The Never Ending Lie – You will not surely die!
August 18, 2011 Bible Answers That Make Sense, Blogs by: Tim Jennings, M.D.

Lies are powerful! When they go unrecognized, are accepted as truth, and incorporated into the life, lies have the power to destroy – relationships, health, nations, and worlds.

Hitler used lies about the Jews, that Jews were enemies of the people, were responsible for Germany’s economic problems, and were the reason Germany lost WWI. He used these lies to mobilize a nation – to ultimate ruin. These lies were so effectively told that an entire nation was seduced to engage in a campaign of terror to destroy their fellow human beings.

Lies are powerful, when unrecognized, when accepted as true, when incorporated into the life, lies have the power to destroy – relationships, health, nations, and worlds.

Satan is the father of lies. His lies have torn through the universe, bringing untold pain, suffering, and death. His lies continue to shred planet earth. The only defense to Satan’s lies is the truth. As Jesus said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32).

Some lies are more persistent than others. One lie, told in Eden, continues to weave its deadly thread throughout human history. This lie insidiously interferes with God’s plan to heal and restore mankind back into unity with Him.

“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. (Genesis 3:4)

Five simple words, directly contradicting what God had told Adam and Eve. A straightforward, “he said, she said,” who are you going to believe? Amazingly, the majority of humanity believes the lie and continues to promote it today.

This lie presents itself in obvious ways such as:

  • We have an immortal soul/spirit, we cannot die
  • The wicked will not die but burn alive forever in hell
  • We don’t die we reincarnate from one life to the next eternally

To most thinking people these ideas are easily recognized as various permutations of Satan’s lie of continued life in sin rather than cessation of life as a result of sin. Yet, as all lies do, believing these various forms of personal immortality results in varying degrees of mental and emotional doubt and distress and interferes with reconciliation and unity with God.

But, I have discovered perhaps the most insidious version of the “you will not surely die” lie ever foisted upon the human race and it goes like this:

  • God must use His power to punish the wicked in the end. The Divine One must inflict death. He must execute the disobedient. He must destroy!

Think about the subtle implications of the theory that the wicked die as a result of God using His power to cause their death. What does this implicitly mean? You will not die unless God acts to kill you. In other words, “you will not surely die, God might choose to kill you, but you won’t die from eating the fruit.”  It’s Satan’s lie alive and well in the heart of Christianity.

What did God say to Adam and Eve? Did he say, “In the day you eat I will be required to kill you?” Here is the exact quote from scripture,

And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” Genesis 2:16,17.

The Bible is clear, sin, if unremedied, results in death:

“The wages of sin is death” – Romans 6:23
“Sin when full grown brings forth death” – James 1:15
“The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction.” – Galatians 6:8

One of the founders of my church understood it the same way. She wrote:

We are not to regard God as waiting to punish the sinner for his sin. The sinner brings the punishment upon himself.His own actions start a train of circumstances that bring the sure result. Every act of transgression reacts upon the sinner, works in him a change of character, and makes it more easy for him to transgress again. By choosing to sin, men separate themselves from God, cut themselves off from the channel of blessing, and the sure result is ruin and death.  – 1 Selected Messages, pg. 235.2

Inspiration is clear, God is love and the source of life. Sin breaks the circle of love and separates us from the source of life. Because of this we die. When we accept the “lie” and say God must kill, not only do we make God out to be the source of death, but we support Satan’s original lie that sin does not result in death.

I can hear that wily foe laughing as he says, “Look, I never said God isn’t powerful. I said he isn’t good. If he could just control himself a little, reign in his anger and wrath, and not use his power to destroy us, if he would just leave us alone in our corner of the universe, then we could live forever in sin, because there is nothing wrong with sin. There’s something wrong with God.”

Yep, that same old lie – “you will not surely die, God might  kill you, but if he didn’t, well, we would be just fine” – still ravages millions as they live in fear of a god who they falsely believe stands ready to kill them.

Reject the lie and realize the truth that God IS love.  God IS life.  God is good and it is sin that damages, destroys, and separates us from our good, loving, and saving God. Don’t let Satan’s ancient lie separate you from the love of God! Embrace the truth and let the truth set you free!


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Tim Jennings, M.D. Timothy R. Jennings, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist, master psychopharmacologist, Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Fellow of the Southern Psychiatric Association, and an international speaker. He served as president of the Southern and Tennessee Psychiatric Associations and is president and founder of Come and Reason Ministries. Dr. Jennings has authored many books, including The God-Shaped Brain, The God-Shaped Heart, and The Aging Brain.
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