TREE OF LIFE >> Divine Wisdom of Life
The Bible begins with an account of a beautiful garden containing every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food; and in the midst of the garden was the Tree of Life. It closes with a description of a holy city, through the golden streets of which ran the river of water of life, and on either side of the river grew “the Tree of Life, bearing twelve manner of fruits, yielding her fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:2). By the Garden of Eden is represented the innocent state of primeval man, taught by God, and wise from God in every work of heavenly love. By the Holy City is represented the state of man regenerated, returning with full rational development to the innocence of his childhood, to be wise again with the wisdom of the Lord, and to bring forth the fruits of the Divine Love for men (Divine Providence #313).
Every variety of Christian faith and love is represented by the twelve apostles and the twelve tribes of Israel; every variety of Christian usefulness, by the twelve kinds of fruit produced by the Tree of Life. In the full sense every variety of intelligence and wisdom that looks to useful life lives from the Tree of Life which is in the midst of them all. Every tree that is good for food represents some wisdom of life that teaches good uses; every tree pleasant to the sight represents some intelligent knowledge that is a means of usefulness; herbs yielding seed that is good for food are the teaching of duties; and the grass and flowering herbage are the knowledge about good life by which the mind grows until it becomes mature and rational and can begin to do the good things which it has learned about. All these are of the wisdom of the Lord by which men live. They exist in every variety in the heavens, as to their spiritual essence, in the minds of angels and spirits; and as to their representative forms, in the paradises, the gardens, and fields which make heaven beautiful.
In the inmost heaven, . . . where love to the Lord reigns, their paradises and forests consist of olive yards and fig trees; but in the second heaven they consist of vineyards and various kinds of fruit trees; in like manner in the lowest heaven, but with this difference, that in this heaven the trees are not so noble. (Apocalypse Explained #638)
In heaven there appear paradisiacal gardens with fruit trees according to the angels’ wisdom from good of love from the Lord; but around thosewho are in intelligence and not in the good of love, there does not appear a garden, but grass; and around those who are in faith separate from charity, not even grass grows, but sand. (Apocalypse Revealed #90)
They who have loved the sciences, and by them have cultivated their rational mind, and thus have procured for themselves intelligence, and at the same time have acknowledged the Divine, have their pleasure in the sciences and rational enjoyment turned in the other life into spiritual enjoyment, which is of knowledge of what is good and true. They dwell in gardens, where there appear flower beds and grass plots beautifully laid out, and rows of trees round about, with porticos and walks; the trees and flowers being varied from day to day. The sight of all in general brings joys to their minds, and the varied particulars continually renew them. And because these correspond to Divine things, and they are acquainted with correspondences, they are continually filled with new knowledges, and thereby their spiritual-rational is perfected. These are their enjoyments, because gardens, flower beds, grass plots, and trees correspond to sciences, knowledges, and intelligence therefrom. (Heaven and Hell #489)
The influence of heaven is continually descending to the earth, and operating both upon the minds of men and upon the substances of nature, in the effort to produce upon the earth forms of the Divine Life like those in heaven. In heaven they exist in a fullness of interior perfection and variety that is not possible in the grosser atmospheres and earths of the natural world. Here the innumerable varieties of heaven can only be expressed in generals. Yet the Holy City is a church upon the earth, corresponding to the heavens; and the Tree of Life which grows in that city is the Divine Wisdom of Life, as received by the men of the Church. Its fruits are the good works which they who know and love the Lord will do from Him for one another—the works of the Lord’s Providence done by Him through men; and its leaves are the rational perceptions of what conduces to good life by which they who live “in evils and in falsities will be led to think soundly and to live becomingly” (Apocalypse Revealed #936). And whatever of the Tree of Life is implanted in the natural life in this world, has in it the possibility of endless development in heaven—of wisdom and usefulness and a sense of life from the Lord, with all the beautiful external creations which correspond to these things.
Author: JOHN WORCESTER 1875