Elohim avoiding man to violate His other commandment

What if the man might take the fruit from the tree of life, would eat that fruit and will live forever?

Avoiding that man would stretch out his hand and would also take from the Tree of Life and would eat and live forever,

Very early in the history of mankind, we find the moment that the two created beings wanted to become like their Divine Creator or would like to become like gods.

Neither the first nor the second account of creation portrays humankind as created immortal. Nor does the punishment of v. 19, which speaks of Adam’s returning to the ground from which he was taken, mean that he would have lived forever, had it not been for his disobedience.

The Bore is not pleased that the man has become “one,” unique in the lower world as He is in the upper world. {Rashi} Knowing good and bad is what made him unique. Neither cattle nor wild animals have this quality. God has questions by the new position of man and wonders what if he should stretch out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever! Rashi wonders:

In that case, he would likely mislead people into thinking that he too is a god. — There are many midrashim based on this phrase, but they do not fit the straightforward sense very well.{Rashi}

If the Hebrew meant that man had become “one,” both the vowels of that word and the punctuation would be different; it would have to say,

“Now the man has become like one. Of us, knowing good and bad.”

That interpretation is grammatically impossible. (What sense would it make anyway? questions Ibn Ezra)

As for “of us,” it is definitely first person plural and not third person singular.KK I explained in my grammar why the Hebrew word has a double נ; the Easterners who pronounce it with a single נ are in error. Becoming “like one of us” corresponds to “you will be like divine beings who know good and bad” of v. 5. Or perhaps it is saying, “The man ‘has become like one of us’”—he thinks he has. In any case, there is no need for surprise at the Holy One’s saying “us.” Remember “Let us make man in our image” (1:26) and “Let us, then, go down” (11:7). This is the Holy One speaking with the angels. What if he should stretch out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever! This tree would greatly increase one’s lifespan. But “forever” is not the correct translation here; the same word is used as in Exod. 21:6, where the slave who declines to go free after six years has his ear pierced, after which “he shall remain his slave forever,” or when Hannah promises to bring Samuel to the Lord, after which “he must remain there for good” (1 Sam. 1:22), neither of which can be taken literally. There are many other examples of this usage. Many commentators take “you must not eat of it; for as soon as you eat of it, you shall die” (2:17) to imply that man was created immortal, and death was decreed on him only because he sinned, to which many others respond by asking, “How did his offspring sin?” But all this is pointless. In this world, man and beast are alike; “as the one dies so dies the other” (Eccles. 3:19). Only in his higher aspect does man have “superiority over beast” (Eccles. 3:19). One of the Greek physicians has proved conclusively that it is impossible for human life to be unending. {Ibn Ezra}

Though when reading the other books of the Bible we can come to the only solution that it fits in the Adonai His Plan that there shall come a time when man shall be allowed to live endlessly. (Even when scientists can n to declare that.) We look forward to Chayyei Ein Sof or Chayyei Olam.

Now, however, the 1st man and his Chavah had been cursed with dying before their time. Jehovah had witnessed their disobedience and realised what danger there could be if he left them in the garden where there was still the tree of life in the midst of the garden, they were not allowed to eat from. (Ge 2:9) To avoid them to eat from this tree, so that they would not violate His mitzva just as they did with the other tree, God expelled them from the Gan Eden.

“YHWH God said: Here, the human has become like one of us, in knowing good and evil. So now, lest he send forth his hand and take also from the Tree of Life and eat and live throughout the ages . . . !
So YHWH God sent him away from the garden of Eden, to work the ground from which he had been taken.
He drove the human out and caused to dwell, east of the garden of Eden, the winged-sphinxes and the flashing, ever-turning sword to watch over the way to the Tree of Life.”
(Genesis 3:22–24 SB)

In case man should stretch out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever, he would likely mislead people into thinking that he too is a god.

