Great question, why did God put two trees in the Garden. Were Adam and Eve set up to fail by God? These are important questions that every question should ask, wrestle with and come to an understanding on.
To help in that process, we thought this teaching by pastor Bill Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding, CA was extremely helpful in giving us a solid biblical understanding of God’s intention and wisdom in putting two-trees in the Garden. Johnson even helps us to understand that God still puts two trees in the garden of our lives today.
He begins by saying, “There are always two trees in the Garden. There’s always one that you eat from and there’s always one you don’t eat from. And the reason is because of the nature of God.”
As Johnson then unfolds the depths God will go to in order to protect our freewill it becomes clear that “[God placed] two trees in the Garden so that [we] have a choice.” Even today, God places two trees in every season of our life so that we constantly have freewill to choose what will bring us life (Him and His ways) or what will bring us only death (away from Him and His ways).
He importantly goes on to explain that placing two trees—one to eat from and one to not eat from—is never a punishment from God but instead God setting us up to reward us. “It’s not punishment. He just sets us up to be rewarded. If there are not two trees—one good and one bad—in your garden of life than you can’t be rewarded for making the right choice. And if you have no choice, no options, we can’t say you have freewill.”
A great example of this was that the Israelites in the desert, on their way to the Promise Land, had two trees to choose from. “Part of the problem with Israel’s failure and Moses’s maturity is found in this phrase, ‘Israel was acquainted with the acts of God. Moses was acquainted with His ways.’ Moses took the acts of God and discovered His nature to make a covenant with God. That’s why he was stable during the shifting seasons and Israel was not.” In short, Moses ate from the tree of life (God Himself), grew in wisdom and gained intimate knowledge of God’s ways so was, therefore, able to thrive no matter what opposed him or seasonally affected him. Whereas Israel only knew God from afar. They only knew what He gave them and did for them—His acts, not His nature, heart, mind and ways. They didn’t press into the tree of life like Moses, so when opposition and hardship came, they were too easily tempted by that which was not of God. Or in other words, they were tempted by the second tree.
So, next time you’re in a long season of waiting, hardship or perhaps seeming silence from God on a dire situation, remember that second tree. Remember that it’s in those seasons where that second tree can look awfully tempting. Johnson drives this point home stating, “[After weeks] go by and you wonder, ‘Where is this God who made covenant with you to always care for you? What is He doing?’ He just put a second tree in your garden. Are you going to let the absence of an immediate breakthrough change your revelation of God’s nature? Or are you going to allow it to change your perception of who He is? Because this is the issue—It’s reasoning that is contrary to the knowledge of God.”
We encourage you to listen to pastor Bill Johnson’s full teaching on this subject. His refreshing message will equip you to fully understand God’s promise and victory over that second tree and all that it represents in the fall of man and ultimately the everlasting redemption of man through Christ.