Skip to main content

Genesis Bible Commentary: Tree of Life



This is part 1 of a series of 6 articles on the Bible's book of Genesis.

Click here for the series overview.


by Rod Martin, Jr.

I noticed that the names in Genesis 4 were very similar to most of those in Genesis 5.

I created a chart showing this relationship—a chart similar to this:

Chart comparing patriarch names in Genesis 4 and 5. Copyright Rod Martin, Jr.

Chart comparing patriarch names in Genesis 4 and 5. Copyright Rod Martin, Jr.

Months later, I borrowed some books on the Kabbalah from an associate at work. The moment I saw the cover of one, with its Sefirotic "Tree of Life," I felt recognition—horizontal lines with a crisscross in the middle. I then remembered the Genesis 4–5 chart I had created.

Kabbalistic "Tree of Life" -- Hebrew & transliterated. Both are public domain. ///

Kabbalistic "Tree of Life" -- Hebrew & transliterated. Both are public domain. ///

The book is done and now available. Click on the Source link for more information.

The book is done and now available. Click on the Source link for more information.

I think the "Tree" I originally saw included the 10 standard Sefirot (nodes or circles). Only later did I learn of the Sefirah, Da'at.

My chart and the "Tree" were not a perfect match, but the horizontal lines and the crisscross around Tif'eret had piqued my interest. I tried numerous configurations to see if the names could fit. With the discovery of Da'at and the male and female lines, the names poured into the Sefirotic "Tree" perfectly.

Some time later, I realized that the last words of Genesis 3 were "Tree of Life" (etz chaim). The fact that Genesis 3 talked of denying Adam and Eve the "Tree of Life," plus the fact that the Kabbalists already possessed the "Tree of Life," makes it interesting that the same "Tree" would be found in the subsequent two chapters of Genesis—after those ending words, almost as if they were pointing to the Tree "matrix" itself.

The purpose of the entire Bible seems to be one of spiritual renewal, reawakening or salvation. The New Testament talks about gaining "everlasting life," and that is the purpose of this "Tree." It seems that the writers wanted us to find this, perhaps when the time was right.

Read the Book that Changes Everything

Why hide it? If you write a story with enough mysteries, it becomes more difficult for anyone to alter that story. Things are left alone because changing anything is dangerous. This acts to protect the story. The lack of complete understanding makes a scribe or translator more cautious. Okay, that bit of logic seems a stretch, but that's how I would feel if I were tasked with translating it. I would be a literalist until I understood it all.

Perhaps a more direct reason for hiding wisdom in the Bible would be the effect it would have on the reader. Discovery of any kind requires humility. Scientists use skepticism, but this is only a crude approximation of the real ingredients which allow discovery—humility and restraint. A scientist who thinks he has a line of enquiry all sewed up will not see new evidence for what it is. He will frequently reject it. He will not be skeptical of everything, but only selectively skeptical of that which does not match his preconceived ideas. He will not be skeptical of his own ideas. That's ego.

Humility is the antidote to ego.

And humility may be a key to the "Tree of Life" and to creation. Humility may also be one of the keys to "everlasting life" (the meaning of this Tree in the Garden of Eden).

Female and male paths through the Kabbalah's "Tree of Life," with the names of the Genesis 4 and 5 patriarchs. Copyright Rod Martin, Jr.

Female and male paths through the Kabbalah's "Tree of Life," with the names of the Genesis 4 and 5 patriarchs. Copyright Rod Martin, Jr.

Scroll to Continue

The female and male paths in the Sefirotic "Tree" move through the Sefirot on the left and right of the Tree, respectively.

Notice how the sequences match those found in Genesis 4 and 5, except for Seth's Enoch. Notice also the match up for Enos and Cain's Enoch, Methuselah and Methusael, and both Lamechs.


"And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him" (Genesis 5:24). This is the instruction to "remove" him from the path. And thus, the "Tree" is complete.


Tree of Life showing male and female paths with Genesis 4 and 5 patriarchs. Copyright Rod Martin, Jr.

Tree of Life showing male and female paths with Genesis 4 and 5 patriarchs. Copyright Rod Martin, Jr.

Here is what the Sefirotic "Tree" looks like with all of the names of Genesis 4 and 5 applied in sequence along the female (pink) and male (blue) lines.

Enoch after Jared is skipped because he didn't die, for God took him. He "was not." He disappeared. Otherwise the male line would have continued from Jared to "Enos-Enoch" and on to "Methuselah-Methusael."

But that would create confusion regarding the path, because one Sefirah would have been touched more than once on that male path.

If the sequence of names had been any different, or if the male or female paths had been any different, the application of names from Genesis 4 and 5 would not have worked.

Perhaps the next question to tackle is the significance of the path through the Sefirot. How does this aid in spiritual enlightenment?

The Jews had proved to be "stiff-necked" even during their miraculous rescue from Egypt, and afterward too often turned from God's laws despite the miracles. Salvation of God's children has proven to be a most difficult problem. And perhaps Yehoshua of Nazareth was sent as the next phase in the rescue plan.

