Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, Yes, has God said…
1. Death. This death was two fold. It was partly —
(1) Physical death, or the separation of the soul from the body. The seeds of death, naturally implanted in man's constitution, began to develop themselves the moment that access to the tree of life was denied him. Man from that moment was a dying creature. But this death was also, and chiefly —
(2) Spiritual death, or the separation of the soul from God. In this are included —
(a) Negatively, the loss of man's moral likeness to God, or that underlying tendency of his whole nature toward God which constituted his original righteousness.(b) Positively, the depraving of all those powers which, in their united action with reference to moral and religious truth, we call man's moral and religious nature; or, in other words, the blinding of his intellect, the corruption of his affections, and the enslavement of his will. Seeking to be a god, man became a slave; seeking independence, he ceased to be master of himself. In fine, man no longer made God the end of his life, but chose self instead. While he retained the power of self-determination in subordinate things, he lost that freedom which consisted in the power of choosing God as his ultimate aim, and became fettered by a fundamental inclination of his will toward evil. The intuitions of the reason were abnormally obscured, since these intuitions, so far as they are concerned with moral and religious truth, are conditioned upon a right state of the affections; and — as a necessary result of this obscuring of reason — conscience, which, as the moral judiciary of the soul, decides upon the basis of the law given to it by reason, became perverse in its deliverances. Yet this inability to judge or act aright, since it was a moral inability springing ultimately from will, was itself hateful and condemnable.
2. Positive and formal exclusion from God's presence. This included —
(1) The cessation of man's former familiar intercourse with God, and the setting up of outward barriers between man and his Maker (cherubim and sacrifice).
(2) Banishment from the garden, where God had specially manifested His presence. Eden was perhaps a spot reserved, as Adam's body bad been, to show what a sinless world would be. This positive exclusion from God's presence, with the sorrow and pain which it involved, may have been intended to illustrate to man the nature of that eternal death from which he now needed to seek deliverance.
(A. H. Strong, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?