O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

What was Adam's death?

Adam was promised the death for eating from the Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil. What kind of death was it?

Some say this death was physical death. Some say this death was spiritual death. And some say this death was spiritual death followed by physical death 900-some years later.

Physical Death:

Some believe Adam was created immortal, that, had Adam not sinned, he would never die. Does this make any sense?

Before Adam sinned, he had to eat to live.

Adam was told to name the animals. He named the lion "does violence" and the hawk, "tears flesh." (Those who will protest this need to consider that their argument also applies to naming the woman.)

Some will claim that Eden had different physics. That Eden was safe. Yet, several places, we are told, were like Eden, or like the garden in Eden. Genesis 13:10. Eden was in our physical world.

And Adam lived some 900 years after he sinned. We have a saying, "Justice delayed is Justice denied." Or as Solomon wrote, "Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil." Ec. 8:11. Dying 900-some years after the event is not punishment for his crime.

If physical death was God's intended punishment, then the serpent was correct when he said, "You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." When they ate, "the eyes of both of them were opened." If physical death was Adam's death, then the serpent told the truth and God was the liar. But the serpent was the liar and God told the truth. Adam died, the type of death God intended, in the day he ate. That death was not physical death.

Spiritual Death:

For those who say spiritual death, what is this spiritual death they talk about? A common answer is, "Separation from God." What is that?

Was Abel separated from God? Abel appeared to have a fine relation with God, until his brother killed him. "Enoch walked with God." Was he separated from God? "Noah was a just man, perfect in his accounts. Noah walked with God." Was Noah separated from God? They were all dead in Adam, for Romans 5:14 tells us, "Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned [as Adam had sinned], ..."

What really drives this idea of "spiritual death" is the interpretation that "natural" (in 1 Cor. 15:44-46) means "physical" and "spiritual" means "non-physical." (And because of this confusion, "non-physical" often means "other physical.") Adam's death wasn't physical death, therefore, it must have been non-physical death. That tells us what Adam's death isn't, not what it is or was.

Adam's death was not "separation from God." Spiritual death provides no answer to the question, What was Adam's death?"

What was Adam's Death?

To understand Adam's death, we need to look at what Adam was given, what was taken away, and what Christ restored.

1. Luke 3:38 tells us that Adam was a son of God. As Jesus was the only begotten Son, this suggests that Adam was adopted.

With that Adam was given all the things a rich man would have been expected to provide an adopted son:

2. The image of the Father.

3. The breath of life.

4. Land and wealth.

5. Work to do.

6. And a wife.

And how do we know these were lost?

1. The sons of the son are also sons of the father. Adoption into Christ is one of the themes of the New Testament. Adoption would not be needed, unless somewhere along the line, they ceased being sons. Adam's death in Genesis 3 fits.

2. In Genesis 5:3, Seth was in the image of Adam, not the image of God. The son was in the image of the father. In the New Testament, Jesus was in the image of God and we are to be conformed to that image. Without Christ, we don't have the image. Somewhere the image was lost.

(A whole theology has developed concerning the image of God. This theology is not based on Scripture, but is based on the assumption that all humans have the image and animals don't. I prefer to use Scripture, not vain philosophy to determine what Scripture means.)

3. In John 20:22, we see Jesus giving the disciples, the breath of life. Theologians have argued that the breath of life is what gives physical/biological life to all living creatures. But is that what it really means? Scripture also has God's breath. Is Scripture physically alive? God's breath doesn't give physical/biological life. It gives some other sort of life.

In Polynesian cultures, when a child is born, the father breathes the breath of life into his child. Literally he blows in the baby's face. Does this have physical significance? No. It is a declaration by the father that the child is his. When God gives the breath, He is showing what is His.

4. When Adam was thrown out of the garden, his land and wealth were given to another. In Rev. 20-21, we are given a city with streets of gold. The wealth is restored in Christ.

5. Adam's work increased. Is. 65:23 shows what this increase was. Adam became a servant. He was no longer working for himself. Eve was no longer producing sons of God. Instead Adam was working for his Master and Eve was producing more servants. In the New Heaven and New Earth this would be restored back to how it was in the garden,

6. Adam got to keep his wife. But she also lost everything and became a servant.

Adam lost all those things. Christ restored them.

The son was dead. The son became a servant. This was Adam's death.

Adam's death, on the day he ate, was not physical death. It wasn't spiritual death. God's adopted son, lost his adoption and became a servant. Those "in Adam," from that point forward were servants of God. Those "in Christ," are sons of God.

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Comment by Doug on January 17, 2018 at 4:53pm

Adam's death, like ours, was, and is, sin.

The soul that sins, it shall die.

Sin is death, forgiveness of sin is life.


Comment by Doug on February 2, 2018 at 11:49am

I want to expand on what I posted earlier...

The Eastern orthodox churches are not handicapped by their knowledge of Koinos Greek, as we generally are in the Western churches. This is shown clearly by the Eastern concept of original sin.

Western theology, mostly influenced by Catholic theology, says that sin in inborn into you, and until you die, you are cursed by this "sin nature" that can only be overcome by penance. In other words, there is no intrinsic goodness in the human soul. We are all bad and need Christ to become "good" or righteous.

That idea pervades all we do and our paradigms about the nature of our existence before God.

On the other hand, Eastern orthodox claims that the incorrect interpretation and translation of the scriptures has led the West into thinking that we are born into sin and sin is somehow mystically inherited from Adam into our mortal bodies.

They believe that sin is a choice which starts when a person has reached "accountability" whatever that time may be. I am one who believes this also.

