Many believe that Adam was created by God with inherent immortality until he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Although Eve was deceived by the serpent first, Adam took of the fruit and hence plunged mankind into the bondage of sin and death. However, an interesting question arises concerning the nature of Adam and Eve prior to eating the forbidden fruit. Did Adam and Eve have the intrinsic ability within their created nature to live forever? Or was their living forever contingent upon their access to what the scripture refers to as the “Tree of Life?”
Let us remember, that the Genesis account speaks of two particular trees within the garden that are relevant to our question. On the one hand, the nature of God’s command was that Adam and Eve could eat from every tree of the garden except from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil; for in the day that they eat of it, they will surely die. Yet, on the other hand, we are told that upon eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, God expelled Adam and Eve from the garden and placed a cherub with a flaming sword at the entrance to prevent them from re-entering. It is here where the Genesis text reveals something very interesting.
We see that the reason God expels Adam and Eve from the garden was to prevent them from having access to the “Tree of Life”:
“Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil. And now lest he reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever…” Therefore, the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken…” (Genesis 3:22-23).
It seems as though the text is indicating that the immortality of Adam and Eve was dependent upon their access to the tree of life. Since Adam most definitely died spiritually in the day that he ate of the fruit, God saw fit to remove man from the garden lest he eat from the tree of life and have physical immortality while also being spiritually dead thus forever remaining in that state.
Now I suppose this raises more questions than it answers. But I think it is sufficient to conclude that the immortality of our first parents was contingent upon their access to the Tree of Life. And to prevent man from living forever in a fallen state, God barred access to the Tree of Life and expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.