The death of Adam and Eve has been the subject of debate for years. This is because God had said that if Adam and Eve were to eat from the forbidden fruit, they would “surely die.” But we know that the couple did not drop dead as soon as they ate the forbidden fruit. This raises a couple of questions including why they did not die immediately. Another important question is how they died and if it was related to what God had said about the consequences of eating the forbidden fruit.
According to Genesis 5:5, Adam died after living for 936 years. The Bible does not give any more detail on how he died. It is however plausible that he died of old age. We do not have any information on how Eve died but we can safely infer that she also died of old age around the same time Adam died.
The Entrance of Sin
Adam and Eve were the first human beings on earth. God created them and put them in the garden of Eden to “till it and keep it” (Gen. 2:15). In addition, he commanded them to “multiply and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28). While in Eden, God commanded man not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil which was in the middle of the garden. If they did, God told them that they would surely die.
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. Genesis 2:17
For some unspecified period, Adam and Eve obeyed God and kept away from the tree. One day, however, the tempter came to the garden and enticed them to disobey God.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Genesis 3:1
Adam and Eve fell for the trickery of the devil and ate from the tree which resulted in their banishment from the garden. This was the beginning of sin on earth. The genealogy of man afterward is dotted with all kinds of sin and evil.
The Death of Adam and Eve
The Bible does not say at what age or how Eve died. However, the age of Adam at the time of his death is given.
The whole lifetime of Adam was nine hundred and thirty years; then he died. Gen. 5:5
Since the Bible remains silent on the death of Eve, we can estimate that she died shortly after or before Adam. We also don’t know how old Eve was at the time of her death. However, since she was created shortly after Adam, we can also infer that they were probably in the same age bracket.
The Bible is also silent on the cause of death for both Adam and Eve. We can therefore infer that they both died of natural causes. The Bible usually gives the reason for the death of significant characters whose death was not of natural causes. For instance, we know that Cain was killed by his brother. Since no explanation is given on how Adam or Eve died, we can infer that they most likely died of old age.
Why Didn’t Adam Die Immediately After Eating the Fruit?
One of the questions that has baffled many Christians over the years is why Adam and Eve didn’t die immediately after eating the forbidden fruit. There are two possible explanations for this.
The first explanation is that the Hebrew phrase that was translated “in the day” is often used to mean “for certain.” If this is the case, the line that reads “in the day that you eat of it, you shall ” might not be referring to the actual day but to the certainty of the death that would follow their disobedience. So, it didn’t matter how long it took but death was certain. And as we know from scripture, Adam and Eve eventually died of old age (Genesis 5:5).
This would imply that Adam and Eve were enjoying eternal life before the fall. This would explain why after the fall, God barred them from the Garden of Eden to prevent them from eating from the Tree of Life. So in summary, Adam and Eve lost their eternal life, they were barred from the Garden of Eden, and eventually died of old age.
A second way to look at it is that the Bible was not referring to physical death but spiritual death. As a result of their sin, Adam and Eve lost their spiritual connection to God which they enjoyed in the Garden of Eden. Immediately after they had eaten the forbidden fruit, we see them attempting to cover themselves in a futile attempt to hide from God (Genesis 3:7-8). This illustrates the guilt they felt for disobeying God. It also illustrates that Adam and Eve were now separated from God due to their disobedience.
We could also accept both interpretations – that the fall of man resulted in both spiritual and physical death. As a result of their sin, their spirits were now separated from God while their bodies began to experience death. Even the Apostle Paul reckoned that the outer man is wearing out every day (2 Corinthians 4:16 ).
The Bible tells us that Adam lived for 936 years, but it remains silent on the specifics of Eve’s passing. While the cause of their deaths isn’t stated, it is reasonable to assume they died of old age. Additionally, The question of why Adam and Eve did not immediately die after eating the forbidden fruit can be explained in two ways. First, the phrase “in the day” may signify certainty of death rather than immediacy. This suggests they eventually succumbed to old age after losing eternal life. The second interpretation focuses on the spiritual consequences of their disobedience, leading to their separation from God. This spiritual death happened immediately, with physical death being a later consequence.