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Featured What Happened "On That Day"? Genesis 2:17

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by asterisktom, Jul 29, 2020 at 10:31 PM.

  1. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    Why did God say to Adam that he would die on the day that should he eat of the forbidden fruit when he clearly did not die on that day? It never seemed quite satisfactory that God meant that he would only begin to die after the Fall happened, that Adam would not die until almost a millennium later. I am not denying that this was also true, that there was certainly a great change in nature from that very time of disobedience. But this does not really account for all of what was implied in the divine prohibition. And it dances around the phrase "in that day".

    First of all, there must be a distinction between what God threatened and what He carried out.

    Second, we do not need to go far afield to imagine what the Hebrew here might mean. We have the context to guide us. Specifically, in order to know what is meant by "in that day" we only need to see how the phrase is used in a nearby parallel verse. Satan told Eve, Gen. 3:5:

    "God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

    Now, are we also going allow for a time lapse here? I think not. The eye-opening was immediate. It happened on that day - just as Satan said. (On this point the Serpent was correct, although he connived to let Eve connect the other dots according to his own plan.)

    So neither was a lapse of time with the death. death happened that very day. But for Adam and Eve it was not a personal death. It was a substitutionary death. This brings us the third point, to Genesis 3:21:

    "The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them."

    What were these garments of skin? They were from animals that had to be killed. The animal (or animals) had to die because of the sin of Adam and Eve. This was the beginning of the sacrificial system. How did Abel later know just how to perform an acceptable sacrifice? He must have learned it from his dad. And Cain, for whatever reason, seemed to not put as much stock into this.

    In Genesis we have two faint pictures of the redemption story, the Protovangelion in Genesis 3:15 and this one in verse 21.

    Adam did not die physically that day. That death that was threatened against him and Eve was a comprehensive death. Physical, spiritual, and eternal. If God had not provided clothing for them, if they had not put on that clothing, they would have died in every way that very day.

    But, thank God, He allowed them to put on that clothing - just as we put on Christ, the Lamb of God.
     
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  2. church mouse guy

    church mouse guy Well-Known Member
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    I was taught that Adam died spiritually & had to be *born again*. The animals died physically and after the Flood, they would be not only sacrifice and clothing but also food. Because of Adam, we all die physically. I imagine that you would agree but I don't want to put words in your mouth.
     
  3. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob Administrator
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    Look at a great idiom of Hebrew language. In the day you eat of that tree - what?

    מות תמות

    Dying (mooth) you will die (h'mooth)

    They began dying that day. Until then, there was no death! No animal had been killed (A&E were vegetarians; bloodshed only after sin)

    That day . . . death began, and they began dying.

    That will preach.
     
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  4. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    I agree with all of this. And I did indeed preach this very interpretation. It is just that I do not think this is the primary intent of the passage. It overlooks the implication of the beginning of the substitutionary sacrificial system implied in verse 21.

    "And the LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and He clothed them."


    In my OP I was focusing on the identical phrases in both verses, 2:17, 3:5 "in the day you eat"

    בְּי֛וֹם (bə·yō·wm)
    אֲכָלְךָ֥ (’ă·ḵā·lə·ḵem)

    Since their eyes being opened was immediate we must at least consider the interpretation, since we have the same phrase, that the death was also immediate. And not only immediate, but more than just the beginning of process. That is why, IMO, the animals died - as a substitutionary death and covering for the sin of Adam and Eve. As soon there was sin there was a remedy.

    "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin".


    I believe that, for this verse to be true, the remedy needed already to have started on that very day.
     
  5. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    I agree with some of this. I am just not sure that "Spiritual death" means the same thing that it would in New Testament times or today. Adam and Eve, after all, were is a class by themselves. They were the only created humans that were in a state of innocence. I just do not know enough about Adam pre-Fall to say that he died spiritually. I do not think he had the same connection to God that believers do, having the indwelling Holy Spirit. Comparing him to, say, Demas or the apostates warned about in Hebrews, he did not sin against the same level of truth.

