And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 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.. (KJV)
God told the man that he was not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and that if he did eat from it, that on that very day he would die. Therefore, the first man and first woman both died on the day that they ate from the forbidden tree.
So if they died on that day, why then did the man, Adam, live for some nine hundred years after that day? How is this possible? Did he die or did he continue living? To understand this mystery we must first understand how, or in what way, did they die.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (NIV84)
…the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (NIV84)
God is spirit [John 4:24]. God is not an animal. He is not a Homo sapiens. He did not originate on this planet. He did not evolve from a lower creature. God created man in his image and in His likeness, so the created man that the Bible talks about is a spirit being, and so we are.
If we examine [Genesis 2:7] above we can see that God created man in a two-step process. The first step was the formation of man’s body, which we call the Homo sapiens primate animal. This step is not the man, not in God’s eyes. After God formed man’s body from the dust of the earth, he then created the spiritual man, the real man, and placed that spiritual soul within the body of a Homo sapiens male. Man’s physical body is not the real man. Man’s body is more like clothes that cover the real man. The real man, the spirit man, the man that is like God, is hidden within the animal body. You are a spirit being that God created in his image and in His likeness. You have the potential of becoming one of God’s very own children.
But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. (NIV84)
This passage makes clear the duel nature of man. Man is in fact a hybrid being. He has a flesh and blood body, which we call the Homo sapiens animal, but he also has a part that is like God, that is, his spirit. This is so important for you to understand. You are not your body. You are a spirit being, a soul, that temporally lives within an animal body. One of the biggest stumbling blocks to biblical understanding is not recognizing your true hybrid nature. So long as you think of yourself as a Homo sapiens animal, then you will not be able to understand the Bible. The Bible is all about the spirit and the flesh counts for nothing.
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. (NIV84)
Life is in the spirit and not in the flesh, biblically speaking. This is why the Bible says that God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being [Genesis 2:7].”
When God warned the man not to eat from the forbidden tree else he would die, it was the man’s spirit-life that God was talking about and not his animal life.
So when the man and the woman ate from the forbidden tree, they died in their spirits and became spiritual zombies of a sort. Because our ancestors deliberately sinned, they lost their spiritual life, their connection to God, and we, their descendants, have inherited that spiritual separation [Romans 3:23]. Spiritually being separated from God is being dead. That is God’s definition of death. God is the source of life and the sustainer of life. The spark of life must be present to bring forth living offspring. As our ancestors were spiritually dead, they could not produce children that were any different than themselves, and so all of us have been born spiritually dead. Actually, I don’t believe that that last statement is exactly correct. After carefully examining the Scriptures, I have come to understand that the children of a truly born-again parent are born spiritually alive.
1 Corinthians 7:12–14
To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. (NIV84)
This passage is talking about the children of a couple where one of the parents is truly born-again. The holy statuses of the children that come forth from a holy parent are holy in the eyes of God. This must be contrasted with the children that come forth from parents that are not born-again. Anyway, this is something that I personally believe but usually keep to myself as it is hard to understand and might not be as I have presented it. (Something for you to think about.)
Let us now look that the death of the lord of the zombies, Satan, formally called Lucifer. Remember that I speak of spiritual death here and not literal physical death.
Ezekiel 28:12–13, 14–17
12 “Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “ ‘You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared.
14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. 15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. 16 Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. 17 Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. (NIV84)
We see here that Lucifer was an anointed cherub before he fell. He was full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. We also see that God created him blameless in his ways, which means that Lucifer did what was right; he was selfless. Let us look at another passage that sheds more light on the topic of Lucifer’s death, that is, his self-elevation and subsequent separation from God.
How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn (this name is translated Lucifer in the KJV)! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! 13 You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. 14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” 15 But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit. (NIV84) (Parentheses mine)
In this passage, we can see the essence of sin. To better understand this essence, we must first take a quick look at the nature of God. God is love [1 John 4:16]. When love is examined carefully in the Scriptures, we see that it is essentially selfless. God is selfless [1 Corinthians 13:5]. He always does what is good for the body. He does not look to himself to the detriment of others. That is God. Now in the above passages, we see that Lucifer was selfless too until he became proud. In his pride, he elevated himself above all others, that is, he did for himself at the expense of all others and by doing so, he became the opposite of God; he became selfish, or self-centered if you like.
God and Satan have two diametrically opposed philosophies. God’s philosophy is health and peace to the whole body and Satan’s philosophy is that he puts himself before all others. Satan’s ways are like cancer in the body. He elevated himself above the good of the body. Satan’s cancerous philosophy cannot be allowed to destroy the whole body and so he is expelled from the community of God’s children.
