Inspector Clouseau, while investigating the theft of the Pink Panther Diamond, was in the process of questioning suspects, when he asked to speak to Mr. So-and-so, and was told that it was impossible because Mr. So-and-so had suffered a fatal accident. Wanting more details, Inspector Clouseau then asked “How fatal?” “Completely fatal” came the answer. At that, Clouseau was satisfied and left.
With this in mind, let’s ask ourselves how fatal was the Fall of Man?
We all know that after Adam’s disobedience, that He and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden? But expulsion from the Garden was only a secondary effect of something more central: that Adam and Eve were prohibited from the Tree of Life.1 The Serpent said that God had only issued an empty threat and “that they would not surely die”2 God on the other hand, understands the ramifications of Sinful Man being kept immortal by the Tree of Life and ponders something horrible; that Man may “reach out his hand, take from the Tree of Life and live forever—”3 Notice how that verse trails off unfinished? It’s grammatically wrong on purpose. The consequences of sinful immortality are too awful to contemplate.
The Tree of Life reappears in Revelation as “granted to the ones who hear the Spirit” and is found in “the Paradise of God”4 The Tree of Life is also found in the Heavenly City, the New Jerusalem, with the Water of Life flowing from the Throne of God through the middle of the Tree of Life5 It’s not for landscaping, it’s there as a reward to those who have washed their robes, who may enter the City and have a right to the Tree of Life. But the dogs and sorcerers will be shut out.6
Will the Tree of Life be accessible to everyone?
No. The sinful will be “outside” of the City.7
Will access to, or denial of, the Tree of Life have an effect on immortality?
I think so. God is indeed capable of maintaining Sinful Man’s immortality without the Tree of Life, but there is no indication in Scripture that this will happen.
Sacraments in Scripture are more than just memorials. Sacraments are covenant signs of promises to come. When we come to the Lord’s Supper we “eat of the Bread of Life”8 that promises us immortality that was gained for us as He hung ‘accursed on the Tree’ The ones who are perishing think this is foolishness.9
“In Him we live and move and have our being”10 Past, present, future.
Without Him the Fall is indeed fatal. How fatal? Completely.
- Gen 3:24
- Gen 3:4
- Gen 3:22
- Rev 22:1
- Rev 22:14,15
- Rev 21:27
- John 6:51
- 1Cor 1:18
- Acts 17:28