    I believe that the sacrificial system started right after the Fall.

    I appreciate your not wanting to put words in my mouth. Thank you.
     
  6. church mouse guy

    church mouse guy Well-Known Member
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    Do you think that some rogue animals began eating other animals after the fall and before the Flood?
     
  7. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    This is my belief as well. On that day death entered the world and death became a certainly (Adam would surely die).

    Do you draw a distinction between death entering the world and God subjecting Creation to futility (did Adam's sin introduce death to the world of man while God Himself subjected the world to futility)?

    I'm trying to place Romans 8:20 alongside Genesis 3 and wondering what, if not death and decay, "futility" means in Romans.
     
  8. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob Administrator
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    Personally, no. Like in the millennial kingdom to come, even the predatory animals will be changed.

    This may be why the impact of sin was so great on Adam - first bloodshed ever watching God kill animals to provide sacrificial robes for them. Death entered the world by Adam's sin (Romans 5) and not before.
     
  9. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob Administrator
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    Futility means "transient" - it would be now instead of perfection a state of "passing away". We still use that English euphemism for dying/death. So same root of both ideas - dying physically, spiritually, creation, all of creation began the death spiral.
     
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  10. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Would it be fair, then, to say that death entering through Adam's sin was also (was the same event as) God Himself subjecting the world to futility "in hope that creation itself would be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God"?
     
  11. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Wait....are you saying no bacon???
     
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  12. Derf B

    Derf B Member

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    Cool topic, *Tom!
    I find it interesting that in both your title of the thread and the first line of your post, you use the phrase "on the/that day", yet you quote the scripture passage as saying "in the day". Why? Are you more comfortable with the word "on"? Do the two prepositions mean the same?

    I contend that they do NOT mean the same. "In the day" actually helps to understand the usage of the word "day" to mean "timeframe" or "era". And while I'm all on board that the "days" of Gen 1 are limited to the amount of time it took to have both an evening and a morning, since the scripture gives us that information, such info is not provided with Gen 2:17.
    Based on my foregoing comment, I don't think this is necessary. And our first position, it seems to me, should be to take the text as directly as we can, rather than looking first for a way to interpret it differently.
    I like your point about Satan's use of "in the day" compared to God's use of it, given the immediacy of Satan's "promise" compared to the delay of God's "threat". However, part of the result of their eating of the one tree was that God removed access to the other tree (of life), suggesting that the death was either a progressive death (their bodies started to die, or the DNA started to have mutations that would lead to death, or some such) that could be halted (reversed?) if they still had access to the tree of life, or it was a certainty of death that would be realized in all cases except where they ate of the tree of life. The "certainty of death" model is something that can be backed up in Paul's epistles.

    The idea of a substitutionary death that satisfies the "in the day" contention is not a bad one, in my mind, but it suggests that then Adam and Eve would have died even without eating of the wrong tree, because the substitutionary death was not REALLY a substitutionary death, but only a delaying death--since they eventually died anyway. The sacrifice must have been an interesting "type" of Christ's eventual atonement, and probably, as you suggest, was performed in front of Adam. But I'm not so sure that was the problem with Cain's sacrifice. The most obvious reading of the text, imho, is that Abel brought the best of his flock, while Cain just brought "some" of his produce. It might not make so interesting a story, but we wouldn't want to put more words into the passage than are there already in order to make a more interesting story.

    [Gen 4:3 KJV] And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.
    [Gen 4:4 KJV] And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:

    God didn't say anything about whether the animals that were slaughtered were the best, nor anything about the fat, when He gave the skins to Adam and Eve.
    If I'm right, that Adam DID die physically "in that day", it doesn't diminish the idea that the threat was for a comprehensive death, but it removes the need for defining other types of death. "Physical" death then is the only type of death that is needed. And "physical" resurrection is then the hope of the believer, and the resurrected believer would be whole in his resurrection, just as he was whole in his death.
    And the threat of death that hangs over all of us that have come from Adam is what is removed (via the subsequent, promised resurrection) when we are "passed from death into life" (John 5:24).
     
