Almost Everything You Wanted to Know about the Tree of Life


If our ancestors left any records of the tree of life thousands of years ago, how do we recognize them today? The UB says only one tree of life was sent to Urantia and it was transplanted a couple of times. It also says that the tree was guarded by seraphim and midwayers, and that the fruit at first was consumed by the prince's staff and their human associates, and later by Adam and Eve.

P.825 - §6 In the center of the Garden temple Van planted the long-guarded tree of life, whose leaves were for the "healing of the nations," and whose fruit had so long sustained him on earth. Van well knew that Adam and Eve would also be dependent on this gift of Edentia for their life maintenance after they once appeared on Urantia in material form.

P.826 - §1 This superplant stored up certain space-energies which were antidotal to the age-producing elements of animal existence. The fruit of the tree of life was like a superchemical storage battery, mysteriously releasing the life-extension force of the universe when eaten. This form of sustenance was wholly useless to the ordinary evolutionary beings on Urantia, but specifically it was serviceable to the one hundred materialized members of Caligastia's staff and to the one hundred modified Andonites who had contributed of their life plasm to the Prince's staff, and who, in return, were made possessors of that complement of life which made it possible for them to utilize the fruit of the tree of life for an indefinite extension of their otherwise mortal existence

Flowers of the Tree of Life

The UB does not say whether the tree of life bloomed and produced flowers. However, since it produced fruit, it is likely that the tree of life also grew flowers. Initially, the fruit was sufficient to sustain initially Caligastia's One Hundred and their human associates. Thus, the tree must have produced plenty of flowers and fruit.

P.745 - §3 These antidotal complements of the Satania life currents were derived from the fruit of the tree of life, a shrub of Edentia which was sent to Urantia by the Most Highs of Norlatiadek at the time of Caligastia's arrival. In the days of Dalamatia this tree grew in the central courtyard of the temple of the unseen Father, and it was the fruit of the tree of life that enabled the material and otherwise mortal beings of the Prince's staff to live on indefinitely as long as they had access to it.

Guardians of the Tree of Life

Who were the guardians? The UB says the loyal cherubim and seraphim, with the help of three primary midwayers:

P.756 - §5 During the times of this struggle the loyalists dwelt in an unwalled and poorly protected settlement a few miles to the east of Dalamatia, but their dwellings were guarded day and night by the alert and ever-watchful loyal midway creatures, and they had possession of the priceless tree of life.

P.756 - §6 Upon the outbreak of rebellion, loyal cherubim and seraphim, with the aid of three faithful midwayers, assumed the custody of the tree of life and permitted only the forty loyalists of the staff and their associated modified mortals to partake of the fruit and leaves of this energy plant. There were fifty-six of these modified Andonite associates of the staff, sixteen of the Andonite attendants of the disloyal staff refusing to go into rebellion with their masters.

The left relief below shows all three elements of the tree of life: (i) flowers, (ii) the tree itself, and (iii) the guarding seraphim or midwayers.

tree

a

An illustration of a typical rosette and tree of life design in Ishitar Gate, Pergammon Museum, Berlin.

The left sculpture depicts a winged sphinx guarding the tree of life. It appeared on the facade of a palace that Arthaxerxes III built in Persepolis. In the relief the tree of life is blooming, bearing one flower on top of the tree. Even the root is shown. The top and bottom of the relief are embellished with more rosettes or flowers.

A typical rosette and tree of life design in Ishitar Gate illustrates how the Assyrians and others depicted the flowers and the tree of life. Sometimes the rosettes or winged guardians appear alone, without any hint of the tree of life.

Also, the tree of life was a shrub transplanted from Edentia. However, if it supplied enough fruit for the 200 men and women, it may have been a big shrub, and it may have been customary to call it the “tree of life.” Because the tree was big and bulky, it may have been impractical to move the entire tree. When Van received the tree, he would have received instructions about how to move it when needed, and how to dispose of the stump when moving.

P.825 - §8 The "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" may be a figure of speech, a symbolic designation covering a multitude of human experiences, but the "tree of life" was not a myth; it was real and for a long time was present on Urantia. When the Most Highs of Edentia approved the commission of Caligastia as Planetary Prince of Urantia and those of the one hundred Jerusem citizens as his administrative staff, they sent to the planet, by the Melchizedeks, a shrub of Edentia, and this plant grew to be the tree of life on Urantia. This form of nonintelligent life is native to the constellation headquarters spheres, being also found on the headquarters worlds of the local and superuniverses as well as on the Havona spheres, but not on the system capitals.

Thus, in our search for surviving human records of the tree of life, we should look for three things: (i) the tree itself, (ii) flowers of the tree, and (iii) guardian seraphim or midwayers. But, where do we look for them?
 

