"THOU SHALT SURELY DIE!" (PART 2)

 

Eve was attracted by the appearance of the fruit of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Perhaps she was also attracted by the Serpent. Eve was deceived into believing what Satan had said to her, instead of trusting what God had told Adam concerning the immediate, long-term and eternal consequences which would result in partaking of the fruit. Many believe that Adam was in another part of the Garden but Scripture states clearly that he was actually with his wife (Gen. 3:6). God had told Adam that if he ate of the forbidden fruit he would surely die (Gen. 2:16,17). Satan countered by telling Eve she would not surely die if she ate of the fruit (see Gen. 3:1-5). These statements come from two separate and distinct sources: the God of Truth, and the father of lies. The declarations are as clearly and diametrically opposed as any two statements can be. One is saying what will happen and the other claims it will not happen. THIS is the starting point of what eventually formulates a person's spiritual beliefs: Did man surely die or did he not surely die? Does man have a free will to choose God or not? Will you believe what God has said or will you believe Satan's lie? The journey to believing truth or believing error, the true Gospel or a false gospel, starts right here! One way to judge whether a doctrine is true or not is to trace its origin as well as finding out what other doctrines it leads to. The lie that man is not spiritually dead clearly finds its roots in Satan and always directs a person to the lie that man can choose God from his own free will, which in turn, leads a person to believe that Christ's sacrificial death was for everyone and must be accepted by each individual’s free choice before it can become functional. Learning the truth about spiritual death is crucial for rightly believing that man is spiritually dead shows that he does not have a free will to choose God, and, therefore, the focus shifts completely away from man, and what he ‘must’ and 'can do', to God and what HE has done to save His people from their sins.

 

What so many people have failed to understand is the fact that God's warning that man would surely die if he ate of the forbidden fruit, was not restricted to his physical death but was first and foremost concerned with his spiritual state, his spiritual death. Ironically, this failure to see and understand is one of the evidences of spiritual death! All those who deny spiritual death are, like Eve, supporters and followers of the Satanic denial that spiritual death would occur. Eve did not believe it would happen and those who have followed in her footsteps ever since do not believe it did happen. Being blind to this foundational truth is very much a part of the curse of spiritual death, of being eternally separated from God. "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Cor. 15:22). To deny Adam's spiritual death is to deny the Christ Who makes His people alive. THE TWO TEACHINGS ARE INEXTRICABLY CONNECTED. Most do not argue the fact that man's dying, consequent upon his eating the fruit, was a warning from God to Adam which would involve his physical death. Excluding the Pelagianist, most are agreed that Adam's eating of the fruit brought physical death into his experience and that of every human being born since. This is, of course, what Scripture teaches. What God said would come has come: "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Rom. 5:12).

 

If both physical and spiritual death were covered by the one word, 'die', then Satan's denial that man would not surely die would not only have been a repudiation of spiritual death, but also of physical death! Now, no one in their right mind dares argue the fact that man dies physically. Except for the Scripturally illiterate, no one would even contemplate denying the fact man inherits physical corruption upon his very conception (see Psa. 51:5). Man's eventual, unavoidable and  complete separation from physical existence is denied by no sane person. BUT SATAN DID DENY IT!! When Satan made his counterstatement by saying man would not surely die, was Satan referring only to spiritual death? Not at all! Satan was also referring to physical death. Satan's denial primarily referred to man's spiritual death but also included further consequences such as man's physical death. There was no qualification in what Satan said. Satan did not modify his use of the word 'die' by saying man would die this way but would not die that way. Satan said that man would not die in any way, shape, form or fashion! Satan said that Death would not come AT ALL and that Adam and Eve would live eternally as gods knowing good and evil (Gen. 3:4,5). His statement was a direct attack upon, and denial of, what God had said, thereby calling God a liar. To deny spiritual death is to deny separation from the Life Source, God, and so includes within it the denial of physical death also. The Arminian has no defence to put before any court about man's not dying physically because it is an irrefutable obvious-to-all fact that physical death comes to all of us and is as a direct result of the Fall. Both physical death and spiritual death come because of man's being cut off, by sin, from the Source of Life.

