If there was no death before Adam's sin, why did God create a tree of Eternal life

Genesis 2:8 ff
And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, where He placed the man He had formed. 9Out of the ground the LORD God gave growth to every tree that is pleasing to the eye and good for food. And in the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 3
22Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil. And now, lest he reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever…”

\the implication, if not stated clearly, is that humanity was never immortal and was never meant to be.

All this talk about death coming from sin is just false. Death is as eternal as life. It always was and ever shall be, until or unless God chooses to change things.


I am curious as to why there has been no reply?

Is there no answer?

Or is the premise false?

The idea that sin caused natural death has been profusely proposed. This would seem to refute it.


Hi @RichardG . I signed up after seeing your question, however once I logged in, your thread does not show up on the main page for some reason. I had to search for it. Maybe that is why there are no responses? I am too new to know why that is happening.


As for Adam and his Wife, they were created immortal. It was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil that gave them bodies of corruption (i.e., bodies that die).

Both the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life are a ‘one shot deal’. In other words, they are designed only to be partaken of once. Neither tree therefore is ‘life sustaining’ or something that had to be partaken of regularly. We know this because the Tree of Life is in the New Heavens and New Earth where there is no death.

To suggest that the Tree of Life must be regularly eaten from to prevent death, implies that death exists in Heaven. That would be a contradiction.

I don’t find your argument convincing for a few reasons:

  1. Gen 2:16: “ You may eat freely from every tree of the garden, 17but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die.”

If death already existed, and Adam knew it did, then this is saying merely that Adam will die as soon as he eats the forbidden fruit, rather than some unknown time later. In the context, though, this is the first mention of death. We are not told if Adam at the time already knew about death and what it was, although it’s reasonable to assume that he did, since God does not explain what death is. We are also not told if Adam was already going to die eventually. Yet, the context strongly implies that “death” is a consequence that did not already exist for Adam, because death has not been mentioned at all. On the contrary, the story of Creation has been entirely about creating, existing and flourishing (Gen 1:22 & 28). God even addresses the issue of food (Gen 1:29-30) such that nothing that must die to be eaten is mentioned, but rather only plants. We know some plants that must be killed to eat, because what we eat the roots, so God may be indicating there that some plants will die that some animals/humans might live.

But that’s the closest Gen 1 comes to indicating the existence of death. And there are not enough details to confirm that God was referring to plants that must be killed to be eaten. This is the beginning of the Creation of Man, and we know now that species develop and go extinct in the material world, so we can’t rule out the possibility that such plants did not exist at that time and, thus, God was indicating that life would be sustained without the death of anything.

  1. I don’t think your conclusion is the only one available, or the most convincing, because of my first point, but I think there’s more. Before Gen 3:22, God had given no instructions directly concerning the Tree of Life. It seems clear, because of Gen 1:29-30, such instructions were unnecessary, since the Tree of Life is a fruit-bearing tree. Eating from it is only forbidden after the eating of the only forbidden fruit. Thus, before that eating of the forbidden fruit, couldn’t it had been that Adam and Eve and all things were going to live forever so long as they obeyed God? If so, then death did not have to exist already for God to say what he said in Gen 3:22. Its existence had to be possible, but that possibility did not have to be manifested.

  2. The whole point of salvation is the death of death achieved through the granting of eternal life by God, which requires the fulfillment of the conditions of the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:33-34), which Paul characterizes as “in all things [growing] up into Christ himself.” (Ephesians 4:15) And fulfilling those conditions requires complete faith in God, which means complete love of and trust in God, as exemplified by Jesus. That is, the one thing Adam & Eve failed at: Obedience to God. This surely a strong suggestion that their disobedience is the reason death existed in all that is told in the Bible after that event.

I don’t think the question of whether or not death already existed before God’s judgement in response to the eating of the forbidden fruit can be answered with certainty. But I think when you look closely at Genesis1-3 in the context of the whole Bible, the most likely conclusion is that death was not a part of things until after Adam & Eve’s disobeying of God. If they had resisted the serpent and, instead, obeyed God, they would have been able to eat of the Tree of Life all the time.

Unless God tells someone the truth directly, though, no one can know for sure.


Stop trying to make the text work in reality. It doesn’t!

There is not reason to think that Adam was ever eternal or that death came ito the world through him

The story is not meant to be taken literally. All this talk about death is just a red herring.

The tree of life was supposedly the only way to eternal life at that time. Adam was told not to eat from it also. If he was already eteral then there would be no poit or need to wrry about eating from the tree of life.And the worry about him becoming eternal is pointless if he already had been.

It doesn’t matter what Adam did or did not know about death. He ate because it looked good!. He had no idea of the consequences. He only understood after eating.

Besides, the whole story is not meant to be real at all!


Wow. I literally signed up to answer your post and this is the response. Most folks will have the courtesy to say ‘welcome’ at least.

Sorry, knee jerk reaction.

Your view is quite common. Doesn’t mean I agree with it.

You will find that my views are not always appreciated, especially when it comes to Genesis 1-11.

It never ceases to amaze me how convoluted the attempts at rationalising the Eden narative can be.


PS I hope you find the forum interesting if not provocative