In Genesis chapter two God places the burden of death on man's sin(disobedience of God).

Genesis 2:17 KJV

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

When Jesus died on the cross all of our sins were given to him and his death paid the penalty for our transgressions.

Since Jesus suffered death for us why do Christians who have given their sins to Jesus on the cross still die?

1st John 2:2 KJV

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

Galatians 1:4 KJV

Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

Romans chapter 5 KJV

12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

  • @Nathaniel Why do you think this question should be closed in favour of the newer one?
    – curiousdannii
    Jun 13, 2016 at 23:33
  • @curiousdannii Mainly because this one is phrased as a truth question. Jun 13, 2016 at 23:58
  • @Nathaniel Ah. yeah the newer one is definitely phrased better.
    – curiousdannii
    Jun 14, 2016 at 0:00

6 Answers 6


Gen 2:17 reference is for the second death not the first.

The fact that we are still dying in spite of Jesus dying for us, shows that death is more than what we know it to be in everyday meaning. There is something called "second death" in the Bible.

Rev.20:6 “Blessed and holy is the one who takes part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.”

It worth noting how clearly this second death is mentioned at Rev. 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8. One of the first things God told Adam was regarding the forbidden fruit. He said:

Gen.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 surely die.”

The same day they were supposed to have been paying the penalty for their disobedience; the penalty was death. But they didn't die the same day, because:

John 3:16 For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

A substitute was already planned and therefore the penalty of sin was differed. When Adam died at the age of 930 years he was not paying the penalty of sin. Adam's probationary period of overcoming sin was over at nine hundred and thirty years; his lifespan ended.

In fact the Bible uses another word “sleep” many a time, when talking about the death that comes at the end of a lifetime. Talking about Lazarus' death, Jesus himself called it sleep. He said:

John 11:11-14 After he said this, he added, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep. But I am going there to awaken him.” Then the disciples replied, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” (Now Jesus had been talking about his death, but they thought he had been talking about real sleep.) Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died,

This word "sleep" has been used several times, in reference to the first death or the natural death that all have to face in this sinful world. (See Job 14:10-12, 1 Thessalonians 4:15, 16). All the people who ever died on planet earth died only the natural death or the first death; and first death is the consequence (natural result) of sin-because of Adam's fall-and not the wages (punishment) of sin.

The death of Christ and also His resurrection were divine acts, and not natural acts. Death had no power on Him, as He did not sin. For us to die is natural, for Christ it was not. He was doing something that otherwise would not have happened. Just before Jesus could go to Calvary, this is what He said about Satan:

John 14:30 I will not speak with you much longer, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me.

Satan had no power over Christ, as Christ did not yield to temptation. He had to lay His life down as a voluntary act for our salvation, and He did it. He was paying the penalty of the human race on the cruel Cross. He was dying the death that we deserved. Paul wrote: ...so that by God’s grace he would experience death on behalf of everyone. (Hebrew 2:9)

First death and second death:

The death that Christ died was the second death. The first death is a natural consequence of sin. Whether one is a believer or unbeliever, the first death is for all, whether a saint or a sinner. It is the close of probationary time, either to make it or break it to Heaven. When Adam and Eve were told that they would die the day they ate the fruit, it was a reference to the second death (the eternal extinction), not the first death.

The first death physically destroys the body, but it is not an eternal destruction, as there will be a resurrection. But the second death is the eternal destruction of the person. So the second death is the real death, the complete death. The first death has only a part of the second death in it. The second death has the first death and more in it.

(Rev 20:6, 14, 15; 21:8), and not "first and second death", as the second death is the complete death.

Those who die the second death have no resurrection. But Jesus rose from the dead even though He died the second death. Well, because He was sinless, He was dying a substitution death. He was not dying for His sin (He did no sin), but for the sins of the others (the whole world).

When we die the first death, we can afford to smile and die, and even sing while burning at the stake, because we know it is only the first death, and there is a resurrection. But when Jesus was dying the death on Calvary, He cried in bitter agony:

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46)

But when we die our natural death, we don't cry that way, as God does not forsake us. It is at the final death, the second death, when people pay the wages of sin, they would feel the bitter agony of being forever cut off from God and from life, and then all will cry and weep and gnash their teeth.

When Christ bore the sins of the world on Him, He could not, for that moment, see beyond the portals of the tomb, as it was total darkness within Him and around Him too. Only by faith He knew that resurrection was possible for Him while He was bearing our sins upon Himself. And that's how He gave hope to the thief, and that's how He committed His breath into the hands of His Heavenly Father and died. And lo! And behold! On the third day our Lord conquered the grave as He conquered death! Listen to the Victor:

Rev. 1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

#Apologies for this long answer.

  • @ jayyeshu great answer, you have not only answered this question, but also my question about physical, Spirit, or death of the Soul. Since I now understand that the second death is the destruction of all three. Thank you.
    – BYE
    Dec 5, 2013 at 14:50
  • The lake of fire is the second death (Rev 20:14). So, Jesus was thrown into the Lake of Fire? Why was Adam not thrown into the Lake of Fire on the same day he ate the fruit?
    – Mawia
    Jan 11, 2014 at 11:30
  • I like the clarity of your answer. Though I wonder, what does it take to bypass death altogether like Enoch and Elijah? Since we are all saved through faith, did they exercise it more fully?
    – Beestocks
    Feb 21, 2015 at 1:02

1/ Jesus made death a path of salvation

I would go so far as to pretend that death is a good thing in our sinful condition. For if we were immortals, we would probably not choose God over ourselves.

What we lost with the original sin is not immortality, it is our capacity to love unconditionnally. And Jesus actually showed us how to restore that by 1) going all the way Himself 2) teaching us that this is the way God loves.