 

According to her judgement, the basis of which was Satan's lie, Eve believed that she would not surely die. She reasoned within herself that the combination of the fruit looking harmless, in fact alluringly attractive, and that it must surely taste as good as it looked, judged it to be not only innocuous, but beneficial, thereby convincing herself that what Satan had told her was the truth, and as a consequence, calling God a liar in her thoughts and by her actions. She disregarded God's truth and believed Satan's lie. We are reminded "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Proverbs 14:12). This all seemed so right to Eve. She did not suddenly sprout horns and follow Satan's way because she believed it to be wrong but because she believed it to be right. This is precisely the case with people today. No one believes a thing because it is wrong but because they believe it to be right. But what they fail to realise is the unequivocal fact that their conviction and sincerity do not make what they believe right, nor do these things rightly justify their beliefs. Eve looked to just about everything in her decision making process as to whether she should eat of the fruit, but ignored the Words of God's warning. Thus, Eve was induced by the subtlety of the lies of Satan in conjunction with her own visual, sensual, appraisal of the Tree and its fruit. She was hooked by the promise of immediate gratification. She judged not righteous judgement, according to God's Word, but relied on the words of another and her physical senses which conspiringly told her 'how could Satan be wrong'.  

 

Eve made her own personal judgement call concerning the forbidden fruit, thereby forming her own opinion, her own truth, concerning it rather than simply trusting and believing what God had said about it. She believed Satan when he said that it was a tree that would not only open the eyes of her and her husband but would also make them both "...as gods, knowing good and evil" (Gen. 3:5). The sight of the fruit and the positive thoughts and feelings Satan’s words brought into her mind of the stupendous possibilities of what life would be like being as gods, combined with a covetousness for gain, engendered in Eve a total disregard of what God had said on the matter. "...when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death" (Jas. 1:15). Eve was blinded from the truth of God by the lie of Satan which promised her and her husband a death-free life as gods. This all collaborated in convincing Eve that partaking of the fruit would, far from bringing death, do nothing but benefit her and Adam. Not believing what God has said is the pinnacle of disobedience and the basis for all of man's trouble. The day of the Fall was the birth day of unbelief and death! Disbelieving God and judging things by one's own perception of understanding has been man's natural way of life ever since. Once you stray from God's simple Truth you stray from God and leave yourself open to deception and every false thing. Eve could have well done with the  Scripture  "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding" (Prov. 3:5).

 

Eve did not simply taste the fruit, she did not hesitantly nibble at it, but she willingly and freely ate of it. She then gave the fruit to Adam, who was there with her, convincing him to also eat of it. Notice how Satan did not even try to deceive the man (see 1 Tim. 2:14), to whom he spoke not a word directly yet knowing that Adam, being there with Eve (see Gen. 3:6), he used the woman's influence with her husband to draw him into disobedience. Satan's plan was always to get Adam to eat of the fruit and not merely Eve. Happy though he was, Satan could not have cared less as to whether or not Eve ate of the fruit for Adam was the federal head, the representative, of all mankind and not the woman (see 1 Tim. 2:13). Eve was convinced, and yet deceived into thinking, she was doing the right thing for herself and Adam and that she had chosen the right path for them both. Eve judged truth by appearance, how she felt about it, and by the word of another rather than the Word of God alone. She leaned on her own understanding rather than trusting in the Lord with all her heart. She listened to the words of another and not God. How wrong Eve was concerning eating, and what would follow her eating, of the fruit. 

 

Sin dictates that man does not need God, for man is God. This is what Satan essentially said to Eve, and this is precisely what Arminian free-willism fuelled by the lie that man is not spiritually dead to God, says to the world today. Satan believes he is God and so our satanic-like sinful natures dictate this exact same perverted principle to everyone: To rebel against God and go the way we think is right and to believe what we think is true. Every man is not only a law unto himself but a god unto himself. This is what sin is all about and there is not a sin on earth that is not rebellion against God. David, treating with disdain the commandment of God by sinning against Uriah and his wife, "...despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight..." (see 2 Samuel 12:9) said to God, "Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned..." (Psalms 51:4). "Sin, by definition in the Bible, is not wronging another person. It is assaulting the glory of God, rebelling against God. Sin, by definition, is a vertical phenomenon. These horizontal wrongs are horrible: murder, rape, the death of a baby that David elicits. That's horrible and wrong (and it's not wrong to call it sin). But the thing that makes it sin is its vertical dimension. It is disobeying God's law. It is denying that He satisfies your soul to keep you from needing to kill or rape. It is sin in that it is an assault on God's authority and His right to tell you what to do. What makes sin, sin, is its Godwardness."

