© Jeff Stacey | Last updated: 1 July 2019
1A12. God’s warning to Adam and Eve:
When they did NOT obey God’s one requirement,
His gift of LIFE would be replaced immediately by death (both physical and spiritual)
1A12(title) God’s warning to Adam and Eve
God’s love had required that He give them freedom of choice. But His perfection required that His own “image and likeness” in the people must not be compromised in any way by them. Also, His power must not be misused. The whole of His creation showed that He had the power to do anything – even bring judgment upon the people if they disobeyed Him.
Clearly there was a stark contrast between the almost absolute freedoms of God’s gifts to Adam and Eve, and the absolute boundary He set for the use of them!
The utmost seriousness of NOT obeying God’s one requirement was indicated by His dire warning to Adam Gen 2:17b. It expressed the absoluteness of God’s nature – His power, perfection and love.
1A12(sub-title) When they did NOT obey God’s one requirement, His gift of LIFE would be replaced immediately by death (both physical and spiritual)
There could be no more extreme disaster for the people than to disobey God’s one requirement. The consequences of disobedience would involve the ultimate penalty. LIFE would be replaced by death! It was literally a matter of life and death for them, in every sense!
1A12(a) God warned that the penalty for disobedience would be immediate
The Hebrew word translated “when” (NIV) means “on that very day” Gen 2:17b. Death would be immediate! In other words, God’s “rules of the game” were simply “one strike and you’re out”! Only a single violation of God’s one requirement would abruptly end the “game”.
It would then be impossible for all of God’s creation to continue functioning as before. Its perfection would have been corrupted and LIFE lost by Adam and Eve.
1A12(b) Death would be both physical and spiritual
God did not make it clear to them that this “death” would be both physical and spiritual. All they needed to know was that total obedience to His one command was required. Immediate spiritual “death” only became apparent when they had disobeyed. It was the abrupt end of their interacting in a direct, intimate, fear-free relationship with God! Gen 3:7-11. Physical death would also follow although it was long delayed Gen 5:5.
1A12(c) God’s command as an expression of His love
Did God’s command even suggest that He expected or knew that Adam and Eve would disobey His one requirement? Did God already realise that the freedom He had given them would not be matched by their absolute commitment to Him? Perhaps He even saw that their wilful misuse of their God-given freedom of choice was inevitable?
Yet God’s love was extraordinarily hinted at by this command. He even had to allow the people the freedom not to reciprocate His love! This raised profound possibilities about future outcomes and even the accomplishing of God’s primary purpose.
So the crucial issue was whether they valued their relationship with God above everything else. Or even more to the point, to what extent did they value and were committed to God Himself? After all, God was making Himself known TO them. But what was going to be their response to Him?
But God went ahead anyway. His continuing commitment to them was not withdrawn. His love for them was unchanging.
1A11 -> 1A12
This arrow indicates the absolute accountability of Adam and Eve in using God’s gifts and fulfilling His roles for them.