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The problem of man is death, a spiritual death which followed the entrance of sin in Eden (Gen. 3). Sin and death are associated (Rom. 6:23), with sin resulting in death, physical death and spiritual death, but most tragically spiritual death (see: Death).

Death is the curse of all men because all men sinned in Adam, and sin was imputed to all men because of Adam (Rom. 5:12-21). Man does not choose death; he has been confirmed in death—our heritage from the first Adam. In this connection death does not mean cessation but separation, not cessation of physical activity but separation from spiritual life, not even aware of the Source of life (see: Darkened Image and Perverted Thinking) .

To be spiritually dead is to be separated from God, separated from the life of God, physically alive but spiritually dead. To be dead is to be centered on self, living for the moment and using the moment to satisfy the varied and profuse desires of the flesh. Death is the absence of God in the life, resulting in the individual having no desire to know Him or to please Him. Death causes the individual to despise the Truth and reject the Light, without even recognizing the state of death that characterizes one's existence (see: Depravity).

Scripture abundantly supports this teaching regarding man's condition. Paul reminded the Ephesians: You “were dead in transgression and sins” (2:1); Paul included himself in this spiritual death for later he affirmed: “God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” (2:4-5). The Colossians received similar instruction: “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses” (2:13).

In the New Testament death is treated more as a theological problem than as a physical problem. Physical death (cessation of activity) is real, but spiritual death (separation from God) is that which dooms one for eternity. For this reason the concept of death is at the heart of the Biblical teaching regarding anthropology and soteriology. Also there are cultural implications, for death is not only the root of man's alienation from God but also man's alienation from man. Interpersonal conflicts, as well as communal and national conflicts, find their cause in man's state of death. Injustice in the culture is a reflection of man's heart (see: Separation).

Apart from spiritual life man is dead to God; he does not seek God, has no desire for God, and does not submit to God. For the dead, “there is no fear of God before their eyes” (Rom. 3:18; see: No Fear of God). The human predicament is one of sin and death (see: The Character of Sin).

For the wages of sin is death.
Rom. 6:23

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