Did Adam “Die Spiritually” The Same Day He Ate The Forbidden Fruit?
People have objected to the Biblical teaching of death by saying that Adam died “spiritually” in Genesis 3. I have answered that many times on the “Where Are The Dead” page. One of the arguments that has been used by many well meaning folk goes something like this: “the Bible says Adam would die the very day he ate the fruit, so he must have died spiritually.”
I will post the answer to that view below. For more detailed study read Figures of Speech pages 652-654. Every occurrence of the phrase is examined, and, as usual, you will find no such animal as “spiritual death.” Here’s how those who hold the “spiritual death” theory read Genesis 2:
“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 A PART OF YOU shalt surely die.”
That’s what they teach. But it’s not true. The same person who ate is the same person who died. Adam wasn’t dissected like a lab rat after he ate the forbidden fruit. Please read the notes below from Bullinger’s Figures of Speech. It will clear up this simple figure of speech. Those who understand this simple figure won’t have to “trouble themselves to invent some new and strange and unscriptural theories as to death; or resort to strained interpretations in order to explain a self-created difficulty.”
Ladies and Gents, here’s Bully :
Gen. 2:4 — “When they were created. In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.”
Here ” in the day ” in the second line answers to ” when ” in the first line.
Gen. 2: 17. — “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt
A noun with the preposition followed by the verb in the infinitive,
as here, becomes an adverb of time, and means simply “when…”
I Kings 2:37.—”it shall be that, on the day thou goest out, and passest over the brook Kidron, thou shalt know for certain that thou shalt surely die…”
Then, after Shimei had gone out, and been to Gath to seek his servants, who had run away, and had come back again, “it was told Solomon that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath, and was come again” (v.41). The king sent for Shimei; and said: “Did I not make thee to swear by the Loud, and protested unto thee, saying Know for a certain, on the day thou goest out, and walkest abroad any whither, that thou shalt surely die?”
After all this, Solomon proceeded to make Shimei “know for certain that he should surely die.”
In this case Shimei had been not merely outside his house, but far away to Gath, one of the royal cities of the Philistines; and had not only consumed some time on his journeys out and home, but, after he got there, he had to seek his lost servants out and find them. Therefore “on the day” could neither be intended nor taken in its literal meaning; but, by Synecdoche, for any indefinite yet certain time. It was so taken by Solomon here, and it is perfectly certain that it is to be so understood in Gen. 3:19. The Lord distinctly says: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground ; for out of it wast thou taken : for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
Not ” in the day” that Adam ate of the forbidden fruit; for the Lord contemplates him as living on, and he did live for nine hundred and thirty years (Gen. 5:5). The interest of the passage in 1 Kings 2 is that the words are used in exactly the same connection, and with the corresponding figure, Polyptoton, ” dying thou wilt die.”
Those who see and understand the figure Synecdoche, here employed, need not trouble themselves to invent some new and strange and unscriptural theories as to death; or resort to strained interpretations in order to explain a self-created difficulty.