newborn carry the poison of the death in itself.

Adam and Eve did not attain wisdom, as BK concludes, not even a certain wisdom. What they attained was a special knowledge, which is however different from the divine wisdom and knowledge. Adam's and Eve's knowledge lay only in the fact that they recognized that they were naked, literally it is said: Then both their eyes were opened and they saw that they were naked.

The evil natural and spiritual science has its model in the serpent

Adam and Eve were exposed unnoticed to the observation of the serpent. She studied the human being holistically and determined: The human spirit constantly strives for new input, his soul needs the friendly attention in a harmonious environment and the body hungers for delicious food and desires his sexual fulfillment. All these desires were and are, as it says in Genesis 1:31, very good.

While the serpent was scanning and observing the first humans in such detail, it learned how Adam and Eve divided their respective times of work and rest, and when he or she has which needs and how they are satisfied. The hunger for food, for example, occurs at intervals during the day and is satisfied by eating. The need for comfort in one's home is arranged with a lot of imagination and creativity. And the garden, their basis of life, they work effectively and shape it into a dreamlike paradise. Determined, they implement God's specifications, combining them with their own ideas and wishes. At the end of each day, they enjoy what they have created, relax and enjoy the peace and the work of their hands.

Their most important need will have studied the serpent even more thoroughly, the fellowship with God. We are not told much about this in the first three chapters, but the little we are told is of fundamental importance, even today... In chapter 1 God blesses man, in chapter 2 he gives them their new home and warns them. Like a loving father he said: Do not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for in that day you will die.

Also, in the first three chapters we are not told nothing about the marital relationship between Adam and Eve, but the serpent knows more. Only in Chapter 3:16 we learn that Adam is really Eve's husband, because the LORD said to the woman: "After your husband shall be your desire" (and now further according to Luther) "he shall be lord." God had not addressed this without reason. It was an admonition addressed to Eve. Her desire shall be for her husband. God thus provided for clear conditions, for his clear address is a recourse to the scene in verse 6: "Eve saw ... that the tree was desirable ..." Eve desired a tree? Only when we have understood the metaphor of the tree, we know what Eve actually desired.  

The metaphorical meaning of trees

The tree is primarily used as a metaphor for people, such as in Psalm 1: Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, and does not stand in the way of sinners, and does not sit on the seat of scoffers, but delights in the law of the LORD and meditates on his law day and night. And he is like a tree planted by streams of water, yielding its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and everything he does succeeds.  

But not only the righteous are metaphorically described as trees, also the lawless. For a better understanding, let's first look at the parable of the weeds so that we can better identify the lawless in the future. In Matthew 13:25 Jesus tells of the enemy of man who came in the night and sowed tares. In verse 28 Jesus calls him "a hostile man". The weeds that the enemy sowed, according to the LORD's command, shall grow and ripen until harvest. Now the parable is difficult to interpret, so the disciples ask the LORD to explain the parable of the weeds to them: The weeds - according to Jesus - are the sons of evil. ( Here, too, the evil - weeds - is distinguished from the good - wheat.) In verse 39 the Lord explains to them who this enemy is, saying, "But the enemy that sowed it is the devil." This is amazing, isn't it? Jesus calls the devil a man.  

Now we come to the tree of the lawless. In Psalm 37:35-37 David says of this tree: I saw a lawless one who was mighty and spread out like a green tree not transplanted; and people passed by, and behold, he was no more; and I looked for him and he was not found. - Look to the impeccable and to the upright; for there is a future for the man of peace.

The Hebrew text is not easy to translate, so we translate verse 35 using all of its translation variants that the dictionaries provide us, including the word roots. we will see then, that the lawless one is actually represented metaphorically as a tree that will suddenly shine forth (as expected by the Kabbalists and Esotericists) and will be quite wealthy, but will turn out to be a terrible tyrant, acting destructively and even stripping the poor of their shirts.  

