IT WAS not God’s purpose for humans to die. Our first parents, Adam and Eve, were created perfect in mind and body; they could have been alive today. This is clear from what Jehovah said to Adam concerning a certain tree that grew in the garden of Eden.
“In the day you eat from [the tree],” God told Adam, “you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:17) That command would have made no sense if Adam was meant to grow old and die anyway. Adam knew that if he did not eat from the tree, he would not die.
IT WAS NOT GOD’S PURPOSE FOR HUMANS TO DIE
Adam and Eve did not need to eat from that tree to sustain their life—there were many fruit-bearing trees in the garden. (Genesis 2:9) By not eating from the tree, the first couple would have shown their obedience to the One who gave them life. It would also have shown that they recognized God’s right to direct their ways.
WHY ADAM AND EVE DIED
To understand why Adam and Eve died, we need to examine a conversation that had far-reaching effects. Satan the Devil used a serpent to convey a malicious lie. The Bible account says: “Now the serpent was the most cautious of all the wild animals of the field that Jehovah God had made. So it said to the woman: ‘Did God really say that you must not eat from every tree of the garden?’”—Genesis 3:1.
To that Eve replied: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden. But God has said about the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden: ‘You must not eat from it, no, you must not touch it; otherwise you will die.’” Next the serpent said to her: “You certainly will not die. For God knows that in the very day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and bad.” Thus, Satan asserted that Jehovah was a liar who was holding back something good from our first parents.—Genesis 3:2-5.
Eve believed what she heard. She gazed at the tree. It looked so pleasing, so desirable! She reached out, took some of the fruit, and began to eat it. Then the Bible says: “Afterward, she also gave some to her husband when he was with her, and he began eating it.”—Genesis 3:6.
God told Adam: “In the day you eat from it you will certainly die.”—GENESIS 2:17
How it must have saddened God to see that his beloved children had willfully disobeyed him! What did he do? To Adam, Jehovah said: “You will . . . return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:17-19) As it turned out, “all the days of Adam’s life amounted to 930 years, and then he died.” (Genesis 5:5) Adam did not go to heaven or pass on to some spirit realm. He had no existence before Jehovah created him from the dust of the ground. So when he died, he became as lifeless as the dust from which he was created. He ceased to exist. How tragic!
PERFECTION IS NOT OURS
Because of their deliberate disobedience, Adam and Eve lost their perfection and the prospect of living forever. They underwent a physical change; they became imperfect and sinful. But their sin of disobedience did not affect them alone. They passed on their sinful condition to their offspring. Romans 5:12 says: “Through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because they had all sinned.”
The Bible describes sin and death as “the shroud that is enveloping all the peoples and the covering that is woven over all the nations.” (Isaiah 25:7) This shroud envelops humankind like a poisonous mist from which there is no escape. Truly, “in Adam all are dying.” (1 Corinthians 15:22) The question that arises, as posed by the apostle Paul, is: “Who will rescue me from the body undergoing this death?” Could anyone?—Romans 7:24.