The serpent could say, from a certain point of view, that he didn’t really lie to the woman. They ate the fruit and did not immediately fall over and stop breathing. Their eyes were opened and God affirms that since they have eaten, they have “become like one of us in knowing good and evil.” The death, then, that God meant was not the death that usually comes to our mind, the “returning to the dust from which you came.” God meant a far worse death than the merely physical. We have a hard time understanding the gravity of this.
Man was cut off from the tree of life, driven out from the presence of God, cursed, and bound under sin. God gave the law, “you shall not eat,” knowing that sin would find an opportunity through the law to put man to death. Paul says that God “consigned all to disobedience, that He may have mercy on all.” But rather than flee to that mercy, we hide ourselves in darkness or under the cover of the work of our own hands. As much as we bear the image of the man of dust, we are enemies of God – what foolishness! – and walk about dead in our trespasses and sin.
Of course, the resurrection is the undoing of this death. We eat from the tree of life which is Christ’s body. In Christ, we approach the throne of grace with confidence. In Christ, we are blessed with every spiritual blessing. In Christ, we are set free from the bondage of sin. In the resurrection, we put on the imperishable, we put on immortality. The resurrection is the covering of our nakedness – it removes our shame and clothes us in glory.