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CHAPTER FOUR

The Tree of Life


Etz haChayim

http://www.newgrounds.com/art/view/falk/the-tree-of-life: Artist David Crystalface (FaLk)

To lay hold of wisdom is to lay hold on a tree of life (Proverbs 3:18)

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life (Proverbs 11:30)

A longing fulfilled is a tree of life (Proverbs 13:12)

The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life (Proverbs 15:4) 

"And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary.
Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing"
(Ezekiel 47:12).

To him who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life,
which is the paradise of God
(Revelation 2.7)

Through the middle of the street of the city [New Jerusalem], also,
on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit,
yielding in fruit each month;
and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations
(Revelation 22:2)

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
(Revelation 22:14)


 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tree of Life, a sculpted 145-foot tall, 50-foot wide tree, is the centerpiece and icon in Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park.
The tree is a big attraction with 325 animals carved in it.
 

A

KABBALISTIC VIEW OF DIMENSIONS


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/2012/07/11/some-more-trees-of-life-2/
Jacobs Ladder, showing the Four Worlds – a working model of the Vision of Ezekiel. 

The above diagram is the traditional Kabbalistic tree of life in which each ladder is a higher form of life with existence in one or more of different dimensions.  Thus order from the bottom is:

·        Non-living elements

·        Minerals

·        Vegetables

·        Animals entering the soul level over and above that of body

·        There are infinite number of creatures within the realms of body, soul, spirit, and divine in one or more dimensions within them

·        Adam extended all the way upto the Divine sphere at his creation being the son of God.  As someone with a divine dimension he was above decay and death which were in the lower realms of existence.

But sin deprived him of all glory.
The earth and the heavenly bodies lost their brightness, which will come back only in the Messianic time (Gen. R. xii.; Vita Adæ et Evæ, § 21; Philo, "Creation of the World," p. 60; Zohar, iii. 83b).
Death came upon Adam and all creation.
God's day being a thousand years (Ps. xc. 4), Adam was permitted to live 930 years—threescore and ten less than one thousand (Book of Jubilees, iv. 28, and Gen. R. xix.), so that the statement "in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die" might be fulfilled.
The brutes no longer stood in awe of man as their ruler; instead, they attacked him.
Jewish teaching:The deadly effect of sin can be removed by repentance.

But while sin was of fatal consequence, and the effect of the poison of the serpent is still felt by all following generations, unless they should be released from it by the covenant of Sinai ('Ab. Zarah, 22b; IV Book of Esdras; Apoc. Mosis, xx.).

 The Jewish haggadists emphasize one point not mentioned in the Bible, but of great doctrinal importance to the Jews in comparison with the teachings of Paul and his followers: The deadly effect of sin can be removed by repentance.

Hence, Adam is represented as a type of a penitent sinner. Thus, he is described in Vita Adæ et Evæ, as well as by the rabbis of the second century ('Er. 18b; 'Ab. Zarah, 8a; Ab. R. N. i.; Pirḳe R. El.), as undergoing a terrible ordeal while fasting, praying, and bathing in the river for seven and forty days (seven weeks, Pirḳe R. El.), or twice seven weeks—the shortening of the days after Tishri being taken by Adam as a sign of God's wrath, until after the winter solstice the days again grew longer, when he brought a sacrifice of thanksgiving. Another view is that when the sun rose the following morning he offered his thanksgiving, in which the angels joined him, singing the Sabbath Psalm (Ps. xcii.). About Adam and the one-horned ox (the Persian gaiomarth), see Kohut, in "Z. D. M. G." xxv. 78, n. 6.

On account of the Sabbath the sun retained its brightness for the day; but as darkness set in Adam was seized with fear, thinking of his sin. Then the Lord taught him how to make fire by striking stones together. Thenceforth the fire is greeted with a blessing at the close of each Sabbath day (Pesiḳ. R. xxiii.; Pirḳe R. El. xx.; similarly, Pes. 54a).

