from The Divine Covenants:
Contrary to the prevailing idea, I believe that Adam was eternally lost. He is mentioned only once again in Genesis, where we read: “And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness” (5:3). He is solemnly missing from the witnesses of faith in Hebrews 11! He is uniformly presented in the New Testament as the fountainhead of death, as Christ is of life (Rom. 5:12‑19; 1 Cor. 15:22).
In its deeper significance, the tree of life was an emblem and type of Christ. “The tree of life signified the Son of God, not indeed as He is Christ and Mediator (that consideration being peculiar to another covenant), but inasmuch as He is the life of man in every condition, and the fountain of all happiness. And how well was it spoken by one who said, that it became God from the first to represent, by an outward sign, that person whom He loves, and for whose glory He has made and does make all things; that man even then might acknowl[bless and do not curse]edge Him as such. Wherefore Christ is called ‘the Tree of Life’ (Rev. 22:2). What indeed He now is by His merit and efficacy, as Mediator, He would have always been as the Son of God; for, as by Him man was created and obtained an animal life, so, in like manner, he would have been transformed by Him and blessed with a heavenly life. Nor could He have been the life of the sinner, as Mediator, unless He had likewise been the life of man in his holy state, as God; having life in Himself, and being life itself” (H. Witsius).
Here, then, we believe was the first symbolical foreshadowment of Christ, set before the eyes of Adam and Eve in their sinless state; and a most suitable and significant emblem of Him was it. Let us consider these prefigurements.
1. Its very name obviously pointed to the Lord Jesus, of whom we read, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). Those words are to be taken in their widest latitude. All life is resident in Christ—natural life, spiritual life, resurrection life, eternal life. “For to me to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21) declares the saint: he lives in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17), he lives on Christ (John 6:50-57), he shall for all eternity live with Christ (1 Thess. 4:17).
2. The position it occupied: “in the midst of the garden” (Gen. 2:9). Note how this detail is emphasized in Revelation 2:7, “in the midst of the paradise of God,” and “in the midst of the street” (Rev. 22:2), and compare “in the midst of the elders stood a Lamb” (Rev. 5:6). Christ is the center of heaven’s glory and blessedness.
3. In its sacramental significance: In Eden the symbolic tree of life stood as the seal of the covenant, as the pledge of God’s faithfulness, as the ratification of His promises to Adam. So of the antitype we read, “For all the promises of God in him [Christ] are yea, and in him [Christ] Amen, unto the glory of God by us” (2 Cor. 1:20). Yes, it is in Christ that all the promises of the everlasting covenant are sealed and secured.
4. Its attractiveness: “pleasant to the sight and good for food” (Gen. 2:9). Superlatively is that true of the Savior: to the redeemed He is “fairer than the children of men” (Ps. 45:2), yea, “altogether lovely” (Song of Sol. 5:16). And when the believer is favored with a season of intimate communion with Him, what cause he has to say, “His fruit was sweet to my taste” (Song of Sol. 2:3).
5. From the symbolical tree of life the apostate rebel was excluded (Gen. 3:24); likewise from the antitypical tree of life shall every finally impenitent sinner be separated: “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power” (2 Thess. 1:9).
“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Rev. 22:14). Here is the final mention of the tree of life in Scripture—in marked and blessed contrast from what is recorded in Genesis 3:22-24. There we behold the disobedient rebel, under the curse of God, divinely excluded from the tree of life; for under the old covenant no provision was made for man’s restoration. But here we see a company under the new covenant, pronounced “blessed” by God, having been given the spirit of obedience, that they might have the right to enjoy the tree of life for all eternity. That “right” is threefold: the right which divine promise has given them (Heb. 5:9), the right of personal meetness (Heb. 12:14), and the right of evidential credentials (Jam. 2:21-25). None but those who, having been made new creatures in Christ, do His commandments, will enter the heavenly Jerusalem and be eternally regaled by the tree of life.