Please be aware that my knowledge of theology is very limited, and thus can make my question naive
I was under the impression that the end should not justify the means in the spirit of the Bible.
However, God himself seems to be using what I would (maybe wrongly) interpret as deception for the greater good, when he warns Adam and Eve about the forbidden fruit (Genesis, 2:17):
“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”
Adam and Eve's lives did not come to an end "in the day" they ate the fruit. The mention of such a specific time frame makes God's prediction verifiable, and in this case, unverified. Surely God can not have been mistaken. I personally see 2 ways of justifying it:
He was not referring to actual death, but to a metaphorical death of their innocence. However, if that it is not a lie, that is at least deception to me, and can be deemed manipulative. Indeed, it will not be the understanding of the one who hears this message without additional information. God being all-knowing, I believe he should be aware that a human mind will perceive his words as "my life will come to an end if I eat this". Because of his omniscience, he has to speak those words knowing how it will be interpreted by Adam and Eve, or by a human reader that comes across those words for the first time.
He is doing what some parents do when telling their child things like, "if you pick your nose with your finger, it will stay stuck in it forever!". Considering that Adam and Eve do not have the ability to understand what is good for them, he lies to protect them. However, this is a "the end justifies the means" kind of ideology. I thought (but maybe you will correct me) that the very act of lying is a sin, no matter the justification.
How does the Christian interpretation(s) go about the moral understanding of God's words in this instance?
I specifically want to remind that, in my understanding:
God's prediction had an expiry date ("in the day"), so that I don't understand how it could refer to an eventual but distant death
Even if God meant something very different than actual death, it is my understanding that He has to be aware of how his words will be understood by the feeble human mind (which is quite literally), and therefore knows what idea he is communicating in his warning to the two humans