When Adam heard the curse, "Thou shalt eat of the herbs of the earth," he staggered, saying: "O Lord, must I and my ass eat out of the same manger?" Then the voice of God came reassuringly: "With the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat bread!" There is comfort in work. The angels taught Adam the work of agriculture, all the trades, and also how to work in iron (Book of Jubilees, iii. 12; Gen. R. xxiv.; Pes. 54a).

Adam in the Future World.

On the day Adam covered his naked body for the first time, he beheld in clothing a mark of human dignity, and offered God a thanksgiving of incense (Book of Jubilees, iii. 22). The garments made by God were not of skin, but of light (Gen. R. xx.), and robes of glory were made of the serpent's skin (Targ. Yer. Gen. iii. 21).

Adam, "the first to enter Hades" (Sibylline Oracles, i. 81), was also the first to receive the promise of resurrection (Gen. R. xxi. 7, after Ps. xvii. 15). According to the Testament of Abraham, Adam sits at the gates, watching with tears the multitude of souls passing through the wide gate to meet their punishment, and with joy the few entering the narrow gate to receive their reward.

The Jewish view concerning Adam's sin is best expressed by Ammi (Shab. 55a, based upon Ezek. xviii. 20): "No man dies without a sin of his own. Accordingly, all the pious, being permitted to behold the Shekinah (glory of God) before their death, reproach Adam (as they pass him by at the gate) for having brought death upon them; to which he replies: 'I died with but one sin, but you have committed many: on account of these you have died; not on my account'" (Tan., Ḥuḳḳat, 16).

To Adam are ascribed Ps. v., xix., xxiv., and xcii. (Midr. Teh. v. 3; Gen. R. xxii., end; Pesiḳ. R. xlvi.; see Bacher, "Ag. Pal. Amor." ii. 337 et seq.). His body, made an object of worship by some semi-pagan Melchisedician sect, according to the Christian Book of Adam, was shown in Talmudic times at Hebron, in the cave of Machpelah (B. B. 58a, Gen. R. lviii.), while Christian tradition placed it in Golgotha near Jerusalem (Origen, tract 35 in Matt.). It is a beautiful and certainly an original idea of the rabbis that "Adam was created from the dust of the place where the sanctuary was to rise for the atonement of all human sin," so that sin should never be a permanent or inherent part of man's nature (Gen. R. xiv., Yer. Naz. vii. 56b). The corresponding Christian legend of Golgotha was formed after the Jewish one.


B

ISLAMIC INTERPRETATION

In Mohammedan Literature:

No mention is made of Adam in the early suras of the Koran. Though Mohammed speaks of the creation of man in general from a "clot of blood" or a "drop of water" (suras lxxv. 34, lxxvii. 20, xcvi. 1), it is only in the later Meccan suras that the original creation of man is connected with a particular individual. But in these suras the theory is already developed that Satan's designs against man are consequent upon the expulsion of the former from paradise at the time of man's creation. Geiger has incorrectly remarked ("Was Hat Mohammed aus dem Judenthume Aufgenommen?" p. 100) that this is not a Jewish idea (see Vita Adæ et Evæ, § 16). It belongs also to the cycle of the Christian-Syriac Midrash (see Budge, "The Book of the Bee," p. 21, trans.; Bezold, "Die Schatzhöhle," pp. 5, 6, trans.). In the earliest account the name Adam does not occur; nor does Iblis vow vengeance upon a single individual, but rather upon the whole race of mankind:

Iblis, the Devil, Respited.

"When thy Lord said to the angels, 'Verily, I am about to create a mortal out of clay; and when I have fashioned him, and breathed into him of My spirit, then fall ye down before him adoring.' And the angels adored, all of them save Iblis, who was too big with pride, and was of the misbelievers. Said He, 'O Iblis! what prevents thee from adoring what I have created with My two hands? Art thou too big with pride? or art thou amongst the exalted?' Said he, 'I am better than he; Thou hast created me from fire, and him Thou hast created from clay.' Said He, 'Then go forth therefrom; for verily thou art pelted, and verily upon thee is My curse unto the day of judgment.' Said he, 'My Lord! then respite me until the day when they are raised.' Said He, 'Then thou art amongst the respited until the day of the stated time.' Said he, 'Then, by Thy might, I will surely seduce them all together, except Thy servants amongst them who are sincere!' Said He, 'It is the truth, and the truth I speak; I will surely fill hell with thee and with those who follow thee amongst them all together'" (sura xxxviii. 70-85).

