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?

Hello S,

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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 (Hebrews 9:27).

(2) The “second” death that the wicked will experience in hell fire at the end of time (Revelation 21:8). The difference is that there is no resurrection from the second death. It is eternal.

When Adam and Eve sinned, they immediately would have died the second 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. His supreme sacrifice spared them ” Jesus… might taste death for everyone” (Hebrews 2:9). Jesus died the Second Death for every person.

The phrase in Genesis 2:17 means that Adam and Eve the very day they sin would enter into the process of dying. Before sinning, the couple possessed an undying, sinless nature. This nature was perpetuated by eating of the tree of life. At the moment of sin, their natures changed to dying, sinful natures. This is what God warned them off. Because they were banned from eating the tree of life, decay and deterioration, leading ultimately to death, began immediately. The grave became a certainty “For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19). For separation from the Source of life could inevitably bring only death.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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