God said to Adam and Eve, "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Why didn't they die that day?
NKJV - 17 "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."
Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.
Simply put, they did die. We tend to see death only as a moment at the end of life, but really we live with it from the day we are born. Remember, God breathed his spirit into the body of man and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7). So life is about the soul, not the body. Okay, "spirit" and "soul" are essentially the same thing, but being united with God's eternal spirit gave man's limited soul a taste of eternity. When Adam decided Satan was true and God a liar (Genesis 3:3-4), man broke that eternal union with God. That's why God asked where Adam was when he came to Eden that fateful day (Genesis 3:8-9). Sure he's "omnipresent" but his reference was to that lost union, separation from God's presence. Without it man's soul lost eternity. When the final "breath" of God that made man a living soul expires, so does the soul (Psalm 22:29). Nowhere in the Bible is the soul referred to as eternal. In fact, in Revelation we're told man will one day need to eat from the tree of life (Revelation 2:7, Psalm 49:15). Only God is immortal (1 Timothy 6:15-16).
By asserting their independence, Adam and Eve irreparably damaged their relationship with Jehovah and inflicted sin’s imprint upon their organism, right to its genetic foundations. True, they lived for hundreds of years, but they began to die “in the day” of their sin, as a branch severed from a tree would. (Genesis 5:5) Moreover, for the first time, they sensed an internal disharmony. They felt naked and tried to hide from God. (Genesis 3:7, 8) They also felt guilt, insecurity, and shame. Their sin produced an upheaval within them, their consciences accusing them of wrongdoing. To be true to himself and to his holy standards, God justly sentenced Adam and Eve to death and expelled them from the garden of Eden. (Genesis 3:19, 23, 24) Thus, Paradise, happiness, and everlasting life were lost, while sin, suffering, and death resulted. What a tragic development for the human race! However, immediately after sentencing the couple, God promised to undo all the harm resulting from their sin without compromising his own righteous standards.
Dear Vincent, Before I begin, I would like to make clear that I have no desire to offend anyone or their beliefs and I apologize in advance if I do so. I appreciate the thoughtful comments that preceded me and I enter this discussion with the intent of sharing and learning. I agree with you that, “It doesn’t say that when you eat from it, you will die immediately." Therein lays the problem. I looked at over a dozen versions of the Bible and you are right, almost none said it. However, the KJV says, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. “.” In the Hebrew language that Genesis was written in, it says, “You must not eat of it, for as soon as you eat of it, you shall die.” (This quote is from the “JPS Hebrew-English TANAKH” which is a Hebrew/English, side by side, translation published by “The Jewish Publication Society.”) In fact, the way it says it is, “You shall die, shall die.” It is a common Hebrew idiom where they repeat a phrase for special emphasis. In other words, you will surely die and I REALLY MEAN IT. Dropping this phrase is no small thing. Without it, we have to come up with an explanation as to why what God said didn’t come true. People have come up with logical and reasonable explanations such as, “Well they did die, it just took 900 years” or “Days in God’s time are different than our years’, etc... But the problem is, it really is there, even though many translations omit it. If you accept that it should be there, it opens up another interpretation of the passage - the interpretation I follow. Please hang with me for a second; I believe that when God breathed “The breath of life” into Adam, it wasn’t some mystical or biological beginning of physical life; it was the Holy Spirit himself. That “Life” was God himself living inside us, providing for all the needs we were created to have. When Adam and Eve believed Satan’s lie that, “Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” and they ate from the tree, in the moment that they decided to turn away from God and toward Satan, the Holy Spirit that was breathed into Adam left them. At that moment, we “Died.” We became “separated” from God – that is, spiritually dead. It wasn’t till Jesus died and rose again that we could be, “Born again” and once again have the Holy Spirit dwell in us and provide us eternal life.
Read Romans 8 and 9. Romans 9:14-24 is very clear that God is Sovereign over His creation. God planned and ordained everything that has happened and shall happen including the fall of Adam and Eve. It was for His purpose that the fall happened and Romans 9:22-24 help us to understand that He has intended on revealing Himself all along, "What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles." God is Providential throughout the Bible. He provided for Adam and Eve before the fall and provided for them after the fall. God has revealed His attributes in the Bible, in nature, and in types and shadows . When Christ returns we will truly understand them.
I believe that all parents are guilty of some degree of hyperbole when correcting or instructing their children. We hope to create some sense of obedience by over-stating the consequences --- "your father is going to kill you when he finds out about this" type of thing. I believe God was trying to impress upon Adam the seriousness and importance of his ruling not to eat of the forbidden fruit. The most dire consequence that Adam could grasp was immediate death. Of course, the resulting alienation from God had the affect of a "fate worse than death." The intimacy they had known in the Garden would be no more. Thankfully we serve a righteous and merciful God that both grants us free will and a means for redemption when we err.
The evidence against Adam and Eve wasn't sufficient for immediate death. Note that Eve claimed that the serpent beguiled her. Adam was convinced by Eve, not by his own thinking. . Looking closely at God's judgment, only Adam was sentenced to eventually die. The serpent was to be transformed to a reptile moving with its belly on the ground. Eve was only condemned to much child bearing and being ruled over by her husband, not ultimate death. As we are physical descendants of Adam and Eve, we can look forward to the male gender dying at some point in the future, possibly before the great white throne judgment of Rev. 20:11. The resurrection will be based spiritually on the female line, but without any reproductive capacity or characteristics, as the old things will have passed away.
All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.
A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.