I’d like to say a few more things about death in the Old World (before the Fall).
I mentioned before that death was in the world before the Fall. It seems that this is tied into the promises and warnings given about the Tree of Wisdom.
God told Adam (not Eve) that “in the day you eat of it, you shall surely die.” Well, what does Adam know about death? In his experience, death is nothing to be feared. He died, and when he woke up, there was a woman. In Adam’s mind, death is a good thing. This “breaking down and rebuilding” signals a new covenant, a new world. Adam doesn’t fear death.
So, he looks forward to being able to eat from the Tree, and dying (and therefore rising again to greater glory). God told Adam and Eve that every tree in the Garden was for food. This includes the Tree of Wisdom, upon which God placed a temporary prohibition. The Tree was “desirable to make one wise.”
First of all, why would God place a tree in the Garden that they could not eat from? God does not tempt His people. The Tempter (Satan) tempts us. God may send us trials, but He does not tempt us to turn away from Him.
Second, did He not want them to become wise? That seems a bit callous. Especially when we consider that the basic theme of the Bible is a move from immaturity to maturity. This is evident throughout the Bible, and explicit in the Pauline Epistles.
So if God’s purpose for man is to become mature, or wise, and the Tree of Wisdom (Knowledge of Good and Evil) grants that maturity, it makes sense that Adam and Eve would, at some point after they “grew up,” be allowed to eat of the Tree and become as God. Because that’s what He wants.
So what does this mean about original sin? Most people assume that the Sin was eating from the Tree that God had forbidden. That’s true, but only skin-deep. When we understand that the Tree was only under a temporary prohibition, the problem becomes not simply disobeying God, but also impatience. They grasped at something they had not earned. They decided they didn’t like God’s rules, and took what was not theirs (yet).
The Garden was a baby’s playpen. It was where they were supposed to grow up. But they grasped wisdom before they knew how to use it. So, their eyes were opened, they became wise, and knew they had sinned.
Since they were no longer children, they must go out into the world, which is one of the main reasons for the banishment from the Garden, as well as the sacrifice of animals and subsequent fur clothing (clothes are for adults; babies don’t care about clothes).
Not that I’m trying to overcomplicate the concept of original Sin. But when we understand this, it helps us understand the progression of maturity that is laid out in the Bible. It gives us added insight into, not only original Sin, but sin that we deal with every day.
The more we understand the first couple pages of the Bible, the more we can understand about the rest of it and the world as a whole. We are supposed to eat of the Tree of Wisdom, but only in due time, as we grow up and progress to maturity.