Beware the Foretaste of Fatality

September 27, 2013 at 10:53 am | Posted in The Fives | 8 Comments
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The first man lived a long time under a death sentence.

And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.

Genesis 5:5

When Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden by disobeying God and eating the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, he knew the consequences.

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, 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.

Genesis 2:16-17

So why did Adam not die that very day? Some Bible scholars believe that God withheld the execution of the death sentence out of pure mercy. Under this theory Adam may have received a nine-century reprieve. Others believe that when God said, “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” He was referring to the spiritual death into which all humanity is now born (“dead in trespasses and sins”), even though Adam might not have taken it that way at the time. Furthermore, “that day” Adam did die in a sense: His death was assured and he began to be subject to the aging process, disease, and fatal injuries. I fall into the latter category of commentators, being of the opinion that God did not “change His mind,” but, either way, God made sure that Adam (and Eve) no longer had access to the Tree of Life.

So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Genesis 3:24

Nobody relishes the thought of a trip to the doctor which culminates in the pronouncement, “You have X amount of time left to live.” Adam received a great gift of grace from God to have his execution delayed by hundreds and hundreds of years, but we have to wonder if he felt strong pangs of guilt and regret every time another human being around him bit the dust, so to speak.

We tend to think of our own mortality when we attend a funeral, see a hearse drive by, watch a tragic story on the evening news, or have a “close call” with a speeding semi truck. We might be better off, though, if we made a permanent mental connection with our death and its ultimate cause: sin. No person can be righteous enough in his or her own power to earn eternal life, but those who have already received this glorious gift from the Savior ought to think soberly about the connection between sin and death, and ought to strive to resist the temptation to sin.

Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates: That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.

Deuteronomy 11:18-21 (emphasis added)

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