Monday, April 4, 2011

Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life

Charles Darwin
On BBC Television recently, there was an interesting television program with the title, "Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life." The presenter sought to parallel the Biblical "Tree of Life" with the theoretical "Amniote Phylogeny presented as the 'Tree of Life'" of the evolutionary process (see Memorial University Diagram by Steven M. Carr.) In this theory, original life, whatever that was, moved from one primitive form through the apes to human beings.

Charles Darwin, in 1859 wrote, "The affinities of all the beings of the same class have sometimes been represented by a great tree... As buds give rise by growth to fresh buds, and these if vigorous, branch out and over top on all sides many a feebler branch, so by generation I believe it has been with the great Tree of Life, which fills with its dead and broken branches the crust of the earth, and covers the surface with its ever branching and beautiful ramifications."

Old Tree
To use the term "Tree of Life" without reference to its source in Creation or the Last Days would not have made any sense to the Christian gentleman, Charles Darwin. He was well aware that God placed the first human beings not in an opulent palace but in a natural garden.

"The Tree of Life" is first found in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2.9, "And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground - trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil."

Traditional Area of Garden of Eden
Eden is clearly located in Genesis 2.10-14 at the intersection of the Tigris River, the Euphrates River, the Pishon and the Gihon Rivers. "A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates."

Note that in the Garden of Eden there were two trees mentioned, the "Tree of Life" and the "Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil." This second tree was the one that was forbidden of Adam and Eve by God and eventually was the cause of the Fall and the ejection of Adam and Eve from the Garden. Disobeying God and eating from the "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil" turned into shame for the first humans as they realized that they were naked and tried to cover themselves from the sight of God with leaves. Note that this benevolent God, even at this time of great disruption, still clothed Adam and Eve with animal skins to keep them warm and maintain their dignity in God's sight.

"The Tree of Life" reappears at the end of time in the Book of Revelation. God says in Revelation 2.7, "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the Tree of Life, which is in the paradise of God."

Flag of Tree of Life
Again the Tree of Life is pictured in the great street of the New City of Jerusalem where "the River of Life" runs. Thus Revelation 22.2 reads, "down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the Tree of Life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations." There will be no more pain, tears or heartache for individuals there or the nations of the new earth whose differences will be healed.

The River of Life, the Tree of Life and entrance into the Holy City are reserved for the redeemed. In Revelation 22.14 we read, "Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city." This privilege is reserved according to 22.19 for those who do not add to nor take away words from this Book of Prophecy i.e. The Book of Revelation. "And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book." It is a serious crime to add to the words of Scripture or cut pieces out to suit our own fancies and such a travesty will not remain unpunished by our all knowing God.

In a strange sense, the television program drew the archeological record closer to Biblical truth in the assertion of one single continental mass, called the Pangea (see the numerous videos on You Tube showing the presumed movement of the continents over 400 million years from the Pangea to the Present day.) From this one land mass, all living beings and presumably human beings came. This conforms to an interesting and ancient Jewish tradition that after the flood, the three sons of Noah, that is Ham, Shem and Japheth were of the three distinctive racial groups who went out from the Tigris/ Euphrates region to populate the world (i.e. Pangea). Thus the descendants of Japheth (white people) went into Europe, the descendants of Shem of the yellow species migrated towards china, and the descendants of Ham (the Black skinned group) moved into Africa.

Maybe this has given you some pause for thought. I hope so. That's what I think anyway,

Rev Ron

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