Friday, September 21, 2007

The Death of Adam

The Death of Adam
God created Adam and Eve good, and the garden on the 6th day (Gen. 2:7-25). Though Adam and Eve sinned but Adam seemed to be held more accountable that it is considered his sin (Rom 5:12-21; I Cor 15:21-22). Eve was deceived by the serpent but Adam sinned knowingly (2 Cor 11:3; I Tim 2:14). Secondly, the command not to eat of the tree was given to Adam before Eve was created (Gen 2:15-17, 22). After they sinned, God drove them from the garden. That is what we call spiritual death: the spiritual separation from God. It is different from eternal death because with the latter there is no room for repentance whereas with the former, “if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved (Rom 10:9). Meanwhile, physical death limits itself to the departure of the breath from man rendering the body of man lifeless.
A day and a half before Adam fell, God told him “for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen 2:17). “The usage you will surely die occurs twelve other times in the Old Testament and always refers to punishment for sin or untimely death as punishment”[1] Gerhardus Vos underscores the same theory when he says “Gen 2:17 proves that the sense of threatening was not sin will cause you to die; but simply sin will subject thee to instantaneous, premature death: ‘in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die’.”[2] Thenceforth, “it is appointed unto men to die once and after that judgment” (Heb 9:27). We all know that one day we shall die whether we like it or not.
The human being has not denied the presence of death but has sought out its own interpretation whereby it is considered as a tunnel that leads to another life or city. Man is the only creature known to bury its dead because he considers burial as a rite of passage into another life. The belief that human beings could live again has influenced the way many of us live, think, and the way we feel. The reason why there are funerals and mortuary rituals among every people on earth.
Myths about death exist in every society; to some death is a natural end of life, while to others it is a time God takes people to be with him. We have the tale about why death came into the world in our traditions. It was said that the dog and the tortoise were commissioned to carry a message of life and death. The first person to reach first will have his message established as the rule. The dog bore the message of life while the tortoise had that of death. On their way the dog found some bones and decided to remain there to eat. The tortoise came and passed him with the message of death. Before the dog could reach the tortoise had arrived and delivered its message and from that day death entered into the world. How then did death enter into the world? The Bible unequivocally answers this question (Rom 5:12). So then did Adam die immediately he sinned? If not what happened. This brings us to the types of death.
There are two types of death; physical death and spiritual death. Death is so subtle and elusive that there has not been even a clear cut definition. However, we coined out a definition basing on the types of death. Physical death means the cessation of life while spiritual death, is separation from God. There are also different kinds of physical death. There is what we call natural and unnatural deaths. Natural death is when a person dies of natural causes while anything out of that realm is considered unnatural like accidents, zombies, famlas, or cases where the ground opens and swallows people up like the Korah Incident Num. 16:1-50.
When God created, Adam and Eve there was no death. They were to remain immortal. When they sinned against God the spirit of God that would have made them immortal left them and they became mortal. They took a corruptible body that could die. And since we came from Adam and Eve we inherit their nature- the sinful and therefore deadly body. Yet though the general and unique source of death is sin there are different causes of death. Some people die from hunger, diseases, wars, executions while others kill themselves. In short what nature leaves undone humans complete it. As a result we all are seeing that no mortal can immortalize the mortals. We are left with the fear of unknown or death especially. The Bible again as if to informed us well underscores it this way (Eccl. 3:1-2).
In Genesis 5 verse 1-32 there is a serious issue evoked. From Adam to Noah there are ten generations mentioned. All of them except one ended with a similar note “and he died”. Curiously, the one that did not bare that epitaph read “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” (Gen 5:24).Methuselah lived for 969 years symbolizing people who live all their age or whole life who really get old.. Lamech lived for 777 years symbolizing a perfect life. What the French call Mille a l’heure. While Enoch lived for 365 years which is symbolic of 365 days which make up a year to indicate that though he neither lived long nor with much life as we say it yet he did the most important to walk with God every day of his life. That was what mattered to God. So God felt that Enoch was too good to live on earth because the better place for him would have been heaven.
Death seems to be victorious each time someone dies. Death has a sting called sin (I Cor. 15:55-57). This is what kills people. Sin has this power because of the law which states that, anyone who sins must die. When Jesus died on the cross of Calvary, he took away our sin thereby fulfilling the law on our behalf. He took our place. Jesus then rose up after the third day and ascended into heaven after the 40th day. If we want to live eternally we have to believe in him so that the Holy Spirit comes and gives us a new spirit that will enable us to change our mortal bodies into immortal ones when the last day comes.

Until then, your turn to die is coming so prepare to meet your maker.

Prince & PA Hamilton Ayuk
[1] Stanley M. Horton, Systematic Theology. Logion Press, Springfield Missouri 1998, p. 261.

[2] Gerhadus Vos, Biblical Theology- Old and New Testaments. The Banner of Truth Trust, Finland, 1996, p. 37.

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