The temple presents the Garden of Eden experience as a basic archetype that underlies human life. The temple–prepare to be shocked–is right.

Take the fruits of the Tree of Life and of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Munching down the latter barred our first parents from taking a bit of the other. In the story, angels with flaming swords prevented them from taking both, lest they live forever in their sins.

The Tree of Knowledge represents sin, and the Tree of Life represents eternity. In human life, in daily life, we must and cannot make our sinful choices permanent ones. We must be able to revisit and revise our choices. God’s decree to place angels with flaming swords in front of the Tree of Life is a decree that we be able to repent. There is a sense in which the angel guarding the tree is the Great Angel, Jesus Christ, and the sword is the sword of the word of God, that pricks the conscience. The bar against making our sins permanent also means that daily life needs to be an arena of change, interruption, forgetfulness, even, ultimately, of death. Each of those push reset buttons in different kinds of ways and allow us to re-approach and reconsider our choices.

Christ is associated with the Tree of Life. The only choices we make in this life that can last are choices for Christ.

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