3:22 as one of us. Once again there is a divine council of the Godhead, this time to decree man’s expulsion from the garden. Man’s ultimate restoration requires his full instruction in the effects of sin and separation from God.
3:22 tree of life. The delicious fruit of the tree of life had been freely available to Adam and Eve, but it was not necessary for their survival. It was only eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil that would result in death (Genesis 2:17). The same will apply when the tree of life is planted again in the new earth. Its fruit and leaves will be freely available for food (Revelation 22:2), but it will not be necessary for survival, since there will be no more death there (Revelation 21:4). However, it did contain such wonderful health-giving ingredients that it would have enabled people to survive to tremendous ages even after sin and death entered the world, and this would have undermined God’s intended purpose for death (see note on Genesis 3:17). The words “for ever” in this verse are from the Hebrew olam, which can also legitimately be translated a “long time,” depending on context (e.g., Isaiah 42:14). It is also used for the “lasting hills” (Deuteronomy 33:15).
3:22 live for ever. The fruit of the tree of life will be freely available to all in the new earth (Revelation 2:7; 22:1-2).
3:23 sent him forth. Evidently Adam and Eve were reluctant to leave their beautiful garden home and God’s personal fellowship, but it was for their own good, and God finally “drove out” those whom He loved (Genesis 3:24).
3:24 Cherubims. The cherubim are apparently the highest beings in the hierarchy of angels, always associated with the immediate presence of God (Psalm 18:10; 80:1; 99:1; Ezekiel 1:4-28; 10:1-22; Revelation 4:6-8; etc.). Satan himself had once been the “anointed cherub” on God’s holy mountain (Ezekiel 28:14). The appointment of the cherubim to keep (or “guard”) the way to the tree of life, with swordlike tongues of flame flashing around them, suggests that God’s personal presence continued to be associated with the garden and the tree. By analogy with the representations of the cherubim in the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle (Exodus 25:17-22; Hebrews 9:3-5), it may be that God continued to meet at stipulated intervals with his people at the entrance to the garden (see notes on Genesis 4:3-5).