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Genesis 1:26-31 (Part 3)
by Tom Phelps
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If no from of "death" (physical death) existed before the fall of man, then why did God give Adam & Eve the "Tree of Life" Genesis 2:9.

After the fall God says in Genesis 3:22 that "Adam" "mankind" must not be allowed to take from the "Tree of Life", and eat and live forever. Revelation 22:2 tells us the "Tree of Life" is for the "Healing" of the nations in God's new creation.

Apparently, "Adam, "Mankind" had to eat from the "Tree of Life" in order to live and not die "Physically". Scripture does not indicate that the "Tree of Life" was available to any other creature. Only "Adam" & Eve were allowed to eat from it.

God stopped them from eating it because He did not want them to live forever in their sinful state. God knew that it now became important to give mankind a limit on time otherwise wickedness could never be contained. "Physical" death now became important to eliminate wickedness.

Imagine for a moment some of the very wicked people who have lived throughout history. What if they would have lived forever? Their wickedness was stopped because God now limits our time here in this sinful state. Even though death is an enemy, "Physical" death is really a blessing in this sinful world. God knew these things of course.

The second law of thermodynamics or the law of entropy as it is also called says that everything has a natural tendency toward decay and disorder. It means that something has to die for this creation to function.

"Death" (Physical) sustains the life of every animal. Eating, which makes life possible, requires the death of some other living thing. When "Adam" & Eve ate, plants or plant parts died.

When "Adam" and Eve walked, some grass, plant, or micrscopic organism must have been destroyed or killed. We must not look at other forms of life the same way we do humans who are the only creatures created in "God's Image".

Some people assume that animals approach death the same way that humans do. We are the only creature to worry about what comes after this life therefore "Physical" death to us is extremely traumatic because of our spiritual nature. Animals may have instincts to survive, but they do not view death the way we do. Higher animals are soulish but they do not have a spirit.

Jesus ate fish and meat while on this earth. Jesus did not view animals on the same level as he did humans. He ate from His own creation. Is it hard to believe that he intended animals to eat other animals from the very beginning. This creation does not function properly without it.

In chapter 2:16-17 we will see that God said that every tree was good for food but the tree of the "knowledge of good and evil" was not. God said the day that he ate of it, he would surely die.

Eve told the serpent that they were not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or they would die.

"Adam" and Eve must have known what death was in order for them to understand what God was saying.
(Of course God was speaking of spiritual death because they died spiritually the "day" they ate of the tree) They only died physically because God banned them from the "Tree of Life".

Also notice God does not say that in the day you eat of it "every" living thing would surely die. God only told this to "Adam".

"Adam", "mankind", was the only creature to be made in the image of God and therefore the only creature to have the ability at this time to live forever by eating the "Tree of Life".

"Spiritual" death is the result of sin. Romans 5:12 speaks of "Spiritual death" came to all men because all sinned (for which physical death follows as a God bestowed blessing). Plants and non-human animals cannot sin and cannot die through sin. This sin nature was passed to all "humans".

We will discuss this subject in much more detail in Chapter 3.

Read more articles by Tom Phelps or search for other articles by topic below.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Judy Fulton 11 Jan 2002
Very good point about the plant life; something many of us have probably never thought about. I also appreciate your point about the caution to Adam being directed at man, not at all living creatures, although I don't completely agree here. While the fruit of the tree may die when we eat it, the tree still lives; and while vegetation may be smaller after some of it has been consumed, it continues to live and grow. I do agree with your point that the part that has been eaten dies, but the plants and trees themselves live on.

This also doesn't explain the carnivore/herbivore issue. Again, the text is quite plain that God only allowed animals to eat green vegetation before the fall, although the text throughout Genesis really doesn't make it clear when animals were allowed to eat meat instead of grasses, and I have always believed that since man has dominion over the animals, and was not allowed to eat meat until after the flood, that the animals were not released to eat meat until then as well.

I do love your point about "spiritual" versus "physical" death, and how the latter is a blessing to humans, but it makes me wonder why animals would have to die as well? God in His omnipotence could just have easily created everything without a need to eat, and could have set up all aspects of the physical world to continue eternally without any type of intervention. This gives me much to think and pray about, which to me says this part of the study did what it's supposed to do; make people meditate on the Word, and look to God for answers.


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