1. Five Possible Regions with Legends of the Tree of Life

There are five good candidate regions where the legend of the tree of life may have survived. While the UB notes that the legend was widespread, its purity is likely to decline as it travels farther from the sources, the tree cult is likely to be admixed with other tribal beliefs, and the legend is likely to become less easily discernible.

P.946 - §0 India and eastern Russia regard the tree spirits as being cruel. The Patagonians still worship trees, as did the early Semites. Long after the Hebrews ceased tree worship, they continued to venerate their various deities in the groves. Except in China, there once existed a universal cult of the tree of life.

(i) Coast of the Persian Gulf

Residents on the coasts of Mesopotamia and Persia are the earliest people who would have preserved the legend of the tree of life. Unless theirs was reinforced or modified by subsequent interaction with the Assyrians, their story is likely to be somewhat different from other versions in that their knowledge of the tree of life was pre-Adamic. Theirs would be a simpler version, and not admixed with the story of Adam, Eve and the serpent. Of course, we cannot rule out the subsequent interaction between Babylonia and Persia, and the ensuing possibility that the original legend of the tree of life in the Persian Gulf might have been modified in the post-Adamic era.

In the days of Dalamatia, the tree of life grew in the temple of the unseen Father. Dalamatia was on the coast of Mesopotamia and the Persian Gulf. It sank 162 years after the planetary rebellion, but reemerged and almost every vestige of the culture had been obliterated (p. 759, § 2).

P.745 - §3 These antidotal complements of the Satania life currents were derived from the fruit of the tree of life, a shrub of Edentia which was sent to Urantia by the Most Highs of Norlatiadek at the time of Caligastia's arrival. In the days of Dalamatia this tree grew in the central courtyard of the temple of the unseen Father, and it was the fruit of the tree of life that enabled the material and otherwise mortal beings of the Prince's staff to live on indefinitely as long as they had access to it.

P.759 - §2 One hundred and sixty-two years after the rebellion a tidal wave swept up over Dalamatia, and the planetary headquarters sank beneath the waters of the sea, and this land did not again emerge until almost every vestige of the noble culture of those splendid ages had been obliterated.

P.875 - §4 The remnants of this, one of the oldest civilizations, are to be found in these regions of Mesopotamia and to the northeast and northwest. But still older vestiges of the days of Dalamatia exist under the waters of the Persian Gulf, and the first Eden lies submerged under the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea.

Dalamatia was in the southwest of Dilmun. Some experts believe it is located in what is Bahrain today. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, after attaining immortality from Enlil, he was to live in East or Dilmun, but Dilmun in the Epic may have meant Eden. The Assyro-Babylonian language was a Semitic language, but Sumerian was an Aryan language. Thus, Dilmun may have been on the western coast of Persia or Iran, rather than on the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula or Bahrain.

If this guess is correct, we would find evidence of the legends of the tree of life in Persia, rather than on the eastern coast of Arabia. Also, during the dispute on the monumental memorial, Dalamatia already had been submerged, and Dilmun was on the coast. Some Nodites then argued that the structure should be placed a safe distance from the sea, which implies that either North or East of Dilmun is land. If Bahrain had been Dilmun, any move from Dalamatia to the North or East would be closer to the sea. If Dilmun had been on the western coast of Persia, a northeasterly move would lead one away from the sea.

P.858 - §2 After the submergence of Dalamatia the Nodites moved north and east, presently founding the new city of Dilmun as their racial and cultural headquarters. And about fifty thousand years after the death of Nod, when the offspring of the Prince's staff had become too numerous to find subsistence in the lands immediately surrounding their new city of Dilmun.

In any case, the following paragraph suggests the approximate location of Dalamatia and Dilmun.

P.751 - §11 This was the law of Dalamatia for almost three hundred thousand years. And many of the stones on which this law was inscribed now lie beneath the waters off the shores of Mesopotamia and Persia.

Mesopotamia literally means the country between rivers, or the region between the Euphates and Tigris rivers. The shores of Mesopotamia and Persia refer to the northernmost coast of the Persian Gulf, east of Ur, and the western coast of Persia. This location of Dalamatia and Dilmun also would have facilitated the interaction between the two neighboring countries, Assyria and Persia.

P.860 - §3 The elaborate records left by the Sumerians describe the site of a remarkable settlement which was located on the Persian Gulf near the earlier city of Dilmun. The Egyptians called this city of ancient glory Dilmat, while the later Adamized Sumerians confused both the first and second Nodite cities with Dalamatia and called all three Dilmun. And already have archaeologists found these ancient Sumerian clay tablets which tell of this earthly paradise "where the Gods first blessed mankind with the example of civilized and cultured life." And these tablets, descriptive of Dilmun, the paradise of men and God, are now silently resting on the dusty shelves of many museums.

