20 Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.
21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
The mother of all living. And yet, life is exactly what they have lost.
In one last intimate act, Yahweh clothes his creatures. It feels like a kind of send off. A provision in the face of the new elements they would be facing. Or, perhaps a reminder of what they once were – naked and unashamed in the presence of God. Now, they hide behind the trees.
Man having eaten from one tree, is now barred from the other. It seems he could not have both. The tree of life, presumably previously open to them, is now guarded and the man driven out.
‘He has become like one of us,’ in regards to knowing good and evil, an attribute previously confined to God and his angels. But he does not possess what only God has – immortality. This is shown by the ‘access denied’ sign now nailed to the tree of life.
Something has been lost; he cannot now eat the fruit of this tree, even if he wanted to. This time, the rules are enforced; the freedom is limited. Life – life forever – is no longer for the taking. Now, a deadly weapon stands in the way.
Life is God’s provision to his creatures; it is not innately theirs. They cannot reach out to possess it eternally.
They are banished.