Because of sin man was separated from the tree of life in order that he might not physically eat of it and physically live for ever (Gen 3:22-23). However, it is abundantly clear that man did not physically die in the earth-day that he ate of the tree (Gen 5:5). We have attempted to gloss over that glaring fact by showing that sin separates from God and Adam was separated from God in the day that he ate the forbidden fruit. Of course it is true that being separated from God is a form of death (I Tim 5:6). However, the penalty for sin was “for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Gen 3:19) because “the wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23). Since man did NOT physically die in the earth-day that he sinned, and God had plainly cursed him with physical death on the day that he sinned as a result of his sin, then we have to explain how it is that Adam lived almost 1000 years after God cursed him to return to dirt, but he was to do so on the same day. The explanation is that God did not give His definition of “day” in Gen 2:17. Since Adam lived 930 years after his sin and did not physically return to dirt on the earth day that he sinned, Barnabas 15:4 shows that six days are 6000 years and a 1000 years is a day. God’s reference to “day” in Gen 2:a7 therefore must have been a God-day as Peter expresses it in II Pet 3:8, otherwise God lied, and that is impossible.
Adam Died Physically on the Day He Sinned
James wrote: God cursed woman for several reasons. He cursed her because He promised that in the day that she ate of the tree, she would surely die (Gen 2:17), and He kept His promise. She died before she was one day old where a day is a thousand years (II Pet 3:8). She died one week after Adam and was thus 930 (Gen 5:5) earth years old when she died according to extracanonical sources (Vita Adae et Evae 49:1) and was thus also less than one divine day in age when she died.
God also cursed her in her primary role of reproduction, for death had been decreed upon Adam (Gen 2:17). Therefore it was fitting that the woman’s role of bringing life into the world should be in pain.
A third reason for woman being cursed was that the woman’s pain in childbirth is a figure of what God is doing in this world. God brings forth His children through the labour of this earth (Isa 66:8), but it is through pain and suffering that they are brought forth. The suffering of woman in childbirth is a figure of the suffering God’s people undergo in this life before the new life is brought forth in the world to come (Heb 10:1). God promises that even though we travail in this life that He will provide strength to bring forth (Isa 66:9). God will bring forth His everlasting nation in its time (Isa 66:10-14). He will provide strength (II Thes 1:7-10) in the travail of the earth to bring forth the eternal peaceful nation (Isa 9:5-7) of God.
It is my understanding that the woman died the day she disobeyed. What is this “one day old” business? She had lived many days in the garden of Eden where she had eternal life, the life of God. She lost life (died) the day she sinned because that is when she was driven from the garden (separated, which is translated death) where she had access to life. God kept his promise exactly as was intended.
The physical death that came upon both man and woman had nothing to do with the death God promised, other than that the “life of God” obtained by eating of the “tree of life” was taken away and resulted in physical death due to aging.
James answers: Robert, you state that physical death has nothing to do with the death God promised in Gen 2:17. However, in I Cor 15:22 it states that in Adam all die (physically) and in Christ shall all be made alive, that is, resurrected from the dead. The big problem for men is not that God lives far away, but that man dies physically. Man could tolerate a world where God lives isolated above the heavens, but a situation where he physically dies goes beyond merely being removed from the presence of God. It causes man to be reduced to vanity (Ecc 1:2) and places him in the Devil’s prison of Hades (Lk 16:23, Acts 2:27). The fact of physical death therefore is a severe penalty in addition to being separated from God.
God is a just God. He stated the law and the penalty for breaking it in Gen 2:17. If, when the law is broken, the Judge administers not only what the law prescribes but goes well beyond that and administers additional severe punishment, is He then just? To ask it is to answer it. He obviously is not just in that case. Therefore, either physical death was inherent in the statement “ye shall surely die” or God was greviously unjust in causing man to return to the dust of the earth. Such a conclusion cannot be, therefore physical death was inherent in the punishment in Gen 2:17.