As “to eat” signifies to appropriate to oneself, it can be seen what is signified by:
Eating of the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise (Rev. 2:7);
namely, to appropriate to oneself celestial life; also what is signified by “eating of the tree of knowledge” in Genesis:
Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden eating thou shalt eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, of this thou shalt not eat, for in the day that thou shalt eat of it dying thou shalt die (2:16, 17).
The “tree of the knowledge (scientia) of good and evil” signifies the knowledge of natural things, through which it is not permitted to enter into the celestial and spiritual things which belong to heaven and the church, thus to enter from the natural man into the spiritual, which is the inverse way, and therefore does not lead to wisdom, but destroys it.
“Adam and his wife” mean the Most Ancient Church, which was a celestial church. Because the men of that church were in love to the Lord, they had Divine truths inscribed on them, and thence they knew from influx the corresponding things in the natural man, which are called knowledges [scientifica]; in a word, there was with them spiritual influx, that is, influx from the spiritual mind into the natural, and thus into the things that are in it, and what these were they saw by correspondence as in a mirror.
With them spiritual things were entirely distinct from natural things; spiritual things had their seat in their spiritual mind, and natural things in their natural mind, and thus they did not immerse what is spiritual in their natural mind, as spiritual-natural men are wont to do. For this reason, if they had consigned spiritual things to the natural memory, and had appropriated them to themselves in that way, that which was implanted with them would have perished, and they would have begun to reason about spiritual things from the natural man, and thus to form conclusions, which celestial men never do. This, moreover, would have been wishing to be wise from self-intelligence, and not from Divine intelligence, as before, and by this they would have extinguished all their celestial life, and they would have entertained natural ideas even about spiritual things. This, therefore, is what is signified by their “not eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,” and if they did eat, “dying they should die.”
The like is true of those who are in the Lord’s celestial kingdom as of these most ancient people meant by “Adam.” If these were to imbue the natural man and its memory with knowledges of spiritual truth and good, and should wish to be wise from these, they would become stupid, while yet they are the wisest of all in heaven.