God said to Adam and Eve, “for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Why didn’t they die that day?

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God said to Adam and Eve, “for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17).

The Lord spoke of two deaths:

(1) The “first” death that we all experience when we die. “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

(2) The “second” death when the wicked will experience in hell fire at the end of time. “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8). The difference between the first and the second death is that there is no resurrection from the second death. It is eternal.

Adam and Eve were not created immortal; they needed to eat of the Tree of Life to live forever (Genesis 3:22). When Adam and Eve sinned, they immediately would have died the second eternal death except for the fact that Jesus stepped forward and offered to die the second death on Calvary on their behalf and for all humanity (John 3:16). Thus, His supreme sacrifice spared them. Jesus… tasted “death for everyone” (Hebrews 2:9).

Genesis 2:17

This verse means that Adam and Eve the very day they sinned, their natures changed to dying, sinful natures. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). The grave became their certainty. “For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19). Separation from the Source of life could inescapably bring death.

Adam did not physically die in the moment he sinned, but he was brought under eternal condemnation. He was considered spiritually dead (Matthew 8:22; Luke 9:60) and in a state of condemnation—despite being alive. Sin destroyed the union mankind had with God (Isaiah 59:1-2), without which there is no life. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

Jesus came to redeem humanity from death. He said, “If anyone keeps My word he shall never see death” (John 8:51) meaning eternal death. Those that accept him will live forever (John 17:3). Physical death and the state of unconsciousness between death and the resurrection do not steal away this gift from him. His life remains to be “hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3) to be translated into glorious immortality on the resurrection Day

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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