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The Tree in the Midst of the Garden

July 13, 2019
By Martin Luther

The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

GENESIS 2:9

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The Tree in the Midst of the Garden

When Adam had been created in such a way that he was, as it were, intoxicated with rejoicing toward God and was delighted also with all the other creatures, there is now created a new tree for the distinguishing of good and evil, so that Adam might have a definite way to express his worship and reverence toward God. After everything had been entrusted to him to make use of it according to his will, whether he wished to do so for necessity or for pleasure, God finally demands from Adam that at this tree of the knowledge of good and evil he demonstrate his reverence and obedience toward God and that he maintain this practice, as it were, of worshiping God by not eating anything from it. . . . This is a matter of theology that here this statement about the tree is put before Adam in order that he may also have some outward physical way of indicating his worship of God and of demonstrating his obedience by an outward work. In a similar way the Sabbath, of which we spoke above, has to do chiefly with demonstrating inner and spiritual worship, with faith, love, prayer, etc. . . . This tree of the knowledge of good and evil was Adam's church, altar, and pulpit. Here he was to yield to God the obedience he owed, give recognition to the Word and will of God, give thanks to God, and call upon God for aid against temptation.

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