Summary: This is my attempt to provide an original gospel presentation. I posted it on my blog and then added it to a discipleship web page attached to our church's web site.
Four Trees Gospel Account
The Tree of Life: God’s Original Intent: Genesis 1-2
The only way for a human being to know anything about God is for Him to reveal himself in some way. Fortunately for us, God has chosen to do that very thing. The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself and his plan for mankind. The Bible lets us know that God is love, and that he is all about having a close relationship with his creation. Genesis, the first book of the Bible tells about God’s creation of the world and the first humans he placed within a beautiful garden called Eden. Everything needed for human life was within that garden, and God himself, would enter the garden and speak to the two humans, Adam and Eve, every day in the cool of the evening. There was unbroken fellowship between God and mankind, and God directly provided all that was needed.
Within the garden, God planted two special trees. The first was called the “Tree of Life,” and as long as Adam and Eve remained in fellowship with God they could eat freely of this tree and live forever in fellowship with God. But God also planted another tree in the garden and called it the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.” God told Adam and Eve that whenever they ate of that tree they would die. No doubt, you may wonder why God would bother to put the second tree in the garden. He had a good reason for putting it there, which will be revealed soon. Meanwhile, life in the garden was perfect in every way. God provided all that was needed, and the humans enjoyed every advantage that came with unbroken connection to God, their creator and sustainer.
The Tree of Testing: Mankind’s separation from God: Genesis 3
A new character enters the picture at this point. Satan, in the form of a serpent, arrives to put the human couple to the test. Though we may be tempted to blame everything that is about to happen on this evil intruder, we need to realize that God allowed his presence in the garden and was aware of what he would soon do. The serpent was nothing more than a catalyst to bring to light what was already stirring within the hearts of the humans, and the tree of knowledge was actually a tree of testing.
You see, God created free moral agents when he created the humans. They had the power to obey or disobey God as they might choose. Providing the second tree was God’s way to allow mankind the freedom to use the power of choice to either stay connected with God willingly, or to separate themselves from God and go their own way. In eating the fruit of the second tree, they chose the path of separation from God. The testing tree allowed the humans to taste disobedience for themselves so that they could literally know the difference between good and evil by experience.
Because they chose this way of willful disobedience certain things changed for them immediately. God removed them from Eden so that they would not be able to eat of the Tree of Life and live forever in a state of separation from fellowship with God. God cursed the earth introducing pain, hard labor, decay, sickness and death. All of this sounds cruel on God’s part, but there was a hidden mercy even in the curse. As for the humans, though they didn’t die immediately, they were now living in a cursed world, with bodies that would eventually succumb to disease and death. But the real principle of death now at work was the principle of spiritual death and separation from God. This was their new spiritual condition due to disobedience and separation from God:
* They were now slaves to sin because disobedience ruled their hearts (Romans 6)
* They were married to the law which continually condemned them (Romans 7)
* Their minds were continually dwelling on the flesh (Romans 8)
* Their spirits which would normally allow communion with God were dead (Romans 8)
* They were in a hopeless situation because of sin and separation from God (Ephesians 2:12)
The Tree of suffering: God’s provision for man’s plight: John 1:1-18
From the very moment of mankind’s fall, God was busy working out a plan for mankind’s redemption and restoration. When God found Adam and Eve naked, he killed an animal and provided them with proper coverings even though they had tried on their own to cover their nakedness with fig leaves (an example of man’s puny religious attempts to cover his own shame). In this action God began a system of blood sacrifices to atone for sin. Already, God was working to reconnect man back to himself, but he had an ultimate plan in mind to take care of sin once and for all.