On the one hand, the tree of life implies a sense of dependence.

On the other hand, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil suggests independence because man strived by the exercise of his will for the knowledge not promised, for something not accorded him by God. His rebellion declared his independence. By rebelling he did not need to depend upon God. Futhermore, his seeking the knowledge of good and evil also showed his independence, for he was not satisfied with what God had bestowed already.

The difference between the spiritual and the soulish is crystal clear. The spiritual depends utterly upon God, fully satisfied with what God has given; the soulish steers clear of God and covets what God has not conferred, especially”knowledge.”

Independence is a special mark of the soulish. That thing-no matter how good, even worshiping God is unquestionably of the soul if it does not require complete trust in God and instead calls for reliance upon one’s own strength.

The tree of life cannot grow within us together with the tree of knowledge.

Rebellion and independence explain every sin committed by both sinners and saints.

Watchman Nee

The Spiritual Man – Chapter 3

The Fall of Man


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