 

The often invisibly and deceptively subtle ways of Satan, are seen in the fact that he has convinced billions that they have a sincere and genuine love for the true God, whilst they are actually rebelling against God and His Truth by the false doctrines they have embraced and abide in. SATAN'S DECEPTIVENESS IS SO SUBTLE SO AS TO CONVINCE A MAN THAT HE IS NOT DECEIVED, BY THE VERY THING HE IS DECEIVED BY. To believe that Satan's lie is God's Truth. There are literally layers of deception which Satan employs to virtually encase a man. To wrap him in a cocoon of lies, a virtual reality. Usually it is not a single lie alone which entraps a man for a lie is often attended by a string of accompanying lies which encircle a man in a world of deception. Satan's greatest deception is to convince a man that what he is saying is what God teaches in His Word. Satan's use of Scripture is notorious (see Matt. 4:1-11), and is always and only utilized so as to further his own agenda which is to deceive, steal, kill, destroy and ultimately exalt himself above God. Sometimes, Satan's lies sound truer than truth because they seem to be confirmed by the truth itself and because it makes perfect sense to the carnal, spiritually dead mind of man which is incapable of discerning the things of God, and, therefore, cannot properly take into account God's Word on a matter. Scripture says that Satan is the god of this world (see 2 Cor. 4:4 & Rev. 12:9). In other words, this world's god is Satan! That's how he deceives the whole world because the world follows him. The apostle John tells his brethren: "...we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness" (1 Jn. 5:19). Satan's deceiving the whole world is done by often presenting people with a false truth as their starting point upon which they base everything else i.e., false teachings of religion about who God is and of how He saves.

 

The right answer cannot be reached if one is using the wrong method. And, if one only knows the wrong method, or methods, and is ignorant of proper procedure, one will never and can never arrive at the truth. The old Vaudeville comedians Abbott and Costello came up with a comic routine that explains all this perfectly. Costello claimed that 13 multiplied by 7 equalled 28. Of this he was sincerely and vehemently convinced. To prove his claim he proceeded to write the number 13 on a blackboard and directly under the 3 wrote the number 7. Then, he multiplied the 3 by 7 which equalled 21 and promptly wrote that number down. Then he multiplied the 1 (from the number 13) by 7 which makes 7. He then wrote the number 7 directly under the 21. Adding the two his solution was 7 x 13 = 28. Far from being convinced with this, his partner, Abbott, in an attempt to reach the correct answer, told Costello to write down the number 13, seven times. After doing this Abbott began adding the column of  3's together: "3,6,9,12,15,18,21" after which Costello quickly joined in finishing off the count by adding the 1's to the 21: "22,23,24,25,26,27,28". Upon proving his calculation correct, to his own satisfaction, Costello walked away with not just one, but two ways he can prove that 7 multiplied by 13 equals 28. This is precisely the same way Satan confuses man and leads him astray. PRECLUDE THE TRUTH, AND ERROR MAKES SENSE. However, if something does not make Scriptural sense it is exposed as nothing but nonsense. Many get the answer wrong in spiritual matters because they have been deceived into accepting the wrong way to reach the true answer, and so always arrive at error. People follow false gods by believing lies about the True God, i.e., Who He is and how He saves. Their method of 'calculation' is all wrong, hence they never arrive at the acknowledging of the Truth of God. Man's believing lies instead of truth is due to his believing in the wrong method, or combination of methods, in reaching it. Witchcraft is the art of rebellion against God, "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft..." (1 Samuel 15:23). Our natural sinful/human tendency is to do what seems right in our eyes, and to believe what is right according to our judgement regardless of  how informed of the facts we may, or may not, be. The force of Satan's deception is demonstrated in his having convinced many who are sure they are Christians, but are not, that they follow the true God AND His Word who actually believe in what Satan teaches and who are propelled into his arms by their zealous yet  knowledge-less state. 7 x 13 DOES equal 28 in the minds of such people.