Regardless of your position on this, the atonement of Christ is still applicable. But it has all kinds of repercussions in how you conduct your life. For example, if you believe "the devil made me do it", you can excuse yourself as being a victim of the world. But if you believe that YOU made a bad choice, and that YOU (not Adam's fall) made you sin, then you are also the one who receives the atonement gladly. I might even say that you are more likely to not sin again, since you took the personal responsibility for YOUR sin.

I find it personally offensive that most evangelicals keep citing "the devil" when talking about how one is to resist sin. It is all too easy to do that, since then you are at least one step removed from personal responsibility, because of "the devil". Just yesterday on Christian radio, I heard a prominent evangelist say that the devil "keeps track of all your sins and keeps reminding you of them" in order to discourage you and pull you away from Christ.

But because I am already resurrected from sin, I can die no more. I am safe and secure in Christ, and blaming my sin on this "devil" or "satan" really takes away not only some of my personal responsibility, but also limits my ability to truly repent, because perhaps, in some future scenario, I might get tempted by satan, because, of course, original sin is part of my DNA! That's nonsense, of course, but we ought to examine ourselves and see if we have this faulty concept of original sin, and deal with it.

As a preterist, I believe satan, or the devil, has been dealt with and no longer exists (at least in the sense that he and his demons have zero influence in the world because they are chained and in the bottomless pit) You may have a different concept of the fate of this devil, and my even have a different concept of what he was or is. Nevertheless, sin is death, and forgiveness of sin is eternal life. But it is appointed for man once to die (to live in sin can also be included in this definition of death) but after the death comes the judgment. If we have been judged as righteous, then we no longer have the right to go back to sin and die anew. Our life is in Christ, and our sins are hidden in Him because we have eternal life, and it doesn't ping-pong between life and death every time we commit a sin. We have the atonement to "cover" and blot out our transgressions. That is why we pray daily "Forgive us our debts", because though we are in a state of life (forgiveness imputed to us), we do owe to God righteousness borne out of the Spirit of Christ in us. When we fall short of that, we are indeed sorry and wish God to restore us to fellowship. 

Your comments, of course are welcome. I continually grow by hearing by brothers and sisters and how God is speaking to them.


Comment by JL Vaughn on February 3, 2018 at 12:45pm

Every good.  Thanks.

Comment by Doug on March 15, 2018 at 4:21pm


I would appreciate any expanded comments you have on my post. I greatly respect your perspective on things.

Comment by JL Vaughn on March 17, 2018 at 1:45am


In my blog,, I argue that sin existed before Genesis 1, that God recognized men's sin in Genesis 1:2.  If we have a "sin nature," it is not Adam's fault.  It is older than Genesis 3.

I'm not sure how all that works, but the Roman Catholic way doesn't.

Comment by Doug on April 20, 2018 at 7:49pm


I have a different take on Genesis 1:3. The Tohu and Bohu words connote chaos. Yes, sin creates chaos, but is not the chaos itself. Sin is literally "missing the mark" What mark? Godly Righteousness.

Of course, that can't be achieved with man's effort, therefore, anything short of Godly Righteousness is inherently sin.

To me, this means that the tohu and bohu was the chaos that reigns naturally as anything that is short of the Godhead. Only God can provide order and sinlessness, and that can only be achieved by being hidden in Christ. 

When the earth "was without form and void", it was simply man living as man must, being in a state of futility. But, when sin was revealed by God as being sin, man became without excuse. Only then did man become a sinner. Without law there is no sin!

I'm sure you will agree that Adam was the first man that God adopted. In other words, there were other, physical men who could have been this one special person to whom God imparted His knowledge. But Adam was intended to be a set apart being who would begin the process of multiplying the sons of God on earth. It started in Eden and was intended to go out from there, remaking the knowledge of God on the earth. In essence, establishing God's kingdom on earth through the adopted sons of God, Adam and Eve.

Adam failed this job, Jesus didn't. Jesus is now the king of kings, and rules His kingdom "on earth as it is in heaven"

Comment by JL Vaughn on April 20, 2018 at 8:00pm

Doug,  "When the earth "was without form and void", it was simply man living as man must."  Agreed.

"being in a state of futility."  I've got to disagree here.  "Futility" is a "Bible" word for Adam's death.  See Don Preston's 1 Cor. series, around numbers 230-240.

Comment by Eohn Rhodes on May 1, 2018 at 9:48am

I hesitate to post these questions, but I have been thinking about them for years. "The soul that sins will die" is addressed to fathers and sons in the land of Israel (Adams). Did the 4 living and blessed souls created prior to the soul of human also sin against their covenant life; enough to die prior to the two resurrections? In the reversal, the Human (eschaton Adam) is first in the new creation and then the 4 animal souls (gentiles) enter the human covenant. Are all covenant creations kept clean today because the faithful husbandman sanctifies the children who are born into the general humanity of His kingdom? Is there only one living soul being blessed today? My wife and I are believers (new covenant Adams upgraded in Yeshua) but our children, sanctified and humanised as they were, also had to be born from above, even though they were born into our marriage; a blessed and living soul creation; a covenant life. Do all living souls today die and perish unless born from above? Even nations that reject humanity (the living soul) continue to die like disobedient children until they turn around and revive in the humanity of the kingdom. In Romans, the transition humans were told to submit to the human creations (Christians submitting to humanity). Looking for more clarity. Any thoughts will be appreciated. Hopefully these questions aren't too rude or misplaced.

Comment by JL Vaughn on May 1, 2018 at 11:02am


I'm not sure I understand your questions.  Do you have a reference for the 4 living and blessed souls?  I do remember, from a study Jerel Kratt shared years ago, that soul was a tricky concept that we've made a mess of.  I recommend you discuss it with him.



Comment by JL Vaughn on May 1, 2018 at 4:19pm

Eohn, Here's Jerel's stuff on the soul.


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