At a later period Mohammed develops the personal character of the first man and his direct relationship to God, whose vicegerent (khalifah, calif) he is to be on earth. At the same time Satan is represented as being the one who drove Adam from paradise:

Adam as Vicegerent of God.

"And when thy Lord said unto the angels, 'I am about to place a vicegerent in the earth,' they said, 'Wilt Thou place therein one who will do evil therein and shed blood? We celebrate Thy praise and hallow Thee.' Said [the Lord], 'I know what ye know not.' And He taught Adam the names, all of them; then He propounded them to the angels and said, 'Declare to Me the names of these, if ye are truthful.' They said, 'Glory be to Thee! no knowledge is ours but what Thou Thyself hast taught us; verily, Thou art the knowing, the wise.' Said the Lord, 'O Adam, declare to them their names'; and when he had declared to them their names He said, 'Did I not say to you, I know the secrets of the heavens and of the earth, and I know what ye show and what ye are hiding?' And when He said to the angels, 'Adore Adam,' they adored him save only Iblis, who refused and was too proud, and became one of the misbelievers.

"And He said, 'O Adam, dwell, thou and thy wife, in paradise, and eat therefrom amply as you wish; but do not draw near this tree or ye will be of the transgressors.' And Satan made them backslide therefrom, and drove them out from what they were in, and He said, 'Go down, one of you the enemy of the other; and in the earth there are an abode and a provision for a time.' And Adam caught certain words from his Lord, and He turned toward him; for He is the Compassionate One easily turned. He said, 'Go down therefrom altogether, and haply there may come from Me a guidance, and whoso follows My guidance no fear is theirs, nor shall they grieve'" (sura ii. 29-36).

In sura vii. 10 et seq. the same story is repeated, though with several additions. In particular, Mohammed has now learned the manner in which Satan tempted Adam:

 

Satan Beguiles Adam.

"But Satan whispered to them to display to them what was kept back from them of their shame, and he said, 'Your Lord has only forbidden you this tree lest ye should be twain angels or should become of the immortals'; and he swore to them both, 'Verily, I am unto you a sincere adviser'; and he beguiled them by deceit, and when they twain tasted of the tree their shame was shown them, and they began to stitch upon themselves the leaves of the garden. And their Lord called unto them, 'Did I not forbid you from that tree there, and say to you, Verily, Satan is to you an open foe?' They said, 'O our Lord, we have wronged ourselves—and if Thou dost not forgive us and have mercy on us, we shall surely be of those who are lost!' He said, 'Go ye down, one of you to the other a foe; but for you in the earth there are an abode and a provision for a season.' He said, 'Therein shall ye live and therein shall ye die; from it shall ye be brought forth'" (sura vii. 19-24).

In suras xvii. 63, xviii. 48, references are also made to the refusal of Iblis to worship Adam. The latter was created from earth (iii. 51) or from clay (xxxii. 5).

That Adam is the first of the prophets is only hinted at in the Koran. In the passage (ii. 35) cited above, "And Adam caught certain words [kalimat] from his Lord," the reference may be to a supposed revelation to Adam. For this reason, in iii. 30, Mohammed says, "Verily, God has chosen Adam, and Noah, and Abraham's people, and Imram's people [the Christians]"; making Adam the representative of the antediluvian period.

Adam's Creation.

To these somewhat meager accounts later Arabic writers and commentators have added various details which find their parallel in the Jewish and Christian Midrash. Ḥamzah al-Ispahani expressly says that a Jewish rabbi in Bagdad, Zedekiah by name, told him, among other things, that Adam was created in the third hour of the sixth day, and Eve in the sixth hour; that they were made to dwell in Gan-Eden (), from which they were expelled after the ninth hour; that God sent an angel to them, who taught Adam how to sow and to perform all the other work connected with agriculture. The same angel instructed Eve how to perform all manner of household duties. The historians Tabari, Masudi, Al-Athir, etc., have evidently culled from similar sources. They tell us that when God wished to form Adam He sent first Gabriel, then Michael, to fetch soil for that purpose. The earth, however, refused to give the soil, and yielded only to the Angel of Death, who brought three kinds of soil, black, white, and red. Adam's descendants, therefore, belong either to the white, the black, or the red race.