I have seen = רָ֭אִיתִי - a bad, terrible, immoral = רָשָׁע - to be feared, powerful, tyrant = עָרִיץ - who is completely naked, makes naked, empties, exposes, destroys, pours out = מִתְעָרֶ֗ ה - natural, new, spontaneous growth, sprout (a tree (branch) or a person) = אֶזְרָ֥ח - word root: shine (like the rising sun) = זָרחַ - verdant, prosperous, be green = רַעֲנָֽן .

Also prophet Isaiah describes the upstart of the end times - Isaiah 21:11

Watchman, how far is the night    - Corona -
the day is coming                      - of the antichristian system -
and also the night                      - the great tribulation.  

In Ezekiel we are told of a wondrous tree in whose shade the great of the nations dwelt.A tree that was more beautiful and larger than all the trees in God's Garden of Eden. Who or what might this tree be? It is the tyrannical tree of which David speaks, which Jesus allegorically compares to the mustard seed tree and which Ezekiel allegorically describes. It is about Satan and his anti-Christian system. We read about him in Ezekiel 31:3: There was no tree in the garden of God equal to him in beauty. A delight for the eyes and desirable, according to Eva's misjudgment.

In Matthew 13, Jesus tells of this very tree that grew out of a tiny mustard seed. Its seed is smaller than all the seeds that are on the earth, and yet it grows into a great tree and puts forth great branches. Is this a bad or a good tree? You can recognize him by the taste of his fruits, bitter-spicy. Its grains are deadly in the right dose. The tree is in the "House of Lawlessness", which does not yet say whether it is a good or bad tree. But one thing is certain, on every tree there are branches that need to be broken off.

BK quotes Proverbs 11:27-30 as saying he who strives for good seeks the good pleasure of God; but he who seeks evil will meet it. ... The fruit of righteousness is a tree of life, which means here again, according to BK, there can be a striving for good and then it becomes the tree of life and righteousness, but also a seeking of evil and then evil meets it. So the same thing can become good or bad. The question is where one reaches for, where one seeks.

SP: One looks in vain for good fruit on a rotten tree, no matter where one is grasping at it, where one is looking for it. The one tree thesis is as absurd as it sounds. Two people eat at the same time from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The first eats it as poison and dies, to  the second it is the elixir of life, whereby the last-mentioned can never be really sure of his cause, because he could never justify his eating from the Bible.

BK from Proverbs 13,12-13 : Hope that is delayed makes the heart afraid; but when what one desires comes, that is a tree of life. He who despises the word must pay for it; but whoever fears the commandment will be rewarded.

SP: In Proverbs 3 we find in particular the end times described. Of course, the verses can be applied to a wide variety of situations in life and that all times, nevertheless, the goal of all hope, so the author knows to tell, is directed to the coming of the Redeemer, to the Messiah, the tree of life. Because evil, the tree of death, has spread to the species, the heart is troubled. Who would not want to resent such a heart? In all the distress caused by the lawless, Solomon admonishes them. Anyone who (still) despises the word of the LORD must reckon with serious consequences: They will pay for their wickedness forever. But whoever fears the commandment will be rewarded, also eternally.  

BK:Here, too, there seems to be a connection, “also” to the tree of life, in paradise, in the Garden of Eden. The point is that you can despise the word that is spoken, then you will atone, you can fear it, then you will be rewarded. Here, too, the basic consideration is that there is a reward in fearing the commandment, in obedience to the commandment, and in despising the word one finds punishment, it means penance, one has to atone for it.”

SP: The passage remains uncommented because the subjunctive rules.

BK: "And just the hope that is delayed, that worries the heart, the question of man in the Garden of Eden, the waiting for wisdom, for insight."

SP: Benjamin Kilchör misjudges the context. The hope, as explained above, is directed towards the tree of life, towards the Messiah, but not towards asking for and waiting for wisdom.  

BK elaborates: God says you must not eat of it. And this word is then despised in the story of the fall, and Adam and Eve have to atone for it. But if they would fear the commandment, then it would be rewarded to them and the logic is that they would gain the insight, the wisdom, the knowledge of good and evil, because then God would basically give them to eat from this tree. And from the hand of God it would become a food of life for them. But if they reach for it themselves, then it becomes a death sentence.  

