Genesis 2:17 "but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die." Is giving the implication that they are exempt from death prior to eating from the tree of knowledge. If Adam and Eve could not die, what would be the purpose of them eating if any?
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closed as primarily opinion-based by David♦, Narnian, Dan, Jayarathina Madharasan, wax eagle♦ Dec 16 '13 at 18:36
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Presumably there is purpose to food other than just maintaining life.
Revelation describes the New Jerusalem, which is generally equated with Heaven, the place where the saved will spend eternity. And according to Revelation 22:2, in this city, "In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month." So there is food in Heaven, even though everyone there is presumably living as an immortal soul.
Likewise at the Last Supper, Jesus said, Matthew 26:29, "But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” As he died the next day, he must have been talking about something that would happen after his resurrection, when he presumably did not need food and drink to live. Also after his resurrection, he ate food on at least one occasion: Luke 24:40-43, "When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. And He took it and ate in their presence." (John 21 also describes Jesus having breakfast with the disciples after his resurrection, though I find that on reading it carefully, it doesn't explicitly say that HE ate anything.)
At a minimum, people enjoy eating food. I certainly do. If some pill was invented that would provide all our caloric and nutritional needs more cheaply and conveniently, I think it very likely that most people would still eat food frequently just for the pleasure of the taste and the feeling of fullness.
Beyond that I think we can only speculate. Just because you won't die without something doesn't mean that it doesn't give you other benefits.
Ultimately such fellowship is meant to be had with God, as it was presumably for Adam and Eve in Genesis and as it will be:
It's because the death spoken about in Genesis is not physical death. It's spiritual death. See this answer for a complete explanation.
The concept that no physical death existed before the fall doesn't make any sense from a biological standpoint. Although many who believe in the concept that physical death entered the world at the fall talk only about the death of animals, there's no scriptural reason to make this distinction. The death of a tree, a microbe, or even a skin cell, is still death. If the word "death" in Genesis meant physical death, then it ought to mean all forms of physical death of a living thing.
But that sense of death makes no sense, as every living thing of sufficient complexity depends on the death of other living things for survival. Eating (whether required or not) depends upon the death of the food (plants). Digestion involves the death of millions or billions of microbes in a persons gut and intestines. Plant life depends on rich soil, full of organic matter--organic matter is dead material from other plants and animals (insects, bacteria, etc).
Just because they had the ability to live forever doesn't mean that they would live forever. This is evident by what actually happened; they died because of sinning and becoming imperfect.
A question similar to yours could be asked. For instance: 'If Adam and Eve could not die, what would be the purpose of them breathing air?' (I don't mean to be sarcastic or snarky here.)
The point is that they would have had to obey God's laws (even natural laws like the law of gravity or the "law" of eating) if they were to live forever.
From a Biblical point of view, it is a faulty premise to say that Adam and Eve were exempt from death. Most Christians believe that the soul is immortal because this is what they have been taught. However the Bible sustains that a soul can die. God says:
In fact, it was the devil's first lie.
On the other hand is the quotation from God.
There are many profitable reasons why this belief came about. However the Bible sustains that a person that is dead simply sleeps until the Second Coming.
Jesus describes death as sleep.
Paul describes death like sleep and clearly shows that people who die, wait until resurrection at the Second Coming.
Biblically, Adam and Eve COULD die. So Biblically, if you believe they could not die, God would have been lying to them and the devil would be telling the truth(See Genesis 3:4 and Genesis 2:17 above). Jesus Himself tells us that the devil is the father of lies.
Adam and Eve COULD die like their Creator told them and this is why they were taken out of Eden.
In order to live forever, Adam and Eve must eat from the tree of life, according to the Scripture above. This is what the tree of life is for.