The tree of life is a richly evocative symbol seen in sacred art, architecture, houses of worship, and literature throughout the ages and around the world. With its roots reaching downward and its branches extending upward, this tree signifies a mystical, primordial linkage between heaven and earth that is the locus of manifold blessings reflective of a culture's deepest yearnings--be it unity with the gods, wisdom, wholeness, renewal, peace, or everlasting life in God's presence.
The tree's precious fruit carries similar connotations, such as the pure love of God, eternal joy, and triumphal entry into the eternal realms. Perhaps no other religious motif is so rich in allegorical potential or so accommodating of spiritual meanings for so many religious traditions.
No image of eternal life is more powerful or persistent than the tree of life. From the paradisiacal Garden of Eden to the apocalyptic New Jerusalem, the tree of life dominates the landscape, being mentioned explicitly more than two dozen times in the Latter-day Saint scriptural canon and alluded to many other times therein. From the temple to the cross, the symbol of the tree of life invites all to come unto Christ, to become planted by rivers of living water, and to bring forth and enjoy the fruits of God's love that are sweet about all else.
This highly informative and beautifully illustrated book contains original essays by leading Latter-day Saint scholars and scholars of other faiths--including Donald W. Parry, Daniel C. Peterson, Andrew C. Skinner, John W. Welch, and Margaret Barker--that focus on the tree of life symbol in the Bible, early Christianity, and the Book of Mormon, as well as in Southeast Asian, Islamic, and Maya temples, cultures, and art.