To be spiritually dead is to be separated from God. When Adam sinned in Genesis 3:6, he ushered in death for all humanity. God’s command to Adam and Eve was that they could not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It came with the warning that disobedience would result in death: “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’” The phrase “you shall surely die” could be literally translated “dying you shall die.” This signifies a continuous state of death that began with spiritual death, continues throughout life as a gradual degradation of the body, and culminates in physical death. The immediate spiritual death resulted in Adam’s separation from God. His act of hiding from God (Genesis 3:8) demonstrates this separation, as does his attempt to shift blame for the sin to the woman (Genesis 3:12).
Unfortunately, this spiritual – and eventual physical – death was not confined to Adam and Eve. As the representative of the human race, Adam carried all of humanity into his sin. Paul makes this clear in Romans 5:12, telling us that sin and death entered the world and spread to all men through Adam’s sin. Additionally, Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death; sinners must die, because sin separates us from God.
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