— There are many midrashim based on this phrase, but they do not fit the straightforward sense very well. {Rashi}

Nahmanides writes:

The Holy One wished to enforce His decree that the man should die. But if he ate from the tree of life, which was created to give those who eat from it eternal life, the decree would be annulled. Either he would not die at all, or his day would not come at the time decreed for him by his nature. Now that he had free will, the tree had to be guarded from him. For originally he would do nothing but what he was commanded. He would not have eaten from this tree, for he had no need to. You must understand and believe that the garden of Eden exists here on earth, along with its tree of life and tree of knowledge. For “a river issues from Eden to water the garden, and it then divides and becomes four branches” (2:10), which we indeed see: the Euphrates in our land and on our border, and the Pishon—the Nile, as tradition says. Ibn Ezra denies this in his comment to 2:14, but there are plenty of rivers that flow a long way from their sources, dive underground, and reemerge at the base of a mountain far away.HH But just as they are here on earth, there are others by the same name in heaven that are the foundation of these. A midrash on the verse “The king has brought me to his chambers” (Song 1:4) says that the four rivers match four heavenly camps, from which the four kingdoms on earth draw their power. As the prophet says, “In that day, the LORD will punish the host of heaven in heaven and the kings of the earth on earth” (Isa. 24:21). As for the heavenly tree of life and tree of knowledge, they are a lofty mystery indeed. The man sinned with fruit of the lower tree of knowledge and the higher one, in deed and in thought. If the tree were really “good for eating and . . . desirable as a source of wisdom” (v. 6), why would the Holy One have stopped him from eating it? God “does not withhold His bounty from those who live without blame” (Ps. 84:12). As for the serpent, he certainly does not have the power to speak nowadays, and if he had it originally his curse would surely have said that he was being turned into a mute; that curse would have been worse than all the others. But all these things are double. Both the open meaning and the sealed one are true. Genesis Rabbah tells us that the offerings were to make the tree of life and the tree of knowledge and all the other trees of the garden sprout and grow—that was the “tilling and tending” that the man was to do.

The Elohim want His creatures created in His likeness to gain wisdom. The God of Israel in Prov. 3:18 asserts that the tree of life, in the form of Wisdom (therein personified as a woman), remains available to

“those who grasp her.”

The Rabbis identified wisdom with Torah and could therefore cite Prov. 3:18 in support of their characteristic affirmation that Torah

“gives life to those who practice it, in this world and in the world–to–come” (m. ʾAvot 6:7).

In Judaism, the estrangement caused by the innate human appetite for evil does not require an act of messianic redemption to be healed. Rather, the practice and study of Torah renew intimacy with the God of Israel and lead to eternal life.

“The Holy One (blessed be He) created the Evil Inclination; He created Torah as its antidote” (b. B. Bat. 16a).

To be able to receive salvation, a person, first of all, has to come to terms with God. Without being pure in heart and without feeling guilt over wrongly done things, there will be no salvation from death. It is not because there has been provided a Messiah, that all people would be saved and receive an endless life. Those who continue in their sin and forfeit their authority make no chance. The Adonai wants people to think about what they have done and to repent and correct the problem there is. God, always, gives us a choice. There is a saying that with great power comes great responsibility and it is up to each individual to take up his or her own responsibility.

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Preceding

The Man and mannin versus the One Who allows us to exist

The image, living beings and being accountable to God

Moment of getting knowledge and its consequence

Conscience, seeing good and bad, having to face punishment for misdeeds

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Additional reading

  1. An openingschapter explaining why things are like they are and why we may have hope for better things
  2. A solution for a damaged relationship 1 All vegetation for food except one fruit
  3. The Way of God or the way of the world?
  4. Adam and the Tree of Life
  5. Not trying to make the heathen live like Jews #1
  6. First mention of a solution against death 2 Harm or no harm and naked truth
  7. The 1st Adam in the Hebrew Scriptures #8 Looking for the 2nd Adam
  8. Foretold Messiah 1 First mentioning
  9. Today’s thought “The one who conquers will …” (July 1)

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Related postings

  1. Is There Grace In Genesis Chapter 3?
  2. 27. The fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind: Tree of Life
  3. 28. The tree that yields fruit: World Tree/Tree of Life
  4. What was the worst day in human history?
  5. Eve, Part IIScriptural Analysis- Genesis 3:21
  6. Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 3:22-24
  7. Genesis 3: Man’s Downfall, and a promise
  8. The Fall & Rise of Man
  9. God’s Sovereignty Control Chance Choice
  10. Who Defines What is Good or Evil?
  11. If there was (and is) a tree of knowledge, how vast is the nature of innocence, the realm of not knowing, and even the capacity of refusing knowledge?
  12. The Tree of Life
  13. The tree of life and your right to choose
  14. Part 2: Chapter 2 – Day 1: A Tree of Life
  15. The Tree of Life: An Experience Like No Other
  16. The “Love”-“Hate” Relationship – Part 6c: Loving God With All Our Heart (beneficial/sacrificial action – cont.)
  17. Come, Let’s Meet In The Garden
  18. Have you left your first love?
  19. Who Wants to Live Forever

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