Dalamatia had sunk beneath the ocean 162 years after the planetary rebellion, which occurred about 200,000 years ago. The UB states that the second attempt to build the Tower of Babel was made about 10,000 BC. At the time Dilmun was at a safe distance from the coast, but a surviving tablet shows it already was reachable by boat in the year 2028 BC, indicating this coast had been sinking while Ur was on the Mesopotamian coast, but its coast withdrew further away from the city center.

dilmun dilmun

In any case, this region records a purer version of the tree of life. Any record which hints at Adam's association with the tree of life and the serpent has yet to surface.

Rosettes of the tree of life in the Persian Gulf

Tree of Life in the Persian Gulf

(ii) Highland Headquarters of Turkestan/Southern End of Caspian Sea

Van and Amadon moved the central core of the tree of life to this highland region and lived there for more than 150,000 years.

P.826 - §2 During the days of the Prince's rule the tree was growing from the earth in the central and circular courtyard of the Father's temple. Upon the outbreak of the rebellion it was regrown from the central core by Van and his associates in their temporary camp. This Edentia shrub was subsequently taken to their highland retreat, where it served both Van and Amadon for more than one hundred and fifty thousand years.

Adamson visited one of the old Vanite settlements in the highland of Turkestan:

P.860 - §8 About 35,000 B.C. Adamson visited one of the easternmost of the old Vanite settlements to found his center of civilization.

Subsequently, Adamson and Ratta moved with their children to the southern end of the Caspian Sea, near Kopet Dagh.

P.862 - §4 This center of civilization was situated in the region east of the southern end of the Caspian Sea, near the Kopet Dagh. A short way up in the foothills of Turkestan are the vestiges of what was onetime the Adamsonite headquarters of the violet race. In these highland sites, situated in a narrow and ancient fertile belt lying in the lower foothills of the Kopet range, there successively arose at various periods four diverse cultures respectively fostered by four different groups of Adamson's descendants. It was the second of these groups which migrated westward to Greece and the islands of the Mediterranean.

The Adamsonites built a center of civilization near the southern end of the Caspian Sea, but they soon migrated to Greece. How much of the legend of the tree of life they passed on to the residents in this area remains to be seen. Not much evidence has emerged from this region. The Adamsonites that migrated to Greece and other islands such as Crete and Cyprus, or even Cyclades, would have preserved some tradition of the tree of life.

P.756 - §6 Upon the outbreak of rebellion, loyal cherubim and seraphim, with the aid of three faithful midwayers, assumed the custody of the tree of life and permitted only the forty loyalists of the staff and their associated modified mortals to partake of the fruit and leaves of this energy plant. There were fifty-six of these modified Andonite associates of the staff, sixteen of the Andonite attendants of the disloyal staff refusing to go into rebellion with their masters.

(iii) Coast of Lebanon and Israel

In this region, residents preserved the tradition of the tree of life primarily in stories, due to their aversion to leaving graven images as expressly stated in the Ten Commandments that are reminiscent of the Seven Commandments the Assyrians had believed Van received from Mount Ararat. Their stories survived in Genesis, which they probably compiled during their Babylonian exile.

The tree of life in the First Garden was destroyed:

P.826 - §4 When the plans of the Material Son went astray, Adam and his family were not permitted to carry the core of the tree away from the Garden. When the Nodites invaded Eden, they were told that they would become as "gods if they partook of the fruit of the tree." Much to their surprise they found it unguarded. They ate freely of the fruit for years, but it did nothing for them; they were all material mortals of the realm; they lacked that endowment which acted as a complement to the fruit of the tree. They became enraged at their inability to benefit from the tree of life, and in connection with one of their internal wars, the temple and the tree were both destroyed by fire; only the stone wall stood until the Garden was subsequently submerged.

(iv) Crete and Cyprus

About 12,000 BC, an Andite tribe migrated to Crete and intermarried with the Vanite division of the northern Nodites. This group might have preserved the tradition of the tree of life. Also, about 10,000 BC, descendants of Adamson migrated to Greece. The latter cultural infusion would have reinforced the earlier tradition of the tree of life.

P.895 - §2 About 12,000 B.C. a brilliant tribe of Andites migrated to Crete. This was the only island settled so early by such a superior group, and it was almost two thousand years before the descendants of these mariners spread to the neighboring isles. This group were the narrow-headed, smaller-statured Andites who had intermarried with the Vanite division of the northern Nodites. They were all under six feet in height and had been literally driven off the mainland by their larger and inferior fellows. These emigrants to Crete were highly skilled in textiles, metals, pottery, plumbing, and the use of stone for building material. They engaged in writing and carried on as herders and agriculturists.

