A number of years ago I visited the Grand Canyon with my wife. Some parts of the canyon that are popular for visitors or good photo locations have railing and danger signs. If you’ve ever been there and appreciate the vastness and the depth of the Canyon you will know that the railing is there for a reason and the danger signs mean something.
In Eden, God put a moral fence, a prohibition, around the tree in the middle of the garden. Adam and were not to eat of that tree. There was serious consequences if they crossed that moral fence. We don’t know how Adam understood “death” but we know that he was an intelligent man and understood sufficiently God’s prohibition. We know from later Scriptures that “death” meant that Adam and Eve would immediately enter into a “state of death” (spiritual), begin a “process of death” (physical) that would end in a “place of irreparable dying” (eternal death).
Satan’s first promise to Eve was that sin has no consequences. He removed danger sign from the edge of the precipice and promised Eve that to fall would have no negative effect. “There is no danger,” he said effectively, “this sign is misleading, let’s remove it.” Adam and Eve of course believed Satan and fell to their death. They learned that day that sin has consequences.
We still believe this ubiquitous lie of Satan today, and, even as Christians for whom the curse of death is reversed, think that we can sin with impunity. Many have believed Satan’s first promise and engaged in a sin which is still claiming its toll.