Adam was already dying the first death (natural) and when he ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (the law) he started to die the second death.
The second death is the ministration of the law our school master to lead us to Christ.
First let’s look at the statement that Adam was already dying a natural death before he ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (the law).
Genesis 2:16-17 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
The literal translation of the phrase thou shalt surely die is dying thou shalt die.
Adam was already dying a natural death.
Paul goes into great detail on this point in the 15 chapter of 1 Co.
1 Corinthians 15:35-38 35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? 36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: 37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: 38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.
Of note here is that which was first planted is not the body that shall be, and that what is first planted is but bare grain.Bare here is gumnos which simply means naked.And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
1 Corinthians 15:42-44 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
Paul goes on to explain that the natural body (which is the bare grain) is sown in corruption, dishonour, and weakness.All these scriptures tell us that the natural body (the bare grain) must come first ,then die to be raised a spiritual body.
1 Corinthians 15:45-46 45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
That which is FIRST is natural and AFTERWARDS that which is spiritual.The bare grain that was FIRST sown is not the body that SHALL BE (afterwards).
1 Corinthians 15:47-49 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
We all bear the image of the first man Adam which Paul has explain is sown in corruption, dishonour, etc. but we shall ALSO bear the image of the HEAVENLY (that of Jesus Christ).
Can we not understand by these things that Adam was already dying a natural death before he ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (the law)?
Now as to the tree of knowledge of good and evil being the law.
Two trees in the garden both a figure of the true.
Tree of life a figure of Jesus Christ our tree of life.
Tree of knowledge of good and evil a figure of the law.
There is no actual tree that gives life nor is there an actual tree that gives us knowledge.
The law or tree of knowledge was the commandment THOU SHALT NOT.
What is this tree that can bring death to man?Now we know that death comes because of sin RO.5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin.
Therefore we can see that it is sin that brings death to man , but what brings us the knowledge of what sin is? The law.
RO.3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Therefore the tree of knowledge of good and evil is the law for by eating of the tree death entered into the world.
Now is the knowledge of good and evil ( the law ) sin?
RO.7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
So we can see that the tree of knowledge of good and evil is the law, for it is only by way of the law that we have the knowledge of sin.
Now we know because of 2Co.3:7 & Gal.3:24 that the law is a ministration of death and our schoolmaster that leads us to Christ.
Now as we have already seen that Adam was already dying a natural death before eating of the law and that which is natural is first and afterwards that which is spiritual we can understand that the death spoken of by God in the phrase dying thou shalt die encompasses both the FIRST death in dying and the SECOND death in die.And that the second death which is mentioned is in reference to the LAW.
Now if you will bear with me for a moment longer I hope to make this a little more clearer if I can.
We read in
Romans 3:19 19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
Galatians 3:23 23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
Galatians 4:4-5 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Galatians 5:18 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
Romans 6:14-16 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
Now we can understand what is stated in
Revelation 20:6 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
A thousand years is as one day, today is the day of salvation, we are to rule and reign with Christ TODAY. If we wait to rule and reign with Christ in some future time we will find ourselves being judged by the law according to our works.Those in the first resurrection are those who are led by the Spirit, the LAW no longer has any POWER over them but they have become ONE with the law.