Life-Study of Psalms, by Witness Lee

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A. The Line of Life versus
the Line of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

In order to see the two lines of the Bible, we need to go back to the very beginning of the divine revelation at the creation of man. The book of Genesis reveals that God created man in His image so that He could have a vessel to contain Him for His expression (1:26-28; 2:7-9). After God created man, He did not give man a long list of instructions. He did not say to man, "Man, you have to know that I am your God. You have to fear Me, love Me, and obey Me. Furthermore, I will make you a wife, and you have to love her. After you have a wife, you will produce children, and you have to listen to Me so that you can pick up the best way to raise them." God did not do this.

After God created man in His own image and after His own likeness, He did not tell man what to do and what not to do. Instead, God brought man into a garden, signifying that God’s intention with man for the accomplishment of His economy needs a pleasant situation, a pleasant environment. Even to carry out the church life, we need a pleasant situation. If there is much complaining, arguing, debating, gossiping, and reasoning among us, the church life cannot be carried out. The garden on this earth today is the place where God’s people are gathered into the Lord’s name.

God brought Adam into a garden, into a pleasant environment, and put him in front of two trees—the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:9). God told Adam that he could freely eat of every tree in the garden, including the tree of life, but He warned Adam not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (vv. 16-17). In telling Adam that all the trees in the garden were good for food, God was very wise. His intention was to stress to Adam that the tree of life was good for food. Then God warned Adam not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, telling Adam that if he ate of it, he would surely die.

We need to realize that the entire Bible was written according to these two trees. The entire divine revelation is the development of the notion of these two trees. Genesis shows us man in a pleasant garden with the tree of life before him. Then in Revelation at the end of the divine revelation, we see the tree of life again (22:2). The tree of life not only was in the garden but also will be in the eternal city, the New Jerusalem. The line of the tree of life runs through the entire Bible from Genesis to reach the last chapter of the book of Revelation.

Someone may ask, "What does the Bible teach?" This question can be answered in many ways. We can say that the Bible teaches God’s economy or that it teaches Christ. In this message, I would say that the Bible teaches the tree of life. The Bible is a book which defines the tree of life. Along with the main line of the tree of life, there is another line, the line of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

When I was very young, I thought that God made a mistake in allowing Satan to exist. If He had not allowed Satan to exist, everything would be fine. Furthermore, after God created man, He did not put man in front of one tree. If there were only one tree, the tree of life, Adam would not have been able to fall even if he had wanted to fall. Why did God allow there to be two trees—the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? We might say that if we were God, we would have had only one tree in the garden. We probably think, "How good it would be if in this whole universe, there were only God, but not Satan." We might think this, but this is not according to God’s thought. Without Satan, the excellency, the majesty, the wisdom, and the marvelous, wonderful points of God could never be exhibited. God and Satan are two sources in the universe.

(Life-Study of Psalms, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)