P.895 - §3 Almost two thousand years after the settlement of Crete a group of the tall descendants of Adamson made their way over the northern islands to Greece, coming almost directly from their highland home north of Mesopotamia. These progenitors of the Greeks were led westward by Sato, a direct descendant of Adamson and Ratta.

Andites intermarried with the Vanite division of the northern Nodites and emigrated to Crete. They were mariners, skilled in textiles and pottery.

a

Note the rosettes in braids on the frame of the sarcophagus. Each of the two posts with double axes represent the tree of life. The left side shows the scene of ritual libation, and on the right is probably the priest-king.

The painting on the above sarcophagus found in the palace of Knossos shows a purification ceremony of Cretans. The tree of life itself appears to be absent, but is respresented by the posts with double axes. The power of the tree of life is strengthened by the birds perched on top of trees. Also, the sarcophagus is abundantly trimmed with the rosettes. They even appear in the center cores of the spiral braids.

Rosettes of the Tree of Life in Crete and Cyprus

Tree of Life in Crete and Cyprus

(v) Second Garden

After their fall from grace, Adam and Eve were not allowed to carry the core of tree of life, which was subsequently destroyed by the invading barbarians. Second garden dwellers and the people in the neighboring region would have heard their legend of the tree of life. Moreover, Vanite ancestors of Assyrians migrated from Lake Van and Mount Ararat and eventually settled down in this region, thus making it the most likely region to have maintained the legend.

One of the most obvious depictions of the rosettes and the tree of life is the Ishtar Gate.

tree of life

Ishtar Gate, Pergammon Museum.

Note the rosettes on the top band and the the trees of life in the center.

Moreover, unlike those in other regions, the Assyrians showed who was guarding the tree of life. In the UB, the guarding spirits were seraphim, cherubim and primary midwayers. Assyrians depict these guardians as winged animals with human or eagle faces.

guardians tree

Rosettes of the Tree of Life around the Second Garden

Tree of Life around the Second Garden

(vi) Lake Van and Urartu/Ararat region

Some of Van’s early associates settled around Lake Van and the Mount Ararat region. They believed that Van and Amadon were taken alive.

P.860 - §6 Some of the early associates of Van subsequently settled about the shores of the lake which still bears his name, and their traditions grew up about this locality. Ararat became their sacred mountain, having much the same meaning to later-day Vanites that Sinai had to the Hebrews. Ten thousand years ago the Vanite ancestors of the Assyrians taught that their moral law of seven commandments had been given to Van by the Gods upon Mount Ararat. They firmly believed that Van and his associate Amadon were taken alive from the planet while they were up on the mountain engaged in worship.

Thus, in the Lake Van region, some legends about Van and the tree of life could have survived. The residents in this region not only have the rosettes, tree, and guardian spirits, but also show a deity with a pointed headdress, which may have represented the legenedary Van.

van?

van?

Were Urartians worshipping Van wearing a pointed headdress?

Rosettes of the Tree of Life in Lake Van and Mount Urartu.

Tree of Life in Lake Van and Mount Urartu.

 

Protective Sphinxes and Griffins

Protective winged spirits with human or animal faces guard the tree of life in many Assyrian reliefs. In other countries, it is not altogether clear what griffins and sphinxes were guarding. In the following pictures of the Ishitar Gate and a jar, the presence of rosettes hints that grffins and sphinxes are guarding the tree of life. These may represent their best understanding of the roles of the seraphim and midwayers.

griffin

Griffins and rosettes at Ishir Gate

sphinx

Sphinx and a rosette in a pot.

More pictures of Griffins

More pictures of Sphinxes

 

Did the tree of life survive somewhere on earth?

After the planetary rebellion, Van took the central core, and planted in the highland headquarters of Turkestan. The remaining stump either was unable to regenerate or to survive. If it had been able to survive, Van would have destroyed it so that the tree would not fall into wrong hands.

When the tree was moved to the First Eden, the UB does not say whether only the core was taken or the whole tree was uprooted. However, Van knew the procedure and would have taken the central core. Again, if the remaining tree were unable to live, Van would have properly disposed of it. In any case, the UB also states that by the time Melchizedek came to Urantia, there was no longer a tree of life to sustain him.

P.1015 - §6 Though Machiventa lived after the manner of the men of the realm, he never married, nor could he have left offspring on earth. His physical body, while resembling that of the human male, was in reality on the order of those especially constructed bodies used by the one hundred materialized members of Prince Caligastia's staff except that it did not carry the life plasm of any human race. Nor was there available on Urantia the tree of life. Had Machiventa remained for any long period on earth, his physical mechanism would have gradually deteriorated; as it was, he terminated his bestowal mission in ninety-four years long before his material body had begun to disintegrate.