Humans did not die physically on the day they rebelled against God, so what happened?
Humans died in four ways.
- Separation from God was spiritual death. God did not need to change humans, but because humans were created to live in relationship with him, once he withdrew from them, they could only half function. Without God, they were no longer fully human, so in a sense they had died. The phrase “you shall surely die” can mean physical death (eg Genesis 5:5), but it can refer to estrangement from a life-giving relationship (eg Prov 12:28).
- Once they were shut of the garden, they lost access to the tree of life. Because they lost the opportunity for the resurrection of their bodies, they were stuck in permanent mortality. They would did physically, when they had been created for restriction to life.
- The spiritual powers of evil attacked Adam and Eve and disrupted their ability to perceive the spiritual. This allowed the powers of evil to hide from them, while they were attacking them. They could attack without being noticed. This change in perception also made it difficult for them to hear God speak.
- Adam and Evil placed themselves up to an evil spirit called Death. I will explain this in the next post.