What was punishment for Adam, Eve, and the serpent for disobeying the Lord God's order to not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Neither Adam or Eve died and their disposition remained unchanged - man "taking care" or "working" the earth, woman experiencing pain in childbearing, and the serpent still slithers. What's the punishment? Nobody died.

Genesis 2:15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals.

Genesis 3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Genesis 3:14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this ... You will crawl on your belly ... all the days of your life."

Genesis 3:16 To the woman he said, "I will make your pains in childbearing very severe"

Genesis 3:17 [To man he said] through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.


There is no denying the fact that Adam and Eve received a measure of punishment for disobeying the Lord in Eden. Yes! Neither Adam or Eve died (physically) and their disposition remained (seemingly) unchanged.

In actual sense, Adam and Eve died spiritually. Ordinarily speaking, it looks as if they did not die because they did not cease to exist. Yes they did not cease interacting with themselves and their environemnt, but their interaction with God was exterminated. That spells death. After that incident we never read from the Scripture that God came to have fellowship with them in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8). They were cut off. They died. And that was the consequence of their disobedience. By implication something (definitely) changed in their disposition. Life did not remain the way it used to be.

What was the punishment for Adam?

. . . cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life (Genesis 3:17 ESV).

That was enough punishment for Adam as he never had to toil before he could eat.

What was the punishment for Eve?

I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.” (Genesis 3:16 ESV)

She would possibly have brought forth children without great pain and would possibly not have been answerable to her husband in all her needs.

And the serpent?

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring[a] and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15 ESV)

The serpent (in Eden) remains that old serpent referenced in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 12:9). All his eventual defeats in Scripture to date are consequent upon the incident in Eden. And that is punishment enough for Serpent.

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  • Reading about Saraphim, is it possible that the serpent might actually refer to a saraph, or heavenly 6 winged (and burning) angel? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seraph – Ronnie Royston May 28 '19 at 3:51
  • @RonRoyston That looks like it may be worth asking as its own question. – KorvinStarmast Jan 5 at 16:19

Where do you get from that the things you mention were also like that before the fall?

  • There is no mention of giving birth being painful in Eden.
  • The working and taking care of the garden (2:15) is more positive than the toil in 3:17.
  • There is also the enmity between men and snakes (3:15).
  • Lastly, Adam and Eve did die - just not directly.
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  • Re point 1-3, arguable though, no? Pain is a normal and healthy bodily function, care == responsibility == duty, some ppl keep snakes as pets. Re point 4: Interesting that the Tree of Life is specified distinct from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. So, I suppose one could argue that Adam& Eve would not certainly die if they remained in Eden bcs they could simply eat from the Tree of Life (which, after the Fall, is guarded by Chereb and a Flaming sword)...? – Ronnie Royston Sep 5 '18 at 18:45
  • @RonRoyston that is reasoned from a modern mindset. Was pain a positive thing to the original author? Did people keep snakes around 1000BCE? – user2672 Sep 5 '18 at 19:16
  • nahash The serpent was a symbol of evil power and chaos from the underworld as well as a symbol of fertility, life and healing. – Ronnie Royston Sep 5 '18 at 19:54
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    @RonRoyston yes, and? It sounds like you're looking for open-ended discussion; in that case, this is not the site for you. Have a look at our tour to learn more about the format. – user2672 Sep 5 '18 at 20:01
  • Your answer is insignificant and your comment(s) offensive. I would appreciate you giving this question proper consideration as I have a suspicion that you are more capable. – Ronnie Royston Sep 5 '18 at 20:10

The penalty for disobedience of the command to not eat the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil was death which was effected by denying the human race access to the fruit of the trees of life. Man was already mortal but had the opportunity to live forever by eating said fruit.

People are often confused by the delay between when they ate the fruit and when they actually went belly up. This is because the KJV has "in the day that you eat... you will surely die". However, "in the day" simply means "when". We know the sky-land biodome was fashioned in 6 days and yet the scriptures speak of "in the day when the LORD made the heavens".

"You shall surely die", which is literally, "dying you shall die" is idiomatic for "you will certainly die".

Paul, comparing sin to a heartless slave-master who pays his slaves in nothing but wages of death, as if death came in installments and eventually ends in annihilation. See Romans 6:23.

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The punishment (more like suicide) was Death:-

Romans 6:23 NWT “For the wages sin pays is death, . . .”

Adam died two deaths one inside Eden and one outside of Eden.

1st Death: When Adam ate the Fruit of the Tree he died spiritual as that act destroyed his spiritual relationship with God. This is highlighted by the fact the God never spoke to Adam or Eve after passing Judgment. This death was instant! Also the act of not obeying God and obeying The Serpent (Satan) was to make Satan their spiritual father by rejecting God’s orders and obeying his!

2nd Death: Was outside the Eden as God had rejected them both. As they aged their bodies finally broke down to the point they finally died.

Some say that as they did not die straight away they were no punished; this is not the case as what they both lost was “everlasting life” (John 17:3) on earth (Psalm 37:29); because if they has not eaten from the Tree God told them not to eat from it is obvious they would not have died and then could have eaten from the “Tree of life” and lived forever, but God made that impossible from them now:-

Genesis 3:22-24 NWT “Jehovah God then said: “Here the man has become like one of us in knowing good and bad. Now in order that he may NOT put his hand out and take fruit also from the tree of life and eat and LIVE FOREVER,—” 23 With that Jehovah God expelled him from the garden of Eden to cultivate the ground from which he had been taken. 24 So he drove the man out, and he posted at the east of the Garden of Eden the cherubs and the flaming blade of a sword that was turning continuously to guard the way to the tree of life.”

So what they lost was COLOSSAL for themselves and their offspring; everlasting life in God’s favour. This Jesus came down to us to restore.

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Nobody died.

Jesus acknowledged two kinds of death when he said, “Let the dead bury their dead.”1 That is, let the spiritually dead bury the physically dead. The apostle Paul likewise wrote:

  • “And you, being dead in your trespasses...”2
  • “you who were dead in trespasses and sins.”3
  • “account yourselves to be dead to sin”4

    In addition, he wrote,5

    Wherefore, just as sin entered the world by one man, and death by sin; likewise death passed to all men, because all have sinned.

    Thus, both acknowledge that the sinner, despite being alive physically, is spiritually dead. The same fate Adam also endured when he disobeyed God and partook of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Since all of humanity was in Adam loins when he sinned, and Adam was the head of humanity, we all participated in his transgression.6 That being said, all may participate in salvation and eternal life by being in Jesus Christ:7

    Just as all die in Adam, likewise all shall be made alive in Christ.


    1 Matt. 8:22
    2 Col. 2:13
    3 Eph. 2:1 cp. Eph. 2:5
    4 Rom. 6:11
    5 Rom. 5:12
    6 Rom. 5:15–21
    7 1 Cor. 15:22

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