Gen 2:17: Dying thou shalt die

Bill Ross wross at
Wed Aug 23 10:37:23 EDT 2000

Interestingly enough, the paradigm fits: God made man in his image, yet with
two seeming differences.  The first was that man was ignorant of good and
evil.  The second was that man was mortal.  So, if the ignorance of good and
evil were to be filled in with that knowledge, there would only be one
separating factor between God and man: immortality.  Therefore, in order to
keep the breach, God orders that man should be removed from access to that
tree and, therefore, man is locked in between where he was and who God is.

The gap between God and man is not just two things. The breach is a bit
wider. The point is that that man became like God in that regard (knowledge
of good and evil) and would have become like God in the other (immortality).
But adding these two items would not remove *all* breach!

I find it interesting what you have said and the fact that you have taken
this issue as another indication of the non-literalness of the text.  I have
recently been doing study in the area of inerrancy and have come to the
point of NOT holding that doctrine any longer (mainly by comparing parallels
and theological contradictions [oops... I mean "paradoxes"], etc.).  I would
be interested in hearing some more from you offline as to your opinions on
the rest of the book of Genesis and, perhaps, for the rest of the

Personally, I am quite satisfied that BYOM creates no case for a non-literal
reading since it is linguistically appropriate to read it as "when", or
"with that event", since that is the way it is used in the immediate
context. Nor does it pose a theological contradiction. Nor does it, as Liz
holds, make Yaweh a liar and the serpent the truth-bearer (especially since
the serpent didn't say "you won't die in that day" but rather "you shall not
die", and since they did die, they never put forth their hand and ate the
tree of life, and become like God in that regard).

Bill Ross

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