 

One of the most crucial elements to Satan's arsenal, in his fight against truth, is words. Satan, like a smart, yet deceptive lawyer, uses words by twisting them into shapes by which he deceives the whole world. The simple rule to remember is: God's Word is Truth. Anything which is not in accord with Truth, the Scriptures, is simply a Satanic version. If it does not make Scriptural sense it is nothing but nonsense and should be treated as such. Satan hides within the parameters of this corrupt world of illusion and delusion. And in this post-Modernist era words are used as mere semantic playthings for Satan and those who are opposed to their absolute meanings. He presents himself as an angel of light so he can spread his doctrinal cloak of darkness. Personal interpretation is fast becoming the new reality. The new absolute is not truth itself, but one's interpretation of it. Truth has become relative to what a person believes it to be and is no longer an absolute. The teaching that truth is relative appears on the surface to be people-friendly for it accommodates everyone. This is because, under its rule, no one is obliged to believe the absolute truth, for there is none according to this way of thinking, and so everyone is free to believe what they believe the truth to be. “The first clear statement of relativism came from the Sophist Protagoras (c. 490 - c. 420 BC), as quoted by Plato, ‘The way things appear to me, in that way they exist for me; and the way things appear to you, in that way they exist for you’ (Theaetetus 152a). Thus, however I see things, that is actually true -- for me. If you see things differently, then that is true -- for you. There is no separate or objective truth apart from how each individual happens to see things.” The problem with this devilish thinking is God’s Word is never to be interpreted by one’s private and preconceived notions of what it might be saying, but is to be solely understood by what God says it is saying. Notwithstanding this inescapable fact, even the Truth of God is treated with contempt and is said to be a relative thing. The new absolute in people's minds is no longer Truth itself but what a person believes the Truth of God to be. Such is the madness of spiritually dead men. Nobody's wrong if everybody's right. No one is wrong anymore, for the fact that man believes something to be true is the only evidence he requires to judge what he believes as truth. Man is his own god and needs no external God or His Truth. Man does what he wants to do and believes what he wants to believe for, in this phony world of make believe, man is the supreme being. This Humanistic/Satanic world view, energized by man's sinful nature, is rotten to the core and has only ever caused corruption, confusion and every evil thing. It has never led to anyone's salvation but has rather proven itself as, and ensured, man's destruction.

 

The following part of our study will provide ample evidence that will show man did indeed die spiritually, as well as physically, after eating the fruit. That what eventually would happen to Adam physically had instantly happened to him spiritually. God told Adam: "...of every tree of the Garden thou mayest freely eat: 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" (Gen. 2:16,17). The key word in the above two verses is without doubt the word ‘die’. A proper biblical understanding of the meaning of this word, will unlock any mystery this verse may hold for those who believe that die may not mean death at all but contain some hidden, or cryptic, connotation or mystical component. Of vital importance is that the reader resist every temptation that presents itself to him to believe that 'die' does not mean death in the spiritual sense, by arming himself with the fact that if it does not mean death in the spiritual sense then it COULD NOT POSSIBLY mean death in the physical sense either. Attempting to change the word die to mean anything but death will, as we shall see, prove quite problematic. God's warning to Adam involved much more than physical death. Of far greater, and more immediate, concern was the fact that he would die spiritually. God used the same word, die, to define precisely what would happen in both the physical and spiritual realm.

 

To allay any thought that perhaps die, in Genesis 2 does not mean die in the only obvious sense, the following succinct, biblical study of the word ‘die’ as used by God in His warning to Adam reveals it to mean precisely what it implies: ‘dead’, ‘to lose one’s life,’ ‘worthy of death,’ ‘destroy,’ ‘die,’ ‘kill,’ ‘slay very suddenly’. How clearer could the meaning of any word be? How could anyone in their right mind not see this, and why would any seek to oppose it? Any man's inability to see the blatantly obvious when it comes to the spiritual state of man, both before and after the Fall, lends powerful support to the existence, and is a compelling demonstration, of spiritual death. ONLY the spiritually dead could be deceived into not seeing the simplicity and clear teaching of the doctrinal and spiritual truth that man is spiritually dead to God, eternally separated because of sin. Man's having sinned immediately erected a wall of partition between him and God, making contact impossible (see Isa. 59:2). To come from reading these two Scriptures from Genesis 2 and conclude that die means sickness or being unwell, or to further and unnecessarily confuse the issue by concluding that die here has a dual meaning to it, of man being utterly and irreversibly separated from physical life but nothing so harsh when it comes to spiritual life, i.e., his connection with God, is actually quite laughable. If it were not such a deadly serious matter, my entire response to a person's claim that man is not spiritually dead would be nothing but hysterical laughter. Man's believing that he is not spiritually dead displays an extreme naiveté that can only exist because of the very thing that is being denied, and it all started with Satan's original, God-contradicting lie that man would not die. Billions, today, still believe that lie and, ironically, they believe it not in the name of Satan but in the name of God: the very One Who said man would surely die!!  Such is the deceptive power of Satan who deceiveth the whole world.

