Surely Die

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Something is missing from this passage…

[God said to Adam] “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.” –Genesis 2:17

Why aren’t Adam and Eve dead?

Lest we think the serpent spoke truth (Gen 3:4), let us examine this closely. Here are several points, all of which might be accurate.

First, consider that life is not just existence, but our spiritual fellowship with God, which was immediately broken at the fall (Rom 7:9-11). THIS is REAL death (Eph 2:1).

Second, death can be considered the process of our decay, and that at the very moment of partaking the fruit, humanity’s access to the Tree of Life was revoked (Gen 3:22-23), and they began to die.

Third, we might utilize the serpent’s question “Did God really say?” in a genuine search for wisdom (the purpose of the crafty snake, see Gen 3:1) in order to question our assumptions regarding what the Lord meant by “in the day.” Is not a thousand years as a “day” to the Lord in His patience (2Pe 3:8)? And note that even the oldest man fell short of 1,000 at 969 years (Gen 5:27).

Fourth, God is merciful, and has allowed them to live beyond the limits of His divine decree. This is not an unjust pardon, but a merciful delay, for every sin will be accounted for at the great white throne—or was accounted for at the cross (Rom 3:25; Rev 20:12-15).

“Or do you have contempt for the wealth of his kindness, forbearance, and patience, and yet do not know that God’s kindness leads you to repentance? But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath for yourselves in the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment is revealed!” –Romans 2:4-5

Lord, humble us to Your immense mercy today. Help us see the gracious breath that You do not withhold every day that we arise from our bed (Job 34:14). Open our eyes to the mercy of every ray of sun and drop of rain that continues to bless us with undeserved light and life (Mat 5:45). Grant us today a heart of thanksgiving for Your mercy!

Billy Neal

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