The soul of Adam had been created thousands of years previously, and at first refused to enter the body of clay. God forced it violently through Adam's nose, which caused him to sneeze. As it descended into his mouth, he commenced to utter the praises of God. He tried to rise; but the soul had not yet descended into his feet. When he did stand upright, he reached from earth up to the throne of God, and had to shade his eyes with his hand because of the brilliancy of God's throne. His height was gradually diminished, partly as a punishment for his sin, and partly through grieving at the death of Abel.

The Future Unveiled to Him.

Adam wished to see the generations which were to come from him. God drew them all from out of his back; they stood in two rows—one of the righteous, the other of the sinners. When God told Adam the span of life given to each, he was surprised to find that only a small number of years had been allotted to David, and made him a present of forty years; of which present, says the Mohammedan Midrash, a formal document was drawn up and signed.

When Adam was driven from paradise, he first alighted on the island of Sarandib (Ceylon). Here his footprint (seventy ells long) is still to be seen, as is that of Abraham in Mecca. From Ceylon Adam journeyed to the holy city in Arabia, where he built the Kaaba, having through fasting and silence gained the partial forgiveness of God.

Another legend connects the building of the Kaaba with Abraham. When the time came for Adam to die, he had forgotten the gift of forty years to David, and had to be reminded of it by the Angel of Death. He is said to have been buried in the "Cave of Treasures"—a Christian, rather than a Jewish, idea. Several of these peculiar features are found again in the Pirḳe de-Rabbi Eliezer, a work that was compiled under Arabic influence (Zunz, "G. V." 2d ed., pp. 289 et seq.).


C

MORMON TEACHING

The Fall Was Necessary and it was in God's Plan

                          Mormon Teaching

 https://www.lds.org/ensign/2006/06/the-fulness-of-the-gospel-the-fall-of- adam-and-eve?lang=eng

The Lord gave Adam and Eve commandments in the Garden of Eden, two of which were to multiply and replenish the earth (see Gen. 1:28) and to not partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (see Gen. 2:17). These two commandments were designed to place Adam and Eve in a position where they had to make a choice. President Smith taught: “The Lord said to Adam that if he wished to remain as he was in the garden, then he was not to eat the fruit, but if he desired to eat it and partake of death he was at liberty to do so.”   Faced with this dilemma, Adam and Eve chose death—both physical and spiritual—which opened the door for themselves and their posterity to gain knowledge and experience and to participate in the Father’s plan of happiness leading to eternal life

.

After Adam and Eve partook of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, their eyes were opened, and Eve expressed gladness at the opportunity their transgression made possible: “Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient” (Moses 5:11).

Partaking of the fruit brought mortality, with its many opportunities to choose between good and evil, and enabled Adam and Eve to have children. Thus the Fall opened the door for Heavenly Father’s children to come into the world, obtain physical bodies, and participate in “the great plan of happiness” (Alma 42:8). “Therefore this life became a probationary state,” a time to learn and grow, to repent and overcome weakness, “a time to prepare to meet God” (Alma 12:24).

President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972) said: “I never speak of the part Eve took in this fall as a sin, nor do I accuse Adam of a sin. … This was a transgression of the law, but not a sin … for it was something that Adam and Eve had to do!” 

           In Gnosticism, the snake is thanked for bringing knowledge to Adam and Eve, and thereby freeing them from the Demiurge's (the fallen god) control. The Demiurge banished Adam and Eve, because man was now a threat.

           Ancient Greek mythology held that humanity was immortal during the Golden Age . When Prometheus gave the gift of fire to humans, helping them live through times of cold weather, the gods were angered. They gave Pandora a box and told her not to open it, knowing full well that her curiosity would get the better of her. When she opened the box, she released evil (death, sorrow, plague) into the world due to her curiosity. See Ages of Man for more.