The “death” referred to in God’s warning to Adam (Gen2:17) was clearly not physical death, he continued for centuries; nor did God say (as some bible translation inaccurately infer) that Adam was “doomed to die”. The “death” he would experience would occur the very day he ate the forbidden fruit and is the “death” that every man and woman experiences as a consequence of the Fall. That is the disruption of their vital relationship with God – the ultimate purpose for which they were created but cannot experience whilst “in the flesh”. This is the death Paul is referring to in his writings where at one point he asks “Who will deliver me from the body of this death?” (Greek: somatos tou thanatou toutou – Rom7:24).
“This death” is referring to the condition that the unregenerate man he was depicting in that passage was currently experiencing such that he desired to do good but constantly gave in to the desires of the flesh (“the law of sin that is in my members” – previous verse). It is that absence of “Life” that Jesus spoke of when He said “Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood you have no life in you” (Jn6:53). He means “eternal life” (literally, age life) being the present-day experience of “knowing God” (Jn17:3), which by its nature will also be everlasting. Paul’s reference to death in this context neither refers to a person’s mortality nor that he is “damned” but the loss of the vital communion which our first parents brought about the day they ate the forbidden fruit. But thankfully “As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive”. Cain though is another kettle of fish… (to follow).
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