Next: Timeline Problems

I had the beginning of a significant research project. The Kabbalah's "Tree of Life" seemed to be a significant clue. Was their matrix pattern really embedded in Genesis? And could it help me solve some very obvious problems with the literal Genesis timeline? See, Timeline Problems.


Rod Martin Jr (author) from Cebu, Philippines on September 30, 2012:

Bless you, Jean. May we both continue to learn and to grow.

Jean Bakula from New Jersey on September 30, 2012:

Thank you too. It helps to either reinforce what a person thinks or helps them to see why it doesn't make sense. They aren't topics people discuss much. I am still a seeker too.

Rod Martin Jr (author) from Cebu, Philippines on September 30, 2012:

I'm still looking for answers.

The idea of paramita (perfection) became clear to me when I realized that the miracles (cause-and-effect "coincidences") I had witnessed were borne out of paramita confidence and not mortal confidence. This is confidence from the spiritual viewpoint -- not the physical viewpoint.

Anything with opposites (dichotomies) is, in my understanding, tainted. The male and female sides of spirit is one example. The creation and destruction sides of Shiva are another example.

Finding the "truth" of anything is finding the "creation" of it. Then it ceases to have persistence (time) and no longer exists in the next moment. I've seen this happen. I've seen its opposite, where a creation was given persistence by "allowing" (Buddhist description).

There are many levels of "truth," and it helps to know where each item exists relative to the others.

Thanks for helping me look at these things.

Jean Bakula from New Jersey on September 29, 2012:

I know what you mean. I have been reading on Buddhism quite a bit too, but never saw the word paramitas, or heard of it in my metaphysical classes either. Interesting though, just the light parts of the opposites. I don't think God has form, but could he/she not have feminine and masculine energies? My mind goes in circles, but I love seeking out all this information. Mortal generosity can surely be evil, look at politics! Anyway, nice to chat. Jean

Rod Martin Jr (author) from Cebu, Philippines on September 29, 2012:

Thanks, Jean. Fascinating topic and it's always interesting to learn some new aspect of it. But I attempt to see if any new information fits with what I already know or extends my own knowledge,... or improves upon it.

Does God have form? Personally, I don't think so. Why then would the Ten Commandments prohibit graven images? Spirit, from my own experience, has no form.

The Tree of Knowledge embedded in the Tree of Life? Again, I have to disagree. I could be wrong and I'm willing not to hold too tightly to any one concept. I wouldn't have made it this far if I had.

But the Bible gives us clues as to the nature of the forbidden Tree of Knowledge. It leads to darkness. It prompts God to have Adam and Eve be escorted out of the Garden. It also results in immediate death (spiritual death). And the Tree of Knowledge consists of a potent dichotomy -- good-evil.

I suspect that the Tree of Knowledge consists of all action-reaction dichotomies -- good-evil, right-wrong, generosity-selfishness, wisdom-stupidity, compassion-indifference, confidence-doubt and many others. And that these make up the ego-self -- a physical construct of a false self. Being attached to ego leads to the action-reaction effect known as karma.

This explains (at least, to me) why mortal generosity can be evil. Mortal wisdom, compassion and confidence can also be evil, because they are wrapped up in the physical self -- ego. I'm not talking about the Homo sapiens self.

The Buddhists discovered what are called paramitas -- the perfections of the "good" halves of these dichotomies. Imagine generosity, confidence and compassion without their darker halves -- untainted by ego. Confidence, for instance, does no good to the mortal when the perfect storm hits them in the middle of the sea. But paramita confidence (faith) would allow them to walk on water, as Peter did.

I'll keep an eye out for the book. I don't doubt that it has a great deal of wonderful information. But interpretations are always suspect, including my own.

Jean Bakula from New Jersey on September 27, 2012:

I have a favorite Tarot author, Rachel Pollack. She is Jewish, and I am reading a great book of hers about the Kabbalah. She believes that God was hermaphroditic, and that Da'ath is knowledge, hidden in the Tree of Life. This is opposite of Eden, where life is embedded in knowledge. She supposes that perhaps Da'ath represents practices used to pass between the lower and higher levels of awareness. The Hebrew word Da'ath carries the suggestion of sexuality. The sexual love can be a way to restore the male and female aspects of God. Adam and Eve separated themselves from the divine when they ate from the tree. But if Da'ath is used correctly, we can reopen the path back to the highest level of consciousness. Adam ate from the Tree of Knowledge (Da'ath) but without understanding and wisdom, Binah and Chokmah. It's interesting stuff. This book is The Kabbalah Tree, A Journey of Balance and Growth.

Rod Martin Jr (author) from Cebu, Philippines on March 26, 2012:

Thanks, @Perspycacious. God is so very generous when we're not selfish. I keep learning that several times a day.

Demas W Jasper from Today's America and The World Beyond on March 25, 2012:

Now you are getting into serious biblical study. Good for you (and us). Seek and ye shall find. Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not. Up, useful, interesting.

Related Articles