Now scriptures to make my point (please anyone with actual biblical knowledge, can you locate the following and correct me as needed) :

[whoever wants to be with me] "let he take his cross and follow me" (accuracy doubtful)

there are four instances in the New Testament about taking up your cross, they are:

Matthew 16:24 KJV Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Mark 8:34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Mark 10:21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

Luk_9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

"The disciple in not greater than his Master"

There are 3 instances of this in the Bible, they are:

Matthew 10:24 KJV The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.

Luke 6:40 KJVThe disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.

"There is no greater love than to give one's life for one's friends".

John 15:13 KJV Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

-> Jesus turns the universe around : death is no longer a punishment for past sins but a way do give one's life, i.e. a path of salvation.

Temporary conclusion : on the personal scale, physical death is a consequence of the original sin, not erased but made into a mean of salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus, whom we are compelled to imitate.

2/ a little more patience ...

On the other hand, death per se remains something wrong that God "does not want". The salvation is not only a matter of personal history but also an event of cosmic magnitude in which the laws of Nature themselves are healed. But this is an historical event which has simply not happened yet :

"and the last enemy He will put under His feet is Death"

implies that the collective salvation will occur on Judgment Day, after which death will no longer be.

  • I agree wholeheartedly with what you said, but cannot see how it answers my question.
    – BYE
    Dec 4, 2013 at 20:26
  • Welcome to the site! This next has nothing to do with the quality of your answer, it's just standard to help new visitors avoid misunderstanding the site (as I did at first.) As a new visitor, I'd recommend checking out the following two posts, which are meant to help newcomers "learn the ropes": the help page and How we are different than other sites? Dec 4, 2013 at 20:48

We know that when we reach the end of our lives here on earth, we die as a physical being, this is the fulfillment of Genesis 2:17 quoted in the question.

So what happened to us when this happens?

Lord Jesus promised that those who believe in Him shall have eternal life. The Lord also said in John 14:1-3 that in Heaven, where he was going, there are many mansions that He is preparing for His disciples. Then He commissioned His disciples to make more disciples. Therefore disciples of Lord Jesus will be with Him when they leave this earth physically.

Additionally, as the Lord fulfills each and every past prophecies regarding Him as the Messiah, He will also fulfill the ones yet to come in the future. One of which is when He will be back to take His bride (the Church). When that happens, those who are still living will be taken up to the clouds. Do they bypass physical death? Maybe, just like Enoch and Elijah did.

So here we see two ways in which we leave our sinful existence in this world and enter into a heavenly existence with the Lord. Either way, this can only happen because of what Lord Jesus did on the cross. Without Him, we have no hope.

  • @ Will I am aware and wholeheartedly agree with all you have said, but it does not answer my question as to why men physically die after Jesus did.
    – BYE
    Dec 4, 2013 at 16:06
  • @CecilBeckum, I believe we will die physically regardless because our biological constructs (our cells) cannot regenerate itself without God's supernatural help. But I don't see physical death as a limitation to what the Lord has done on the cross nor His promise.
    – Will
    Dec 4, 2013 at 17:54
  • @ Will but that supernatural intervention is just what I'm referring to. When created man from dust and breathed life into his nostrils man was perfect, that changed when man sinned in the garden, so why then was that process not reversed when Jesus paid the required penalty?
    – BYE
    Dec 4, 2013 at 20:05
  • @CecilBeckum, I finally understand the question, thank you for clarifying it to me. In thinking about this, the passage in 1 Corinthians 15:35-58 came to mind. Hopefully by reading this, both of us will learn something.
    – Will
    Dec 4, 2013 at 21:37

Much of the life and death mentioned in the Bible is in reference to the spiritual life and death.

John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.


Jesus's death paid for our sins and opened the way for the father to forgive us. This gives us the opportunity to be restored to perfection and everlasting life. That is only the first half of the problem solved.

The second half is that Satan charged God with being a liar and questioned his right to rule. Some of the other angels rebelled against God with Satan. Jehovah is now taking this time to prove without a doubt that he is not only a better ruler than Satan, but the only one who is fit to rule. He is proving it to us and all of the angels so he has a precedent if this question should ever rise again. Satan has a set amount of time to prove his point. After Satan's time is up then God will start to bring things back into the order he had set for them.

Why hasn't God stopped Satan and his demons?

This other answer of mine explains the purpose of Jesus, Satan, why we die, and Gods promise for the future. It has many references back to the bible. My answer here on this question is sort of a short paraphrasing of that answer. I hope this helped!

  • 1
    very interesting answer. Please consider adding references to your answer to better solidify it as a good answer. Dec 4, 2013 at 20:12
  • I'll come on a little later and add some sources. Mostly from the bible, I try not to use too many external references as the bible answers most questions.
    – Jeremy
    Dec 4, 2013 at 20:34
  • NP, I think you have a good answer, I just think you could make it a a good supported answer. Dec 4, 2013 at 20:41
  • Added my other answer that has all the references :)
    – Jeremy
    Dec 4, 2013 at 20:44

The text of Genesis 2:17 KJV aims to spiritual death, ie separation from God, not only phisical death.

  • Welcome to the site! You have an interesting answer. Please consider adding references to your answer to better solidify it as a good answer. Please consider reading What makes a good supported answer? and / or How we are different than other sites? Dec 4, 2013 at 21:07
  • @ vs06 are you referring to the second death spoken of in the Revelation chapter 20, and are you saying that the death penalty imposed on man does not refer to physical death, but to being cast into the lake of fire which is the second death?
    – BYE
    Dec 4, 2013 at 21:09

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