Hyppolytus of Rome, Extant Work ands Fragments on Proverbs
(10)The fruit of righteousness and the tree of life is Christ. He alone, as man, fulfilled all righteousness. And with His own underived life(11) He has brought forth the fruits of knowledge and virtue like a tree, whereof they that eat shall receive eternal life, and shall enjoy the tree of life in paradise, with Adam and all the righteous.
St. John Chrysostom, Commentary on epistle of St. Paul to Romans, Homily 10, Romans 5:12.
How did it reign? “After the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of Him that was to come.” Now this is why Adam is a type of Christ. How a type? it will be said. Why in that, as the former became to those who were sprung from him, although they had not eaten of the tree, the cause of that death which by his eating was introduced; thus also did Christ become to those sprung from Him, even though they had not wrought righteousness, the Provider(1) of that righteousness which through His Cross(2) He graciously bestowed on us all. For this reason, at every turn he keeps to the “one,” and is continually bringing it before us, when he says, “As by one man sin entered into the world”–and, “If through the offence of one many be dead:” and, “Not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift;” and, “The judgment was by one to condemnation:” and again, “If by one (or, the one) man’s offence death reigned by one;” and “Therefore as by the offence of one.” And again, “As by one man’s disobedience many (or, the many) were made sinners.” And so he letteth not go of the one, that when the Jew says to thee, How came it, that by the well-doing of this one Person, Christ, the world was saved? thou mightest be able to say to him, How by the disobedience of this one person, Adam, came it to be condemned? And yet sin and grace are not equivalents, death and life are not equivalents, the Devil and God are not equivalents, but there is a boundless space between them. When then as well from the nature of the thing as from the power of Him that transacteth it, and from the very suitableness thereof (for it suiteth much better with God to save than to punish), the preeminence and victory is upon this side, what one word have you to say for unbelief, tell me? However, that what had been done was reasonable, he shows in the following words.
Origen, Origen against Celsus, Book 6, Ch. 36-37
The subject of the “tree of life” will be more appropriately explained when we interpret the statements in the book of Genesis regarding the paradise planted by God. Celsus, moreover, has often mocked at the subject of a resurrection,–a doctrine which he did not comprehend; and on the present occasion, not satisfied with what he has formerly said, he adds, “And there is said to be a resurrection of the flesh by means of the tree;” not understanding, I think, the symbolical expression, that “through the tree came death, and through the tree comes life,”(9) because death was in Adam, and life in Christ. He next scoffs at the “tree,” assailing it on two grounds, and saying, “For this reason is the tree introduced, either because our teacher was nailed to a cross, or because he was a carpenter by trade;” not observing that the tree of life is mentioned in the Mosaic writings, and being blind also to this, that in none of the Gospels current in the Churches(10) is Jesus Himself ever described as being a carpenter.(11)
Celsus, moreover, thinks that we have invented this “tree of life” to give an allegorical meaning to the cross; and in consequence of his error upon this point, he adds: “If he had happened to be cast down a precipice, or shoved into a pit, or suffocated by hanging, there would have been invented a precipice of life far beyond the heavens, or a pit of resurrection, or a cord of immortality.” And again: “If the ‘tree of life’ were an invention, because he–Jesus–(is reported) to have been a carpenter, it would follow that if he had been a leather-cutter, something would have been said about holy leather; or had he been a stone-cutter, about a blessed stone; or if a worker in iron, about an iron of love.” Now, who does not see at once(12) the paltry nature of his charge, in thus calumniating men whom he professed to convert on the ground of their being deceived? And after these remarks, he goes on to speak in a way quite in harmony with the tone of those who have invented the fictions of lion-like, and ***-headed, and serpent-like ruling angels,(13) and other similar absurdities, but which does not affect those who belong to the Church. Of a truth, even a drunken old woman would be ashamed to chaunt or whisper to an infant, in order to lull him to sleep, any such fables as those have done who invented the beings with asses’ heads, and the harangues, so to speak, which are delivered at each of the gates. But Celsus is not acquainted with the doctrines of the members of the Church, which very few have been able to comprehend, even of those who have devoted all their lives, in conformity with the command of Jesus, to the searching of the Scriptures, and have laboured to investigate the meaning of the sacred books, to a greater degree than Greek philosophers in their efforts to attain a so- called wisdom.