Did God Lie to Adam?

God says in Genesis 2:17, “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 thou shalt surely die.”

Satan picks up on this statement, “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die.”

Satan was right! Satan knew something was “off” about that statement by God. Sure enough, the day they ate of the tree they did not die.

Now, let’s consider what is going on here, since we have liberty to do so! Here are some options:

1) God meant spiritual death; Satan meant physical death. If you’ve ever read the Gospel of John, Jesus is continually saying things about spiritual birth, spiritual water, spiritual bread and yet people hear physical stuff all the time. This is a constant point of confusion in Scripture–God being spiritually minded and humans being physically minded. I’m guessing Adam and Eve understood this as physical death, but then again, they might have been entirely clueless what “die” meant either way!

2) God changed His mind. It is possible that God was going to kill them right off after eating the forbidden fruit and then relented, being gracious as He is. Jonah thought of this when he refused to go to Nineveh. “I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.” God has changed His mind (repented) of judgment several times in the OT. Perhaps He meant immediate, physical death, but out of His grace He relented.

3) God lied. This is a poor choice, one I’d omit from the start. God doesn’t lie. Whatever is going on here, God is not lying.

4) “Die” meant “the process of death entered.” In other words, He meant, “in the day you eat of it you will begin to die.” The NIV, in it’s highly offensive habit of interpreting while “translating,” says “for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Making it sound like you will die because you ate of it, but not necessarily that day. The New Living Translation, one step below the NIV, says “If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” They will die because they ate from The Tree, this is true, but God certainly seems to be saying you will die that day you eat it.

I think the best option, and there may be others I am unaware of, is option one. God meant spiritual death and people/Satan heard physical death.

What we do know is that Satan used this point to cast doubt in Eve’s mind and it worked quite well. As a result of this doubt, Eve ate from the tree and death came.

The Bible is filled with tough words. Faith is what God is looking for and the only mindset that will allow you to understand what God is talking about. Some of the words divide between believers and unbelievers. Some of the words are to test believers to make sure they are genuine.

They aint all easy but I do believe that what has been revealed belongs to us and we need to do the work to find out what is going on.

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11 thoughts on “Did God Lie to Adam?”

  1. The phrase “spiritually dead” is not a biblical phrase, but it describes a biblical concept. I think Romans 6 says it–6:13–we are alive from the dead. 2 Corinthians 5:14-17; Ephesians 2:1-5; 5:14; Colossians 2:!3; 1 Peter 2:24.

    The Calvinist idea that being dead in sin means we can’t respond to God is a stretch and contradicts the whole point of the Gospel being declared at any point.

  2. Romans 6:2-12(leading up to vs. 13), 2 Cor. 5:14-17, and 1 Peter 2:24 are referring to death as dying to sin, not spiritual death. Eph. 2:1-5 says we are dead in our sins, but still does not say exactly what this means. Col. 2:13-15 speaks of our indebtedness, and sounds kind of like we are “dead mean walking,” on death row, so to speak. The verses around Eph. 5:14 are about walking in newness of life, as opposed to our old dead ways, which again is not explained, except that they are sinful.

  3. But in all those ideas is this: before salvation you did not have the Holy Spirit indwelling you, thus you had no spiritual life. You were spiritually dead. Upon salvation, we see ourselves united with Christ and raised up to new life, being spiritual born (John 3). Spiritual birth implies spiritual life and thus, you were spiritually dead before being spiritually born!

  4. Why does a man that is dead in his sin want God?
    What is this mans heart desire, God or sin?
    We were enemies of God before, so why would a enemy love God? Because while we were yet sinners Christ died for us!
    What is spiritual life and why is it that we can Choose God?
    We choose God when He gives us a new heart because we are dead, we have hearts of son. Yes we do choose God but not until He calls us.
    Why would a man choose God?
    These are the questions we need ask ourselves. Look at all the verses mentioned then ask yourselves, why would man choose God? Is it true that God choose us? Why would this be so offensive to me?
    Why do some choose God and others do not?

  5. The Bible says “Whosoever will may come” and that “whoever believes will not perish but have everlasting life.” The Bible says man can respond. The reason a fallen person wants to come to God is because he can see the fruitlessness of his actions and he can see the goodness of God and, according to the Bible can respond to the love of God on display in the Gospel.

    If man cannot respond then God is solely responsible for man’s salvation/condemnation. God, according to Ezekiel 33, does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked. He desires all men to repent and be saved. He wills/desires (the same word in the Greek) all men to be saved, The reason why some men are not is because they refuse God’s will.

