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There is no debate that separation from God is a spiritual death. However, the question relates to Adam's understanding of death. Did he understand death? No he did not. Did he understand the relationship between God and angels? No he did not. Did he understand that separation from God would lead to death? No he did not. Did death, as it relates to man and God exists? No it did not. Thus, how could Adam know or understand death?
God continued the punishment because He can't exactly go back on His word, now can He. He said it would happen. It happened.
That is not proof of understanding. She is just regurgitating (and adding) to what Adam told her.
The fact of the matter is, while in Paradise, Adam would not die, regardless of his mortality. He was living in the presence of God, who is Life. You cannot die in the presence of Life. Both Sts. John Chrysostom and Athanasius are in agreement on this issue, as the quotes I have provided, illustrate
If they truly understood what death was, do you honestly think they would have eaten the fruit? Of course not
You have a young child. You tell the child, 'Don't play with the knife or you will get a cut.' The child knows they will get a cut, but they don't understand what it means to get a cut. The child defies your 'commandment' and plays with the knife and gets a cut. Now, the child knows that you were right and understands what a cut is, not only is it a piercing of the flesh, but there is a great deal of pain and blood as a result.
Extend this to death, and they did not fully understand what death was. If they did understand death, they would not have believed the serpent and they would not have believed God was tricking them.
[Adam and Eve] believed pretty much everything they were told.
If you mistrust someone, then you would not care about that person or what he tells you. Adam and Eve put their trust in Satan and not God. They desired to become like God was so strong.
Adam and Eve were not stupid. They were pure and innocent. Which is why they believed everything they were told. These are qualities a child possess, purity and innocence. They believe everything they are told, even if they are contradictory.
Adam gave Eve God's commandment with no addition or subtraction. Children tend to add from their own imagination.
they were childlike. It's pretty apparent from the Genesis account that they were childlike intellectually.
in us all is the Spirit, who cries Abba Father, and fashions man into the likeness of God