Questions From Readers
● How did Adam after his rebellion learn that God said, “Here the man has become like one of us in knowing good and bad, and now in order that he may not put his hand out and actually take fruit also of the tree of life and eat and live to time indefinite,—”? (Gen. 3:22)—E. D., U.S.A.
This text does not say that Jehovah God said this to himself so that Adam could not hear it. Rather, it strongly appears that Jehovah said it out loud so that Adam could hear and know why he was being driven out of the paradise of pleasure. In doing this, God surprised Adam with something that he did not know before, neither he nor his wife, Eve; namely, that in the middle of the garden there was the “tree of life” and that to be privileged to eat of that tree betokened that the eater was deserving of life everlasting in the paradise.
There is nothing in the preceding record to indicate that either Adam or Eve knew of this “tree of life” in the middle of the Garden of Eden, when Eve engaged in conversation with the serpent. Then she mentioned only the trees of the garden and included them all in one group and made an exception only with the “tree of the knowledge of good and bad,” which was prohibited to her and her husband, but she made no mention to the serpent of the “tree of life in the middle of the garden,” this tree that is mentioned in the ninth verse of the second chapter.
So now God says that for the express purpose of preventing them from eating of this tree he is driving them out: “With that Jehovah God put him out of the garden of Eden to cultivate the ground from which he had been taken. And so he drove the man out.” (Gen. 3:23, 24) Doubtless when God drove them out he ordered them out with some verbal expression and told them in effect to “Get moving!” Thus it is most likely that Adam learned of the “tree of life” and of God’s expression here, “Man has become like one of us in knowing good and bad,” by an audible expression on the part of Jehovah God, not by God’s saying this in his heart and then causing some inspired revelation to Adam later on. Then when Adam wrote this second document he could refer to this “tree of life in the middle of the garden” of Eden.