    Refusing God’s will is what happens all the time down here, which is why the Lord’s prayer says to pray for God’s will to be done and why Jesus wept over Jerusalem because even though God desired/willed them to be saved, they would (a tense of “will”) not come.

    God is not to blame for man’s condemnation, which, although most Calvinist deny He is, their doctrine says He is and I think that is blasphemy and no matter how many times you try to convince me you’re right, I aint pickin up what you’re laying down!

  6. Jeff, i am not trying to prove I am right as much as I am pointing you back to your own post. You say “Ask questions”, but when when a reformed believer as a free will believer these questions they get mad, call people names, and shun them. I know I was this way until I started asking questions.
    I ask one more question, if God foreknew every person that would be saved and which ones would go to hell, why did he still create them? Even the free will believer believes in foreknowledge, don’t you have the same issue that you are accusing the reformed believer of having?

  7. I don’t recall getting mad or calling you names. I realized you were asking questions because of my post. That is fine. I don’t mind questions. It does get a little old when you keep asking the same question over and over for years and never hearing my answers. That is not exactly what my post was talking about.

    Predestination and election are both based on foreknowledge. We are never told what He foreknew. I find it very little trouble at all to see that God would create people and give them free will and be aware of how or what they would do with that choice. I find no trouble in that. I do find trouble in God being the one to blame for people’s salvation or condemnation, thus making all the appeals in the Bible to repent and believe a lie.

  8. It’s like this. I have a child who when excited tends to hurt people as they lose control of their body when they get ramped up. So I say, “Child, if you hurt your brother or sister I am going to take away your iPod.” Now, I know my child is inevitably going to do this again, so I wait for the child do hurt someone and then take away the iPod. THis is fair and just, I did what I said I would do when they did what I knew they were going to do.

    I did not, however, at any point, say “I’ll take away your iPod if you hurt your brother and sister” and then grab the child and throw her onto the brother and hurt him and then punish. Calvinism blames God for everything and then God punishes people for doing what God forced them to do by not giving them any choice. This is not justice and it blasphemes the name of God.

  9. I was not talking about you, just in general, but many that I have com in contact with from the free will side are this way. You still like to use the word Calvinist every time you talk about sovereignty when I think some people get hung up on Calvin and side step Gods sovereignty. It is never about Calvin but about what scripture teaches.
    I will ask the same questions because these are the questions that seem to be the ones that are always avoided and answered with a straw man answer. I hear your answers but when I weigh it against scripture it does not match up. I could say the same about you not hearing my answers. I stay silent most of the time on this post until I see where the other side to a post needs to be addressed. I just want the people that read this post to go to scripture and see which way is more biblical.
    You said it yourself, we should not stay in our own denomination circles. I ask myself all the time if I am being true to scripture is what I believe what scripture says. I am open to change if I am in the wrong but it must be scripture backed and that is why I study reformed theology.
    As far as someone blaming God for everything the Bible clearly says we are to blame for our sins but it also says that God ordains all things. If you think otherwise you will have to omit a lot of scripture. It is not what I feel or want to believe that determines scripture but scripture and scripture alone.
    You said the we were never told what God foreknew? Could you explain that? Is He not the the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. He is either Sovereign over all or nothing, sorry but scripture says it from the beginning to the end.
    He knew us before the beginning of time , He wrote our names down in the Book of Life before we were born, and He said He will not loose one of us. You may not agree but this truth is the greatest comfort that any believer can have. No matter how messed up we think things are He is in control of all,He is sovereign over all, to God be the glory! Take care Brother!

  10. One of the reasons why it may appear as though I don’t listen to your answers is because I don’t ask you any questions! I have blocked a number of Calvinists from this blog because they tend to constantly ask, ask, ask and never settle down and deal with anything. They turn every post into a launching point to argue about their Calvinism/Sovereign Grace/whatever-other-title-will-soon-become-the-wrong-one doctrines. When it turns into internet stalking, I boot them.

    You are correct in saying you moderate yourself, which I appreciate, and have allowed you to put your two cents in repeatedly on posts where I bring up the subject. I’m cool with that.

    I can say, with all absolute honesty, there is nothing you are going to say that I have not heard plenty of times already. I know the answers and they don’t cut it for me. I have never in my life tracked Calvinist/Sovereign Grace/whatever-other-title-will-soon-become-the-wrong-one blogs to argue with them or be “equal time.” I just don’t. I don’t even understand the mentality that does. If you believe the sovereignty of God meaning God makes all things happen, then give it a rest and trust Him!

    You can continue to put your two cents in, but I would request that you would agree to stop having the debate with me. State your point well and I will let it stand, but I am done with the debate. It’s old ground. We disagree. I’m ok with this. You should be too.

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