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by Dr. John Thomas
The fruit of his eating was the gratification of his flesh in the lusts thereof, and the subjection of himself and posterity to the "evil" of eating of the cursed ground in sorrow all the days of their lives.
All the posterity of Adam, when they attain the age of puberty, and their eyes are in the opening crisis, begin to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil.
Previous to that natural change, they are in their innocency.
But, thenceforth, the world, as a serpent-entwined fruit tree, stands before the mind, enticing it to take and eat, and enjoy the good things it affords.
To speculate upon the lawfulness of compliance is partly to give consent.
There must be no reasoning upon the harmlessness of conforming to the world.
Its enticements without, and the sympathizing instincts of the flesh within, must be instantly suppressed; for, to hold a parley with its lusts, is dangerous.
When one is seduced by "the deceitfulness of sin," "he is drawn away of his own lusts, and enticed.
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin when it is finished, bringeth forth death": in other words, he plucks the forbidden fruit, and dies, if not forgiven.
Furthermore, the sentence "Thou shalt surely die," is proof that the phrase "in the day" relates to a longer period than the day of the natural eating.
This was not a sentence to be consummated in a moment, as when a man is shot or guillotined.
It required time; for the death threatened was the result, or finishing, of a certain process; which is very clearly indicated in the original Hebrew.
In this language the phrase is muth temuth, which literally rendered is, dying thou shalt die.
The sentence, then, as a whole reads thus -- "In the day of thy eating from it dying thou shalt die".
From this reading, it is evident, that Adam was to be subjected to a process, but not to an endless process; but to one which should commence with the transgression, and end with his extinction.
The process is expressed by muth, dying; and the last stage of the process by temuth, thou shalt die.
This view is fully sustained by the paraphrase found in the following words: -- "Cursed is the ground for thy sake: in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return".
The context of this informs us, that Adam, having transgressed, had been summoned to trial and judgment for the offence.
The Lord God interrogated him, saying, "Hast thou eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
" Adam confessed his guilt, which was sufficiently manifest before by his timidity, and shame at his nakedness.
The offence being proved, the Judge then proceeded to pass sentence upon the transgressors.
This He did in the order of transgression; first upon the Serpent; then upon Eve; and lastly upon Adam, in the words of the text.