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Tree of Life, Knowledge and Good and Evil, SMMoon

To: alt.religion.unification,talk.religion.misc,alt.religion.christian,alt.christnet.theology
From: (Damian J. Anderson)
Subject: DP: The Tree of Life, Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil
Date: 19 Dec 1996 08:05:57 GMT

               Exposition of the Divine Principle
                        1996 Translation
                       Rev. Sun Myung Moon

                            Chapter 2
                         The Human Fall

                            Section 1

                         The Root of Sin

              1.1 The Tree of Life and the Tree of
                 the Knowledge of Good and Evil

Adam and Eve fell when they ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge
of good and evil. Many Christians to this day have thought that this
was the fruit of an actual tree. But would God, the loving Parent of
humanity, make a fruit which could cause the Fall to look so
attractive?1 Would He place it where His children could reach it so
easily? Furthermore, Jesus said, "Not what goes into the mouth defiles
a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man."2 How,
then, can a food which one eats cause one to fall?

Humankind is beset by the original sin, which has been inherited from
our first ancestors. Yet how can something one eats cause a sin which
can be transmitted to one's descendants? The only way something can be
inherited is by being passed down through the lineage. The temporary
ill effects of eating something cannot be perpetuated through the long
descent of lineage.

There are those who believe that God made the fruit of the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil and commanded Adam and Eve not to eat it in
order to test their obedience to Him. We may ask: would the God of
love test humans so mercilessly by a means that could cause their
death? Adam and Eve knew they would die the moment they ate the fruit,
for God had told them so. Yet still they ate it. Adam and Eve did not
lack for food. They would not have risked their lives and disobeyed
God only to obtain some delicacy. Therefore, we can surmise that the
fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil could not have
been an ordinary fruit. Rather, it must have been something so
extraordinarily stimulating that even the fear of death did not deter
them from grasping it.

If the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was not a
material fruit, then it must be a symbol which represents something
else. Why should we stubbornly adhere to a literal interpretation of
the fruit when so much of the Bible makes use of symbolism and
metaphor? We would do well to abandon such a narrow and old-fashioned
attitude of faith.

To learn what the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil
represents, let us first investigate the tree of life, which stood
next to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of
Eden.3 When we grasp the meaning of the tree of life, then we can also
understand the meaning of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

                     1.1.1 The Tree of Life

According to the Bible, the hope of fallen people is to approach or
attain the tree of life: "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a
desire fulfilled is a tree of life."4 Thus, the Israelites of the Old
Testament Age looked to the tree of life as their hope. Likewise, the
hope of all Christians from the time of Jesus until today has been to
approach and partake of the tree of life: "Blessed are those who wash
their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and that
they may enter the city by the gates."5 Since the ultimate hope of
humankind is the tree of life, we can infer that the hope of Adam was
also the tree of life.

It is written that when Adam fell, God blocked his path to the tree of
life by stationing the cherubim with a flaming sword to guard it.6
>From this we can also deduce that Adam's hope before the Fall was the
tree of life. Adam was cast out of the Garden of Eden without having
attained his hope, the tree of life. For fallen people ever since, the
tree of life has remained a hope unfulfilled.

What was the hope of Adam during the time he was immature and growing
toward perfection? He must have hoped to become a man who would
realize God's ideal of creation by growing to perfection without
falling. The tree of life in fact symbolizes a man who has fully
realized the ideal of creation. Perfected Adam was to be this ideal
man. The tree of life thus symbolizes perfected Adam.

Had Adam not fallen but attained the tree of life, all his descendants
could also have attained the tree of life. They would have built the
Kingdom of Heaven on earth. But Adam fell, and God blocked his path to
the tree with a flaming sword. Ever since, despite the best efforts of
fallen people to restore the ideal of creation, the tree of life has
remained an unattainable dream. Burdened by the original sin, fallen
people cannot complete the ideal of creation and become trees of life
by their own efforts alone. For this ideal to be achieved, a man who
has completed the ideal of creation must come to the earth as a tree
of life. All of humanity must then be engrafted with him7 and become
one with him. Jesus was the man who came as this tree of life. The
tree of life for which the faithful people of the Old Testament Age
longed8 was none other than Jesus.

Ever since God blocked Adam's path to the tree of life by guarding it
with the flaming sword, the tree could not be approached without first
clearing the path. On the day of Pentecost, tongues of fire descended
upon the saints, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit.9 This
event marked the clearing of the path and the moving aside of the
flaming sword, which appeared as the tongues of fire preceding the
rush of the Holy Spirit. It opened the way for all humanity to
approach Jesus, the tree of life, and be engrafted with him.

Nonetheless, Christians have been engrafted with Jesus only
spiritually. This is why the children of even the most devout
Christian parents still inherit sin, which must be redeemed. Even the
most faithful saints have not been rid of the original sin, and thus
cannot help but transmit it to their children.10 For this reason,
Christ must come again on earth as the tree of life. By engrafting all
humankind with himself once more, he is to redeem their original sin.
Christians thus impatiently await the tree of life, which in the Book
of Revelation symbolizes Christ at his Second Coming.11

The purpose of God's providence of salvation is to restore the failure
to attain the tree of life in the Garden of Eden by realizing the tree
of life mentioned in the Book of Revelation. Due to the Fall, Adam
could not fulfill the ideal of the first tree of life.12 In order to
complete the salvation of fallen humanity, Jesus, the "last Adam,"13
must come again as the tree of life in the Last Days.

        1.1.2 The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

God did not create Adam to be alone; He also created Eve to be Adam's
spouse. Just as there was a tree in the Garden of Eden which
symbolized a perfected man, there also should have been a tree which
represented a woman who has fully realized the ideal of creation. The
tree of the knowledge of good and evil, standing beside the tree of
life,14 was this tree which, by fulfilling its good purpose,
represents the ideal woman, perfected Eve.

The Bible refers to Jesus using the metaphors of a vine15 and a
branch.16 Likewise, to give us a hint about the secret of the human
Fall, God provided the symbolism of two trees to represent perfected
Adam and Eve.

Damian Anderson        +1-301-921-0082 Home    
Unification Home Page           
Web pages on Unificationist ideas and activities in 17 languages and growing.
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