Growing up, I was the kid who touched the hot waffle iron after being told, “Don’t touch the waffle iron. It’s hot.” Guess what? It was hot, it was blistering hot!
Touching the waffle iron that day was just the beginning of my misery. Not only did I burn my hand, but I got in trouble, too! My mom gave me two choices of discipline: get a spanking or go to my room and stay there all day. Sympathy was not even an option! She was furious at me.
I thought going to my room would be a piece of cake, but it was torture! So after my hand quit hurting, I devised a plan. I yelled from my room, “I’ve changed my mind. I’ll take a spanking,” but my mom didn’t budge, nor did she hesitate when she yelled back, “NO!”
I had a lot of time to think while I was “held up” in my room. Why did I touch that stinkin’ waffle iron? Why didn’t I take my mom’s word that it was hot?
My mom told me a lot of things growing up because she wanted to keep me from hurting myself or to stop an annoying habit. You know the kinds of things I’m talking about: Don’t cross your eyes or they will get stuck. Don’t eat apple seeds, or an apple tree will grow inside your stomach. Don’t light a firecracker in your hand to throw it, or you will blow off your hand! Well, after crossing my eyes a few times without permanent double vision, I soon found out my eyes wouldn’t stick. I also know that an apple tree won’t grow in your stomach if you eat a seed, but she did come close to being right when I lit a Black Cat firecracker, and it went off in my hand. Let’s just say, I am blessed to be typing with two hands, and it was a long time before I told her about that one!
God tells us things in the Bible to keep us from harm, too. The main difference between the things our parents say and what God says is everything God says is 100% true 100% of the time.
The first thing God told Adam after placing him in the Garden of Eden was to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God told Adam if he ate from the tree, “He would surely die.” (Genesis 2:17). I’d like to think I would have believed and obeyed God, but given my track record, I’m afraid I might have taken a bite of the fruit just like Eve did when the serpent told her, “You surely shall not die!”
Once they ate the fruit, they did die, just like God said they would, but how do we reconcile the fact that Adam and Eve ate from the tree and lived to tell about it?
Interpreters typically answer this question in one of three ways.
- Many note that Adam and Eve did die, though not immediately. The Hebrew phrase translated “in the day” in Genesis 2:17 is sometimes used to mean “for certain” (e.g., Exodus 10:28; 1 Kings 2:37, 42). So, Adam and Eve “certainly” died; it’s just that their death took place much later (Genesis 5:5). This view is also supported by Genesis 3:22, in which God determines to bar man from the tree of life to prevent him from living forever. Adam and Eve lost eternal life, were expelled from the Garden of Eden, and eventually experienced physical death.
- A way to view the warning of Genesis 2:17 is that “death” refers to spiritual death. When Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, they experienced a separation from God, a loss of relationship due to their sin. Their first actions after sinning were to cover themselves up and hide from God (Genesis 3:7-8). This alienation from the Source of Life can be viewed as spiritual death.
- Another approach understands that both physical and spiritual death were with the result of original sin. The moment Adam and Eve sinned against God, their souls were separated from God, and their bodies began to die. Their spiritual deadness and susceptibility to physical death have been passed on to all humanity (Romans 5:12).
Praise the Lord, He did not abandon Adam and Eve. He provided clothing for them (Genesis 3:21) and allowed them to have children (Genesis 4). He also promised “the seed of the woman” to crush the power of the serpent (Genesis 3:15). This promise was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, who defeated sin and death on the cross and provides abundant life now (John 10:10) and eternal life with God in heaven (John 3:16). As Romans 5:19 says, “For as by the one man’s [Adam’s] disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s [Jesus’] obedience the many will be made righteous.” (Insert from Got Questions.org)
Today, we are living on the other side of, “You will surely die!” We know God wasn’t kidding. God means what He says and says what He means, and every word that God says will come to pass!
We learn lessons the hard way and fail to show God that we love Him when we willingly choose to disobey Him for the Bible says, “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15
I never again touched a hot waffle iron or lit a Black Cat firecracker in my hand. I guess you could say I learned my lesson the hard way, but I could have avoided a lot of pain if I had loved and obeyed mom who was only trying to protect me from harm.
What’s funny now is that I’m a by-the-book gal. I spend my day with 24 PreKr’s that are not and all day long, I ask the same question over and over, “Why did you do that when I just told you not to?” I don’t know why I even bother to ask because if anyone knows the answer to that question, I do!