Jesus' victory over both spiritual & physical death


Hello, all. This is my first post as I’m new to this forum.

Regarding the topic of human/animal death with relation to the fall, Evolutionary Creationists will say that they believe animals died before the fall and thus so did early humans, but the “death” envisioned in the fall (“the day you eat of the tree, you will die”) is a spiritual death that humans “died” that day that they sinned.

However, one response I’ve heard to this is that Jesus’ death on the cross has redeemed humans from both spiritual AND physical death…when he died for our sin.

So if physical death occurred before man’s sin, and then man spiritually died when he sinned…why is it that Jesus’ death for sin involved redeeming us from both spiritual and physical death (if physical death is not a result of sin)? Any thoughts or resources on this topics would be appreciated. Thank you.


Welcome to the forum!

(Christy Hemphill) #3

Yes, welcome to the forum.

It seems to me that some people think that the point of the Incarnation was to bring us back to Eden, so to speak. I personally think the point of the Incarnation was to usher in the first glimpse of the New Creation. God united himself with his creation by becoming a human being. Jesus was resurrected as a human being and rules the world as a human being. That is unprecedented and new. It did not return us to any state that has ever existed before.

We hope in the promise of the Resurrection to come when every believer will be raised to eternal life with Christ. Again, I think that will be a new and unprecedented era in the history of creation, not just some sort of getting back to the way it was before sin entered the world. It’s not just physical death that we are promised redemption from, we are promised a whole new kind of life. In other words, not just immortality in the kind of physical life we already know and experience, but something altogether new and better.

I really like Surprised by Hope by N. T. Wright as a starting point for thinking about these kinds of questions.

(Jon Garvey) #4

+1 for Surprised by Hope.

Another guy to look out for is J Richard Middleton, and especially his A New Heaven and a New Earth. Richard’s actually been involved with a BioLogos think-tank, so he has “form”. My own review is here.

(Mazrocon) #5

Welcome to the forum!

While I don’t have any particular literature in mind for recommendation, I will personally lay out some of my views as best I can.

Most Bibles describe Genesis 3 as “The Fall of Man”… But it would be more accurately titled “The Exile”. God kicks Adam and Eve out of Eden, and sets a Flaming Sword on one end of it, to prevent Adam and Eve from eating of the Tree of Life and live forever. If they were created immortal then what would be the purpose of the Tree of Life, and why would God try to keep them from it? Hence, I firmly believe Adam and Eve were created mortal.

Along with this exile in chapter 3, we get yet another exile in chapter 4, with Cain getting exiled from Eden entirely, and banished to the Land of Nod. In Ezekiel 37, the prophet gets a vision from God known as the “Valley of Bones”. In this vision God shows Ezekiel a Valley of Bones whom, by the Word of God, grow sinews, muscles, and skin, and become alive once more. It even uses terminology such as “breathing life into them”. After the vision ends God says that these bones are the Children of Israel. From Ezekiel we further know that this after the Babylonian Exile takes place — hence we can infer a very important point. The Israelites equated “exile” with a form of “death”. If interpreting Scripture with Scripture is still a valise concept, I suggest that the phrase “in the day you eat of it thou shalt surely die” is used in the same sense as Ezekiel 37. The “death” they experience is the exile from the garden … Which plays out again in Cain to the Land of Nod.

This can help shape and broaden our view of “death” in Hebrew terms. The existence of physical human death before the Exile, isn’t a problem for me, theologically, because Law cannot exist lest God introduces it. He did that when he gave Adam the commandment in Genesis 2. If humans existed before the Law was introduced, then by that definition humans can’t be held accountable for what they do — they are amoral (in the biblical sense). And while one might say they were, in the biological sense, human — in order to be human in the biblical sense you have to have “the image of God”.

This admittedly, probably comes off as confusing, and even conjectural. But it took me awhile to start readjusting my modern mindset with that of a more ancient one — and we are all still learning.

I hope you enjoy yourself on the site.


(system) #6

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