 

It is actually quite a disturbing experience to look into a person's eyes who truly believes that man is not spiritually dead and that he can choose God at anytime. Spiritual blindness is the immediate and perceptible result of spiritual death. It is the inability to discern what is the Truth of God (1 Cor. 2:14; cf. Jn. 14:17). Not being able to recognise the Truth of God, spiritually dead man simply cannot come to terms with, and so denies, its veracity and thus ignorantly continues on his path to destruction all the while locked in an embrace with that which he only believes is true. To quell any thought, to immediately dispel any suggestion that the word die, in the spiritual sense, may mean something other than death, utter and eternal separation and alienation from God, in other passages of the Bible and thus be viewed by some as justification to cast reasonable doubt on the actual meaning of it here in Genesis 2, we reveal, without a moment's hesitation and without fear of contradiction, that in all 321 verses of Scripture where the word die is used in both Old and New Testaments, ALL speak of death! Not a single verse in all of Scripture where the word die, or any of its directly related forms (more on this later), is used, does the word mean anything other than death. NOT ONCE does die ever refer to merely a state of temporary sickness, or of being unwell which would imply some hope of recovery, which is the baseless, indefensible definition given by those who hold to the doctrine of free will. One would think there would be something for those who do not believe in man's spiritual death to hang their hat on, as it were, but there is quite literally nothing. Not one Scripture to which they can refer which can lend any credence to their proposition.

 

The Fall of Man, his disobedience to God, which resulted in man's physical and spiritual death, has not left man in any kind of self-help situation. On the contrary, death has left man in a state of total spiritual helplessness and, therefore, hopelessness for he is now without God. By nature man lives his life "...according to the course of this world..." (Eph. 2:2; 5:8). The word course here means "a period of indefinite duration". "The force attaching to the word is not so much that of the actual length of a period, but that of a period marked by spiritual or moral characteristics."  This is man's natural state before God, a creature that walks according to the ways of Satan himself and which is enmeshed in the "customs, manner and way of life" of all those who are children of Wrath. "...the whole world lieth in wickedness" (1 Jn. 5:19). It has been so since the Fall of man and this period will continue to the end of time. No man by nature seeks God but lives according to "...the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind..." (Eph. 2:3). By nature man is not a child of God, of His love, but is a child of God's Wrath. This is yet more evidence of his separation from God for no man, by nature, is loved by God. Man, by nature, is "...DEAD in trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1). "Not only dead in Adam, in whom they sinned, being their federal head and representative; and in a legal sense, the sentence of condemnation and death having passed upon them; but in a moral sense, through original sin, and their own actual transgressions: which death lies in a separation from God, Father, Son, and Spirit, such are without God, and are alienated from the life of God, and they are without Christ, Who is the Author and Giver of Life, and they are sensual, not having the Spirit, who is the Spirit of life; and in a deformation of the image of God, such are dead as to their understandings, wills, and affections, with respect to spiritual things, and as to their capacity to do anything that is spiritually good; and in a loss of original righteousness; and in a privation of the sense of sin and misery; and in a servitude to sin, Satan, and the world: hence it appears, that man must be in himself unacceptable to God, infectious and hurtful to his fellow creatures, and incapable of helping himself: so it was usual with the Jews to call a wicked and ignorant man, a dead man; they say,  'there is no death like that of those that transgress the words of the law, who are called, (Mytm) , 'dead men', and therefore the Scripture says, 'turn and live'. And again  'no man is called a living man, but he who is in the way of truth in this world. And a wicked man who does not go in the way of truth, is called, (tm) , 'a dead man'. And once more `whoever is without wisdom, lo, he is (tmk) , 'as a dead man'.”

