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Featured Spiritual life and the myth Adam (and man) of dying spiritually

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by JonC, Feb 8, 2020.

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  1. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    While it is not a standard view among Christianity, it is not uncommon to view Adam as having experienced a spiritual death. The primary objection to this view is that it is dependent on theology (it reads theology back into Scripture). This fact does not mean the view is automatically invalid (it could be correct). It just means it is not something that is in Scripture itself.

    I do not believe that Adam experienced spiritually dying for several reasons.

    First, the idea of Adam eating of the fruit and dying spiritually on that day is not prescribed by Scripture. The biblical text says nothing of Adam “dying spiritually”, and in fact only speaks of spiritual death as a state of being (a state apart from Christ). Rather than this divide the Bible presents men as being “of the flesh” or “of the Spirit”, never “of the Spirit and died spiritually”.

    Second, while the idea Adam died spiritually is present in very old doctrine (particularly when considering Catholic doctrine), it is not present in first century Jewish thought. That said, the Jews did not have many things right.

    Third, Scripture states to Adam that on that day “dying you shall die” (literally “die, die”. This usage is typically referred to as emphatically making a statement or certainty. When we read “amen, amen” we do not assume this is agreeing to two points but stating without any uncertainty what it is affirming. To read this as two deaths is, in my opinion, intellectually dishonest and inconsistent with established principles of interpretation. On the day Adam ate of the fruit death moves from a potential to a certainty. Adam will surly die.

    Fourth, In Romans 6:20-23 we read: “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

    I understand Scripture to teach that man is either a servant of sin or a servant of righteousness. It is sin that man serves in Adam, and sin leads to death (death is its outcome). But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus. Jesus Himself is this Life.

    Just as I believe that Scripture demands Adam to have been a literal man because of the doctrine founded upon that truth, I have to believe that Adam was not born “spiritually alive” and then died spiritually because of the doctrine of Christ. Jesus IS spiritual life. Jesus Himself became a “life giving Spirit”. Adam could not have been spiritually alive except that he was alive in Christ and this Life insignificantly temporary.


    Jesus is the only way to the Father. This is true for us and this was true for Adam. We need to rely on Scripture rather than myth when at all possible, even if the myth is old and common. Jesus IS the Life. Jesus IS Spiritual Life. For one to have spiritual life one is "in Christ". This is not a temporary thing. Christ IS the "Second Adam".
     
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  2. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell Well-Known Member
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    I find that there are just no words for such doctrine. I am saddened by what I have read.
     
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  3. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    It is sad. But the purpose here is to hopefully provide an opportunity for those who hold the doctrine to work through their conclusions in the light of Scripture.

    I hope and believe it can be done in a Christian manner. Deeply held beliefs are often emotionally held beliefs. But we should (and need) to constantly refine our views to align with Scripture.

    When dealing with those who hold opposing doctrines I have found it best to simply point to Scripture. You and I may recognize the doctrine absent from Scripture itself but we have to respect that traditions run deep.
     
  4. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    First lets define "spiritual death" or being spiritually dead as being separated from God due to unholiness. When Adam sinned he was kicked out of the garden, illustrating his spiritual separation from God. Adam was not made a "sinner" he became a "sinner." Thus he died spiritually when he was separated from God due to unholiness.
     
  5. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    What does the Bible say were the effects of the Fall on the Human race?

    1. Their eyes were opened. There is a sense of guilt. The tempter promised that eating the fruit would open the eyes of Adam and Eve but he did not say what they would see1. God says that they have became like Him in knowing good and evil, but I think that there is an obvious difference. Their knowledge or realization was from the standpoint of a sinner. Calvinists would be quick to point out the word “know” can mean an intimate relationship rather than a cognitive knowledge. Man became intimately acquainted with good and evil by becoming enslaved to sin.

    2. There was a separation from God. Because of sin man (in Genesis, Adam and Eve) hid from God. God knew where they were, of course, but God asks “Where art thou?”. Created upright, created good, man had sinned and sin separated man from God. There is a spiritual consequence as sin separates man from God, but this is not an indicator of a changed nature (a “fallen nature”) or experiencing a “spiritual death”. Until Adam sinned he enjoyed communion with God. After Adam sinned he did not. There was a “veil” between God and man that did not previously exist. But the wage of sin is a physical death with the consequence of being separated from God.2


    But what about Adam spiritually dying? What about Adam’s nature changing?

    Oddly enough, Scripture says nothing about these things. These are philosophical ideas (theories related to the fundamental nature and existence of man) added to support a theological narrative.




    1See John J. Davis, Paradise to Prison: Studies in Genesis.

    2See Gordon J. Wenham, Rethinking Genesis 1-11.
     
  6. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    The difference is that Adam is never "spiritually alive". He was in the presence and in fellowship with God, but this is not ontological to Adam. Otherwise Satan is spiritually alive because he goes to and from the presence of God on a regular basis.
     
  7. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Apostle Paul would disagree with you here, as His main point is that in Adam all humans spiritually died, were now cut off from relationship with God, as dead in their sin natures, but now made spiritually alive again by being now found in Christ!
     
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  8. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    I am amazed that Jon C stated that the view was not a commonly held one, as almost all theologians and scholars I ever read have stated in Adam we all were now spiritually dead, having sin natures!
     
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  9. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Spiritual death, and having sin natures are well attested in the scriptures!
     
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  10. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    Strawman argument

    I never said that we are not, in Adam, spiritually dead.
     
  11. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    Again, strawman argument, I never said that we are not by nature spiritually dead in need of a spiritual birth.
     
  12. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Spritual life is that quality of life that has a relationship with God, doubt satan has that now!
     
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  13. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Did adam have a spiritual death when he fell?
     
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  14. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Did Adam experience spiritual death in the fall?
     
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  15. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    When Adam sinned Adam was not "in Christ". Adam was in need of spiritual life (in need of Christ) even before he sinned as evidenced by his sin.
     
  16. davidtaylorjr

    davidtaylorjr Well-Known Member

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    Death is a separation. Spiritual death is the separation from God which Adam very much experienced.
     
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  17. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    adam was in a sinless humanity nature state before he fell, as his relationship before then was based upon a covenant of works!
     
  18. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    I agree that through sin Adam experienced a separation from God (as I stated). BUT this is not the same as being "spiritually alive" and "spiritually dying".

    There is a difference between being in a state of death (an absence of life) and being alive and then dying. A rock is a dead thing. It was not alive and then dead, it has never been alive.

    I am saying that Adam was not created without the need of Christ. And I am saying spiritual life is ONLY in Christ (even for Adam). God created Adam "good", and "upright". But Adam sinned. Were Adam "in Christ" (spiritually alive) Adam would not have sinned. (I believe that the process of sin as stated in James applies universally, even to Adam pre-fall).
     
  19. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    This is what I mean. You interpret the passage here based on Covenant Theology. Scripture itself does not state such a change in nature but you are reading it into the passage.

    Yes, sin separates man from God and separated Adam from God in a spiritual sense. It is the "veil" of the Old Testament. But this does not mean that Adam experienced a spiritual death (Adam was not created with "spiritual life" but created less than God to begin with).
     
  20. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Adam spirit component was fully turned on by God when created, as that is the aspect that relates to God, our spirit to Him, and that part of him died in the fall...
     
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