I don’t know where I would have been, had I not been forgiven. Ever imagined what would have happened if God had decided to go ahead with his word of punishing Adam and Eve as initially promised? The promised punishment was Death. From Genesis chapter 2 verse 16, the Lord told Adam that he could eat of any tree in the garden but should not touch the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The interesting thing about my understanding of this concept of life and death up to this point was initially flawed. But thanks to God, I continue growing in the knowledge of His word of what actually happened at the tree of knowledge of good and evil. If there was no death involved, then it would mean that God was a liar and the devil was actually true in telling Eve that she wouldn’t die. We all know God doesn’t lie. I had to find out how then did Adam die?
And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.Genesis 2:9 ESV
There were two crucial trees in the Garden of Eden. The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. “And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”. Genesis 2:9. In verses 16 and 17, we see the Lord giving Adam a specific command. “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 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.””
The death part is what was boiling up inside of me. Fast forward to ‘the fall’ in Genesis 3. I will not go to the technicalities of the temptation and the results. But we all know that Adam ended up eating the fruit. I cannot believe Adam chose to die. He knew too well, from the Lord himself that he would die when he ate that fruit! For the record, Adam was right there with Madam Eve – He had not neglected his duties as a man et al. But that is the discussion of another day. The reason being, Adam did not “Physically die” you know, like those Afro Cinema movies where there is a loud clap of thunder and then a flash of lightning, and the dude drops dead as a waft of smoke goes up to the sky. That is what I would have expected from that verse when they did do the deed in chapter 3 verse 6. Probably that is what Adam and Eve Expected. I mean, Eve had already taken a bite and was still standing next to him, hmm? He ate it too. But something was different. Their realization that they were naked. Later God would come to look for Adam and they would be hiding in some bushes nearby because the “action of eating the fruit” – The disobedience, did things to their minds and hearts from that point forward.
I realize that from my perspective man did not die, like; stopped breathing and falling to the ground dead-dead. And for a while, I actually saw that forgiving God who decided to give these people a chance to redeem themselves. We all know that it was impossible for man to redeem himself and that is why a savior had to come. Anyway, I have been thinking that God decided to not ‘kill’ these people and instead just gave them a less harsh judgment and kicked them out of the garden. But that is not the end of it. Adam actually died… The Adam who was created in the image and likeness of the creator was dead. He died instantly and that’s why one of the very first reactions was their realization that they were ‘naked’. Adam was never the same.
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”Genesis 1:28 ESV
If we go back to the beginning, we see 5 commands that had been given to Adam at this point. That is up to the point of the fall, there were 5 commands that Adam was given. Genesis 1: 28 And God blessed them. And God Said to them, “Be Fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on earth. 4 of these commands are here. Be fruitful, Multiply, Replenish, Exercise Dominion, and in chapter 2 verse 15 we see God extending that by physically putting Him in the garden to tend and keep it. He was not to transfer or give this dominion to anyone else. The 5th command which is key in the story today is from Genesis 2:17. “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.”. It is only this last one that would be a source of temptation because it involves a “do not”. Think about freedom, freedom, limit… That is why it also attracted a unique penalty with it. Death. So what died? Who died?
Adam Actually died. That very day he sinned, he died. We are talking here about eternal death. Remember, man is spirit, that which was blown into the nostrils of Adam that gave him life. The body we are in is flesh. This act of disobedience carries with it so much weight and that is why the eternal death brought with it an interruption of these other 4 commands above it. It is with this death that we see, fruitfulness became a struggle, Multiplication became a struggle, dominion became a struggle and generally, fighting temptations became a struggle. Because we lost that original creation. Romans 5:12-21 gives us a very nice breakdown of what happened and what Christ’s role was. Restoring that original man. Remember part of the reason they were chased out of the garden, was so they wouldn’t get to the other tree – the tree of life. Because in eating that, man would live forever. (Gen 3:22-23) But he would live forever in the sinful nature. That nature where he wanted to do life in disobedience to God or on his own terms.
Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.Genesis 3: 22-23 ESV
From the letter to the church in Rome, we learn that through one man, sin came into the world and that is how death spread to all men. We are probably wondering, why God wouldn’t just have killed him even in the flesh and created another man. God instead, established a redemption plan who was Jesus. The fact that Adam carried the seed of the entire world (Part of his areas of responsibility – to multiply) he extended the sin nature to the rest of his offspring. That is why it took Jesus Christ to die once for the redemption of sin and from Jesus, we would receive life again, we would become alive again in Him. Romans 5:15 says “But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.” In Jesus Christ we got justification. The opposite of what happened in Genesis 3 is what happened at the cross on Calvary. Jesus was sinless, his one act of righteousness led to the justification and life for all men. Paul puts it this way in verse 19 puts it this way, “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous”.
12Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned, 15But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 17For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.Romans 5: 12, 15, 17 ESV
We rejoice in the fact that while death was not final, God himself redeemed us in his plan and son Jesus Christ. Sin reigned in death and grace reigns through righteousness. It is this which leads to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Who we need to accept. Notice that God did not force us into accepting Christ. It is out of our free will to say no to death and say yes to life. So whenever that sinful urge creeps in, whenever that sinful nature that is inbuilt in every seed of Adam creeps in, we should stand firm and remember that there is one man, Jesus Christ who in his one act of righteousness redeemed us all and gave us life. All we have to do is believe. That is how we are new creations in Christ Jesus. Alive for eternity as God initially intended.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come2 Corinthians 5:17