  13. church mouse guy

    church mouse guy Well-Known Member
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    Did animals kill after the fall and before the Flood?
     
  14. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob Administrator
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    I will check with my old co-founder of the Baptist Board, Barnabas Halo. I think he was around back then. :)

    Seriously, there is such little information (2 chapters in Genesis) that all we can make are educated guesses.

    And I'm not that educated. (I would guess that after Eden, the nature of animals changed . . . just like the nature of humans changed).
     
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  15. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    To my thinking they mean the same.

    We do not know what the story would have been had Adam and Eve not sinned. But I do not see how you would think that the death of an animal means that A and E would have "eventually died anyway."

    To me it makes perfect sense that the whole system of sacrifice and covering for sins started that very day. And, looking through a variety of commentaries, I see I am not alone in seeing it this way. (Not that this necessarily makes it right)
     
  16. Derf B

    Derf B Member

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    As most also think. But it's not really true, else you would willingly use the "in the day" phrasing. You're not as comfortable with that phrasing, so you automatically adjust it to the more comfortable phrasing for you.

    The reason you're not as comfortable with the phrasing in the text, I expect, is that it is not what we normally use today. We talk about what will happen "on" a particular day, not ever "in the day", at least not in a future-looking discussion. We do have a phrase "back in the day" that means something very similar to what I'm suggesting--in a past time frame or era, rather ON a particular day in the past.

    I'll try to explain better.

    If Adam and Eve were supposed to die for their sins "on the day" they ate of the tree, and instead they did not die that day, but died another day, then the sacrifice for the animal skins, being effectual for preventing them from dying "on the day", life returned to normal, except they lost their cushy living quarters and easily obtained food. There's no part of the penalty that says they would die another day, so if they didn't die "on the day", the atonement was obviously effectual.

    But being effectual, and seeing that they still died, 900 something years later, the dying at 900+ years must have been the original plan, as it wasn't discussed in the threat.

    I don't think that was the case, and most Christians don't either, I'll wager. So that must mean that the dying at 900+ years was NOT the original plan, and therefore dying at 900+ years was the penalty, and the sacrifice was then NOT effectual for preventing that death.

    You could say that the sacrifice was needed every year to stave off the death requirement, but we don't see that when Cain's sacrifice was rejected--he still lived a decent time afterward, it seems, since he needed a mark to keep others from killing him.

    Well, I wouldn't be quite so bold as to say the WHOLE system of sacrifice started that day. But it does make sense to me that sacrifice for sin could have started that day. But was that the only reason to sacrifice? Noah may have sacrificed as a type of thank offering, or perhaps a plea for no more flooding of the whole earth. It's hard to say with the information we have in scripture, and if we say something that isn't explicit in scripture, we need to be careful not to say it is the only way to view things, even if it does make perfect sense to us.
     
  17. Barry Johnson

    Barry Johnson Active Member

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    If they had not eaten the fruit would they have ever died? if you pluck a leaf from a tree it does not immediately decay .
     
  18. church mouse guy

    church mouse guy Well-Known Member
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    The warning was not about *immediate* death.
     
  19. timtofly

    timtofly Active Member

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    I argue that their physical body was changed. It was changed from life to death. What did not die was the soul. Not only were they separated from their spiritual body. Their body of incorruption died and they were given bodies of corruption. It happened immediately. They already "knew" there was a change. They were naked and ashamed. God explained the change the next daily visit. What happened to them is the reverse of what happens to those in Christ when we die. We literally have to physically die to be changed back and restored.
     
  20. Derf B

    Derf B Member

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    1 Corinthians 15:51 (KJV)
    Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

    Can a spiritual body, whatever that looks like, which is incorruptible, die?
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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