The tree of life is no more a “magical tree” than the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It is not the fruit that results intrinsically in the life associated with the former not in the death associated with the latter. Instead, both trees are ordinary trees with judicially assigned functions emblematic of flourishing and dying, respectively.
Having suggested in my previous post that there was nothing magical or supernatural about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we turn now to the other tree: the tree of life. Was this tree of a character fundamentally different from the first tree? Let us explore the data.
The text says relatively little about the second tree, only that it was “in the middle of the garden” together with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (2:9). Some suggest that Adam and Eve were not aware of its identity and never “found” it, thus missing their chance to achieve immortal perfection, or that they were barred from this tree until God invited them to eat from it. Standing against these possibilities are the facts that the tree stood prominently in the middle of the garden and that God freely invited Adam to eat from every tree other than the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. No tree would have been more appealing to them, and since they were explicitly permitted to eat from it, they likely did. If this act of eating occurred, however, it apparently had no permanent effect on them.
God’s concern about Adam and Eve eating the fruit of the tree of life becomes active only after Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The words here startle, suggesting that to eat from the tree of life after eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would be disastrous:
The LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.