The Tree of Life

John Collier

The Tree of Life

I am interested in the great resonance within the Bible – in the way different stories reference each other. In Genesis there are two trees named the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil“ and the “Tree of Life.”  Under the first tree stood the woman, Eve.  In the Tree was the tempter – the source of trouble. The second tree was the Tree of Life, and if you ate its fruit, you would live forever.  At Calvary:the second Adam, Jesus, is nailed to the tree while the second Eve, Mary, stands beneath it.  Through this lens the Genesis story is more fully understood; and the cross is transformed by Christ's sacrifice nailed to the Tree of Life.  If we cnsume it's fruit, we receive the promise of everlasting life.

In my sculpture the Tree of Life is united with the Cross; and though what is depicted is not literally true, I hope it nevertheless communicates a truth about Genesis and Calvary.  In my depiction the nails are very long and branch-like.  Christ must struggle to stay on the Cross.  Beside this tree is a little fig tree growing, my symbol for Mary

Installation at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral, Charleston, West Virginia. Bronze, 100 inches in height.