 

The Fall has left all mankind without God. Scripture says that man in his naturally, spiritually dead state is "...WITHOUT CHRIST...having NO HOPE, and WITHOUT GOD in the world" (Eph. 2:12). Can anyone believe that in light of these crystal clear Scriptures the Arminian stubbornly retorts with childlike insistence that man was not left helpless after the Fall! Biblical reality, however, declares that Man is not in a situation of which he can do anything to ever get out of, physically or spiritually, however much his humanist thinking assures him he can. Man is dead spiritually and will die physically and there isn't a thing he can do about it. Man would have to obey the law of God perfectly to escape the curse of God which is upon him. Seeing that no man can even obey one law perfectly, man is left with no avenue of escape (see Gal. 3:10,11; cf. Jas. 2:10). Just as no man can halt the process of decay in his body and avert the inevitability of physical death, so too, no man can reverse, or do anything about, any aspect of his state of spiritual death and separation from God, or in some way revive his spiritual life, for Man is dead in sin and dead to God. Only by the life-regenerating power of God can a man be salvaged from his spiritually shipwrecked, and God-less life.

 

There is no Scripture at all which will support the notion that man is not dead in, and because of, sin. No Scripture at all which any man can find any hope in that will assure him that he is not without God or utterly without hope of even reaching out to the true God. Scripture teaches that the only way for a man to come out of his spiritually dead state is for him to be made ALIVE. Much more on this later. No Scripture can be found, for no Scripture exists, that even remotely suggests there remained even the slightest remnant, or spark, of spiritual life in man after he sinned in the Garden. Why do you think the Lord used such an absolute ‘game over-end of argument’ word such as DIE in His warning to Adam? No better word could have been used than die. No word could have been utilised to better express what would happen to man if he ate of the forbidden fruit, than the life ending word die. Any word other than die would have legitimately allowed room for hope and reason to believe that man did not die spiritually which in turn would have led man to believe that he was not separated from God and so could, by his own free will, do something to re-attach himself to God. That he could in some way free himself from the cobwebs of  his fallen state to once again be in full communication and unity with God. But the 'spanner in the works' to all this is the word DIE! The explicit, and quite categorical, word die was specifically selected and used with surgical precision by God to clearly express and convey the truth about the condition man would be left in, both physically and spiritually, if he disobeyed God.

 

In order for God to show man that he needed a Savior, He had to make it clear that man's original sin would not only introduce physical death to him, but of far greater significance, spiritual death. God had to use a word which would clearly express the full and far reaching consequences of man's disobedience. A word which would leave no room for hope and no way of escape. There was no other word, there was no better word which could do this other than the word die. Again, what God meant for man's physical being He meant for his spiritual state also: DEATH! Death would not only leave man utterly separated from God but Adam's sin of unbelief and disobedience would leave him WITH NO DESIRE FOR THE TRUE GOD! The first thing Adam and Eve did after attempting to clothe their shame was to hide themselves from God. They wanted nothing whatsoever to do with Him EVER again! If God had not come to them they would never have sought out God of their own volition. "And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the Garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the Presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the Garden" (Gen. 3:8). Neither Adam or Eve went out seeking God after they'd sinned. Nor did they cry out to Him to forgive them and save them. No indeed, but rather Adam and Eve's now sinful state dictated that the natural and instinctive thing to do was to flee from God. And this is the seed which is now in every man by nature! MAN IS NOT A NEUTRAL CREATURE. No man stands unaffected by his relationship with God. Either a man is saved by God or dead to God. No man's existence can ever be outside of the context of his relationship to God. Either he believes and has the true God, or he does not believe and either stands alone or with his imaginary false gods. Man's fire for God, his desire for Him, has been forever extinguished by man's sin. God's words to Adam in Genesis 2 were a dire warning, and God's use of the word die is the clearest description, of what would, and did, occur in the day that Adam ate of the forbidden fruit: Man would be surrounded by death and eternally separated from God.

