God makes some fur coats for Adam and Eve, which the SAB labels as an absurdity, but doesn't explain why. This is actually a much more significant event than most people get on a surface reading, and is worth noting. Previously, Adam and Eve had covered themselves with fig leaves, and before that, they ran around naked. This indicates to me that the issue of clothing was a matter of covering up nakedness, and not a matter of protecting against the cold. Yet God feels there is a need to give them furs to cover them. A pattern throughout the Bible is the idea that sin leads to death; but not always the death of the person who sins. In this case, while Adam's death is put off for at least another 800 years, God can't let it rest without the death of some animals. This is actually the beginning of the sacrificial system, and the idea that the only thing that can cover up the sin of the guilty is the blood of the innocent. Don't ask me why, I don't understand it well myself.
After giving them the skins, God expresses concern that Adam and Eve have access to the tree of life. (Comments on God using "us" are back here.) Apparently eating the fruit from the tree of life will make one immortal. I think the SAB has a bit of a clear misreading in its notes here, however*; God isn't afraid that mankind will become like God by eating the tree of life, He's grieved that they have already become like Him by eating the forbidden fruit. Note that the tree of life was not a tree they were banned from eating, but the situation has changed. As I said before, now the world is not a pleasant place to be in, and mankind has become separated from God. In order to fix both these situations, God decides that it will be an act of mercy to let mankind die. In dying, they will have the chance to be separated from their physical sinfulness and eventually brought back into a relationship with God in Heaven. Remember, in Christian theology, death is not a bad thing in and of itself. If you desire to be with God, then you will be. If you desire to have God leave you alone, then that will happen for you.
Adam and Eve are kicked out of the garden, and a guard is set to make sure that nobody goes back in and gets to the tree of life. It would be very tempting for someone to go and eat from that tree, but it would be wrong to do so, because it would make their life a living Hell.
I'm reminded of C.S. Lewis' book The Magician's Nephew, which Lewis clearly intended to be an allegory of a sort for the Genesis story. Near the end of the book, the main character, a boy named Digory discusses with Aslan (symbolic of Jesus) how he was tempted to steal a magic apple to take home to his sick mother. A witch had told him that the apple would have healed her sickness. Aslan responds to Digory:
"Understand, then, that it would have healed her; but not to your joy or hers. The day would have come when both you and she would have looked back and said it would have been better to die in that illness."Like Digory's mother, we're all suffering from an illness known as sin, and to have eaten an apple that made us live forever would not so much cure the illness as treat one of the symptoms. We're all going to die someday, and it's something that everyone ought to know, but even Christians often forget, but dying is not a loss, it's just stepping into the next phase of our existence, and one that for many of us will be a much better one.
*SAB notes have been changed since the writing of this entry; see comments.