What exists today are the philosophies of selflessness and selfishness, and you must choose between them. The eternal God is before you in all his selflessness glory. He is about community, peace, and harmony. God is the substance of health. He is life itself. By contrast, selfish and self-centered Satan is about himself and puts himself above all others. Satan will attempt to destroy any and all those who oppose him. God, on the other hand, wants you to join him in his way of gentle peace and kindness. God does not impose his way on you, but rather he provides a way for you to come to him [2 Samuel 14:14]. In the world, we are so used to having another’s will imposed on us that it seems like God is indifferent, but God is definitely not indifferent. He sent Jesus to die on the cross, after all. In the world, we have a never-ending imposition of rules laid down upon us, but in God, we are only to trust in God.
The world says, “It is better to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven,” but it is through elevating others that you become filled with love. The world is foolish beyond measure. Sin is a self-destroying fire that consumes its host. Hell and its inhabitants will be destroyed when they are thrown into the Lake of Fire. That fire is the self-destructiveness of selfishness. God doesn’t punish anyone for sin. Sin carries within itself its own destructive punishments. Open your eyes and look out into the world and see this for yourself. The world downplays the effect of sin, but look at what sin has wrought throughout world history. Selfish sin promises elevation but always and I mean always, ends in destruction. It is not in cancer’s nature to benefit its host. Selfishness destroys while selflessness heals and makes whole.
The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. (NIV84)
This passage is doubtless literally true, but the literal truth is not what is important about this Scripture. It is the spiritual meaning that we must come to understand. Everyone in God’s kingdom wears clothes. God wears clothes and the angels are clothed, everyone but man is clothed. The man and the woman were innocents. Now, remember, we are talking about the inside spirit persons here. Animals are animals and are not capable of sin. Sin is not rooted in the flesh, but it can bloom in the flesh. Everything is that way. Our bodies, and in fact everything in the physical universe, is like a metaphor for the spiritual. Everything about the real you and I mean everything about you springs forth from out of your spiritual soul. Your body, your flesh, is nothing but a covering (clothes if you will) for your spiritual soul. The nakedness that the man and the woman perceived after the fall was actually an awareness of spiritual shame. After the fall the man and the woman perceived that they were guilty of sinning against God. They were ashamed that they became corrupted by sin. They felt that corruption within themselves. To say this plainly we can say that they felt guilty.
Now I want to point out something very important here. The man and the woman were capable of feeling guilt. This is not true of the countless angels that sinned. When the angels that sinned, sinned they immediately became clinically insane, as it were. They became so full of themselves that they became incapable of seeing anything except their own point of self-importance. Each and every one of the fallen saw themselves as being equal to God himself. That is what sin does. That is the corruption of sin. But with man, this was tempered by the fact that we cannot really see our spiritual selves. We are hidden inside humiliating animal bodies. Our bodies were designed by God to show us our weaknesses. But the weakness that we see in our bodies is not really us, or rather; we are not really our bodies. We can see our weaknesses and learn from them. That is the purpose of the body. God has put before us life and death and we can choose life. I am talking about spiritual life here. Our flesh is not spiritually alive and can never be so. God has put eternal life before us, to be seen and understood by our true selves. Then he revealed this fact to us through the Bible and we must choose the spiritual life offered by God over the natural life we “live” in this world.
When the man and the woman’s eyes were opened, they saw that their bodies were mortal. This is why the Bible says that they were naked and does not say that they were nude. They had gained what the forbidden tree had to offer, that is, they had gained the knowledge of good and evil. They understood that God was good and that what they had done was evil. The woman wanted to be like God, or put another way, she wanted to be God’s equal, but God has many times made clear to us that we are to put ourselves as the lowest.
Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. 28 You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (NIV84)
If you want to be like God then you must do as Jesus did.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (NIV84)
These truths that we see in the New Testament are the same truths that existed in the Garden of Eden. If we want to understand what happened in the Garden then we must look to the whole of revelation, that is, at the revelations found in both Testaments.
In the Garden of Eden we saw the fall of man, that is, the breaking of the living connection that man had with the Living One. Man is connected to God through a bond of living faith. When man broke that bond of living faith he became separated from God; man became dead.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (NIV84)
Mankind died in the Garden of Eden but God devised a way through which man might be completely restored to himself. The restoration is one of faith. Death came through broken faith and it is restored faith that can save us. God sent Jesus, the Holy and Pure and Sinless One, to die for us so that we can put our faith in Him who defeated death and was resurrected back to life.
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (NIV84)