The Consequences of Eating from the Tree of Knowledge Essay

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The purpose of this study will be to examine the specific fulfillment of the consequences contained in the warning against eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Before we look at that fulfillment, it will be beneficial to note the specifics of the promise.

THE PROMISE OF DEATH

The promise seems to be quite clear as God tells Adam and Eve, “in the day that you eat from it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:17). The Hebrew text literally says, “dying, you will die” (tWmT' tAm), though we should understand this, not as speaking of two deaths, but as a Hebraic figure of speech indicating the certainty of that which is promised. The translators of the NAS capture this idea when they render it, “You will surely die.”

Not only is
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He does this because it is very evident in the subsequent chapter that when Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, they did not immediately fall down and die. Instead we read in Genesis 5 how they continued to live what seems to have been long lives. We are not told this in the case of Eve, but we read of Adam living to an advanced old age of 930 years.

This brings us to the crux of our problem. It is a problem between promise and fulfillment. The promise from God was that eating would lead to death on that very day. The fulfillment as recorded in Genesis 3-5 sees physical death taking place only after a very long period of many hundreds of years. The question of how we are to reconcile the difference between the promise and the fulfillment has brought forth a variety of interpretations..

One can understand the temptation to explain away this seeming contradiction by reinterpreting the promise of death as referring only to spiritual death. But does this particular passage support or even allow such an interpretation? When we look into Genesis 4 and 5, each of the many references to death refer to physical death. Cain kills Abel and is subsequently afraid that someone will find him and kill him. Lamech kills a young man and writes a song to boast of the fact. Throughout the lengthy genealogy of Genesis 5, we hear the constant refrain, “And he died,” and we understand each of these references to speak of physical death. Nor does

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