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)
Mankind died in the Garden of Eden. That which is dead cannot bring forth life. Every single person born from Adam and Eve inherited the same sin nature that separated Adam and Eve from God. Because of sin, man was doomed to spiritual death.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NIV84)
Because of sin, man was doomed to death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
2 Samuel 14:14
Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. (NIV84)
Because of sin, we all must die, but God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished (dead) person may not remain estranged from him.
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love (NIV84)
1 Peter 1:20
He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. (NIV84)
God determined before the universe was created that Jesus would have to die. The universe was created in such a way that Jesus could die and save us. The reason why I say this is because in heaven it is not possible to die and yet remain. However, in the pseudo heaven, the natural universe, there is animal (biological) life and there is, for us humans, spiritual life. It is possible for us to die spiritually and yet not biologically. Due to the original sin, man became spiritually separated from God, but was still able to think and learn while being spiritually dead. In this way man could come to understand the meaning of sin and spiritual death. In death, we humans can learn what the result of sin is, and having truly learned, we can then repent.
God’s plan of salvation was devised billions of years before Adam and Eve were created. God fully understands the end before he even starts the beginning. When God starts a plan, the exact output has already been determined. God is a far thinker. There is no possibility of failure of God’s plans because he knows what he is doing and has the power and knowhow to bring it about.
“I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. (NIV84)
No truer words have ever been spoken. Such understanding is so beyond man that we have trouble seeing its possibility. The idea that God designed the exact universe and then brought it into existence thirteen plus billion years ago with the exact purpose of bringing you and I into this exact world, at this exact time, is beyond our natural ability to fully comprehend. But man is not just the animal that we see and feel; he is a spirit being created in the very image of God himself.
…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)
Just how many generations of man were forming before God breathed his very own nature into Adam is unknown, but man’s body was billions of years in the making. At the exact moment of God’s choosing, he breathed his nature into the Homo sapiens male, and the man became a living being; he became a living eternal being, created in the image and likeness of God. Before God breathed into the man, man was only a Homo sapiens male, as many people today think he is.
After God breathed into the man, the man sinned and his sin separated him spiritually from the eternal living God. But, unlike the angels, who when they sinned, were eternally lost to death, man had two lives; the natural animal life and the eternal spiritual life that was like God. We could die spiritually and yet live to see and learn, thus giving man an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of who he really is and what his purpose is. We having learned about sin and death, could then gain the knowledge of good and evil and then choose spiritual life over eternal separation from God.
A relationship with God is a relationship of faith. Man broke his innocent faith bond with God in the Garden of Eden in his pursuit of gaining worldly wisdom that led to spiritual death. The key here is once the man had been spiritually separated from God, he could still hear the message of God though the Holy Scriptures and respond in restored faith. God made it possible that man could die spiritually, live physically and be reborn spiritually, or be reconnected to God through faith. This is something only unique to mankind. No other being, angels nor animals, have such a wonderful opportunity. But how did the opportunity present itself? The opportunity presented itself through Jesus, the only Son of God. The Son whom Scripture predicted many many years ago.
Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” (NIV84)
Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. (NIV84)
“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)
By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”19 Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death. (NIV84)
The reason Jesus’ death was foretold was so that we might have faith in God who foretold it. It is not good enough that we should hope for mercy from God., We need to know that God desires for us to accept his offered salvation in Jesus Christ and have a basis for eternal faith in God’s salvation. God told us about Jesus’ death and resurrection a thousand years [Psalm 22:1-31] before its accomplishment so that we could recognize it for what it is and respond. That is God’s plan; that we should respond. God was so invested in this plan, that he sent his only son, whom he loved, to die a horrible death for us so that we might believe in God’s earnestness and thereby have faith in God and in his willingness to have us back. Our belief is paramount. We need to believe to have the faith necessary to make our restoration possible.
It was necessary that God send his Son to die for us because the one that was to die needed to be able to defeat death. Man could not defeat death because man had sinned and was subject to death, that is, death had power over man. However, such was not the case with God’s Son, who was not born of the seed of Adam, that is, not born into sin, but instead was born holy by the will of God. For this to be true, it was necessary that God’s Son would come into the world born of a virgin [Luke 1:26-38] and so, it came to pass. This too was foretold more than seven hundred years before its fulfillment [Isaiah 7:14], and again, so that you might understand that God desires for you to see the need of having faith in him.
What we see in Christ is that he obediently pretended to be subject to death [Matthew 55:54-55] so that he could fool Satan [1 Corinthians 2:8], so that Satan would cover him in death. But death can only hold someone that is subject to it. Jesus was holy from conception right up to his obedient death [Philippians 2:6-11], and so having died a biological death [John 19:28-37], Jesus through death in his body was revealed to be alive. To demonstrate this to us, who did not understand, God removed Jesus’ body from the tomb, and the resurrected Christ received an eternal body which he shows us so that we might believe.
Now that is fine for Jesus, who death could not hold, because he was never subject to death, but how does that help us? How can Jesus’ resurrection help me?
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)
We, who have believed what God has done, die to the world and accept the marriage-like union with Christ [Ephesians 5:31-32] in his death, so that in his resurrection, we are resurrected from death too. This is possible because we believe what God has done, that is, we have a firm foundation [Hebrews 6:19-20] for our faith in our restoration with God. In the Garden of Eden, man did not believe God, and sinned thinking separation from God was no big thing, but now having fully understood sin and death, we joyously and thankfully accept the restoration that God has purchased for us at such high cost. We see Jesus, the perfect Son of God, having come down from heaven, sent by God, to willingly accept the humiliation of death and to accept the unspeakable pain of physical torture on our behalf, so that we might be saved from eternal death. We, in all humility, bow down before him in homage and thank him for providing a path for us back to God. In imitation of Christ, we willingly accept death in the world to live for God in Christ Jesus.
The understanding of this plan is not for us alone. The angels in heaven, those that did not sin, have been watching every step of God’s plan, and they too now understand good and evil.
God’s way is the way of selfless love [1 John 4:16; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7; Galatians 5:22-23]. We must die to selfishness and embrace God in selflessness. We obediently lay down our lives before God and praise God for his mercy and kindness. And because our faith is pure, we extend mercy and kindness to others, knowing it is the will of God.