SP: God would never give Adam and Eve food from the tree of good and evil because, as explained above, all you can expect from a rotten tree is spoiled fruit.

When Prof. Benjamin Kilchör lectures on the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, he also uses terms and ideas found in the publications of the Kabbalists, such as: ... the pages of death and the life from it, prohibition and permission. That is, prohibition brings death, and permission is life. (Section 5 on https://kabacademy.eu/de/2017/08/06/bereshit-die-schoepfungsgeschichte-256-288/

SP: God will never change any of his commandments, because the laws of the Lord are eternal and perfect. God is always the same, yesterday, today and forever. His command was and is a protective ordinance that reveal God's caring actions. Adam and Eve were to be preserved from the poison of the serpent, which she carried within herself and was consumed by it.

After Adam and Eve illegally ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, it became apparent to both the visible and invisible world: Satan's heart is indeed a den of murderers. The judgment pronounced by God on the serpent was carried out on Golgotha. God thwarted Satan's attempt to drag Adam and Eve along with them into eternal “death” with an ingenious solution: death by substitution. With that, God thwarted the serpent's plans. By sending the eternal Son, who, as a righteous man, willingly shed his blood for man's redemption, God invented eternal Salvation. The Son, Jesus Christ, is the Tree of Life.  

The second question was: Is this knowledge reserved for God alone, or are its fruits poisonous? Prof. Kilchör repeats, albeit unintentionally, the serpent's question because he believes that at some point God will give permission to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. His logic is that the tree does not bear any fruit of life or death and that the only thing that matters is to wait patiently until God offers the fruit.

In what we have said, we hope it has become clear that the fruits of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil are corrupt fruits and are therefore poisonous; the tree is already corrupt from its roots. There is no improvement for this tree, it will rot. For people, however, the solution is: Whoever believes in Jesus, as the Bible describes it, has eternal life, because he believes that Jesus suffered and bled in his place, even unto death.

Ps. 119:89 For ever, O LORD, your word stands firm in the heavens.  


The Hebrew word רַע ( ra) really means evil, as indicated in the root of the word. Thus, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is corrupted from its root, and so is its fruit; this corrupt tree stands as a metaphor for Satan and thus also explains the origin of sin. His rebellion against God began in his heart, whereupon God threw him to the earth. God's judgement  is eternal damnation. Satan not only seduced the third part of the angels, he also seduced Eve, thus revealing how profound his rebellion was. Jesus enlightens us about this when he says of him: He is a murderer of men from the beginning. By eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, man was infected with the poison of rebellion, which inevitably resulted in their death.

The "and" used in Genesis 2:9 must not be understood as an explicative "and", but as something that connects things that are similar in a list, just like trees. The text therefore speaks of two different trees, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Also because of their completely opposite character and effect, they must be two different trees. If one desires the tree of life, it brings eternal life; if one desires the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, one obtains only the knowledge of one's own evil state; and its poison causes eternal death.

The phrase, "in the midst of the garden" does not speak of a geometric center, the tree of life, the Lord Himself, was to be the center of Adam and Eve's lives. Eve, however, had already moved the tree of life out of the middle of her life before the seduction. The snake recognized this, because by means of her evil science she determined: Eve's desire is less for the tree of life and less for her husband. The snake took advantage of the moment and seduced the woman.

Trees are used in the Bible as a metaphor for people, for countries and for religious systems, so the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is metaphorical for both the deceiver and his religious system, which is a branched structure with many branches. The tree of life symbolizes the seven-flame candlestick that provides true knowledge, but also advice and strength, and wisdom and understanding. The lampstand and also the tree of life stand metaphorical for Jesus our Lord. See also Romans 11, the two olive trees (oil as a metaphor for spirit; one for the Spirit of God and the other for the evil spirit).  

The one-tree thesis is and remains absurd and is diabolical, but God's word is clear:  

Choose the life that you may live.  

Berlin, July 21, 2023

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