 

No word expresses finality and complete loss of all hope better than the word die. The word die does not mean a mere reduction in the standard of life, nor can it be rightly construed to imply that man has in some way become retarded, partially limited, or handicapped as a result of Adam's sin, but it denotes the total absence of, and separation from, life. Without God there is only death. Death is the presence of the absence of life. Physical death does not partially limit, retard or hinder, it is an utter cessation of all activity and desire. So too, spiritual death has not placed man in a state of spiritual retardation but in one of lifeless inactivity, due to a complete incapability, a permanent inability, not only to perform any action concerning the true God, but to even desire to. Like the physically dead have no will, the spiritually dead also have NO will in terms of their choosing the true God for they have no desire towards Him. They are completely alienated from God. The word alienated as found in Ephesians 4:18 and Colossians 1:21 means 'to be shut out from one's fellowship and intimacy, to be a non-participant'. Spiritual alienation from God means no intimacy or any fellowship at all with God. It is to be shut out from any access to God thus ending any and all participation with Him. Man is not in a state of spiritual deceleration but has been comprehensively brought to a standstill, halted by sin and utterly irreparable.

 

Die is the sort of word of which no one really needs any instruction in order to understand its meaning. It is a word which immediately brings to mind such phrases as, no hope left, all is lost, you can stop praying now, etc. It is as simple as, where there is death there is no life and where there is life there is no death. You cannot have one if you have the other. No one can be alive and dead at the same time nor can a man be partially alive and partially dead. Significantly, neither can anyone be made alive if they are already alive. Sinners needing to be made alive by God is at once an immediate and clear reference to their current state of death. A man can be unwell yet still alive but no one can be dead and still alive. No man can be dead and yet still have even a microcosm of life remaining in him. Man is either in one state or the other. As the old saying goes, ‘Where there’s life there’s hope'.  It is equally true to say, ‘Where there is no life there is no hope’, and this is precisely what is meant in Ephesians 2 when Paul the apostle describes man's post-Fall condition as: "...having no hope, and without God in the world". This verse covers every source of hope that could possibly exist: hope within man, hope in other men, hope in the Savior Jesus Christ and hope in God. Man has no hope within himself, nothing he can do, that can rescue him from his spiritually dead state. He cannot make up for his sin nor establish a righteousness acceptable to God. The Scripture does not merely say that man is without hope but refers to man having no hope. Man's state of hopelessness is a perpetual and eternal thing. It is a state of constant and continual hopelessness. Man is not temporarily without hope but eternally hopeless. The natural man is without hope FOREVER. If no man has any hope within him then it is of a certainty that if no man can help himself he also cannot be helped by any fellow man. For what hope is there of help in, or from, a hopeless man. The only hope remaining is God. But Scripture says that man is also without the Messiah and eternally without God in this world. That man in his natural state is not a child of God who is loved by the Father, but is in fact a child of God's Wrath for he is without God in this world. What a terrible and deplorable and appalling state man is in, who once lived in perfect harmony and unity with God in a Garden of Paradise, but whom the Scriptures now describe "...is a worm" (Job 25:6).

 

Whilst man is physically alive this in no way qualifies or implies that he is in any way spiritually alive. If you are without God you are eternally without God, and, therefore, you are eternally without hope. If you are without God then you do not have God and therefore cannot be a believer in the True God of the True Gospel. To be without God is to be without His love, grace and mercy forever. To be without God is to be without hope is to be without ANY help. Man is utterly bereft of God. Perhaps the best explanation of man's being dead to God is that man is DEPRIVED of God. God has withdrawn Himself from man. As without life there is only death, so too, without God there is only death. You cannot be said to be dead if there remains in you even a spark of life. You cannot be dead in sin, in total disconnect from God, if there remains even the slightest desire to want the true God. Man does have a desire for a supreme being. Much of mankind believes in the existence of a supreme being but none know, by nature, or seek after the True God. Desire for the true God would be a sign that there remained some lingering connection with God. Therefore, God would have had no right to say man would die if after man sinned he would still possess some degree of spiritual life and, therefore, some hope. God would rightly be accused of an improper use of the word 'die'  if after eating the fruit there would remain the faintest hint of spiritual life, some form of connection, of togetherness, of unity with God. But, as is seen in the actions of Adam and Eve immediately after the Fall (see Gen.3:7,8), nothing of the kind exists because man is utterly dead in sin for he is altogether dead to God.

 

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