Thursday, June 19, 2008
The Fruit of the Tree of Life and Eternal Life
Lehi saw a vision of the Tree of Life (See 1 Nephi 8). In his vision he saw some pressing forward until they arrived at the tree and tasted its fruit. Some of them "after they had tasted of the fruit...were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost" (1 Nephi 8:28).
Nephi, the son of Lehi, wished to "know the things that [his] father had seen" (1 Nephi 10:1) and then had a glorious vision recorded in 1 Nephi 11-14. After his vision, he explained the vision to his brothers in 1 Nephi 15. At the close of his explanation of the vision he had something quite remarkable to say:
Wherefore, the wicked are rejected from the righteous, and also from that tree of life, whose fruit is most precious and most desirable above all other fruits; yea, and it [i.e., the fruit] is the greatest of all the gifts of God (1 Nephi 15:36).
This should make any LDS seminary graduate to raise his eyebrows. What is the greatest of all the gifts of God?
The Doctrine and Covenants states that "eternal life...is the greatest of all the gifts of God" and also that "there is no greater gift than the gift of salvation" (14:7; 6:13). So salvation or eternal life is the greatest gift a child of God can receive, and this is synonymous with the fruit of the tree of life!
So, apparently some can partake of the fruit of the tree of life (which is eternal life or salvation) and then fall away. Since this life is the time to prepare to meet God, and since salvation cannot be lost after death, in what ways can we partake of eternal life and salvation in this life?
PS. There are a few Biblical references to having "eternal life" in this life. I won't point them out to you specifically, but they're there.
Posted by Andrew I. Miller at 4:06 PM