When I first started to consider this question, I thought to myself: “Oh, this is an easy-to-answer question--a couple scriptures and boom, it’s done.” Then I started to consider all the nuances that this issue has taken on in the form of honest questions. Here are two of them:
- If Adam was perfect, how could he sin? (The assumption here is that “perfect” implies that such a person would be incapable of doing wrong.)
- Since the scriptures teach that everything God does is perfect, why then do we accept the death of animals as normal but view death of humans as abnormal? (There are at least two things I can think of that need to be addressed here: 1) Does being perfect imply eternal existence? 2) Does God’s intentions and promises toward us differ from other life forms?)
For this first installment, I am going to start with the definition of perfect as used not only in Scripture, but also in common daily speech. Dictionary.com offers five definitions for the word. Given the context of any particular verse, most of those would fit one or more ways that Scripture uses the term. The following short list of synonyms links to specific verses that use the word perfect: flawless, indiscriminate, impeccable, fully capable, complete, matchless & uncompromised, without obstacles, able to get at the heart of matters.
For the most part, the concise definition I’ve settled on is that "perfect" means that which is completely suited for the intended purpose. One point that seems to be missed by some I speak with is that there is room for planned obsolescence within the definition of what “perfect” is. In the linked article, it states that manufacturers can and do actually design products to have a specific “life-duration.” We may not like it, but it is there. So, if your cell phone lasts around four years, as far as the industry is concerned, it outlived it’s life. (I participate in one online forum regarding cellphones and read several online industry website articles about the technology. Based on the numbers, it seems most people keep a particular make/model of phone for an average of 18 to 24 months. The market-life is even shorter. 2nd reference.)
So those that argue that “perfect” does not necessarily mean everlasting--you are right. But that is not all there is to the subject when considering what God’s Word, The Bible, says about humans. If you are interested, continue reading Parts 2 & 3.
Part 2: If Adam Was Perfect, How Could He Sin?
Part 3: Was Adam Perfect and Does That Mean He Would Have Lived Forever?
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