Does UR fail by agreeing with Satan in Gen 3:4?


This has been the assertion by some of my church friends who insist that UR cannot be true because God Himself said that sin kills. Their formulation is:

God said you will die if you sin:
Satan said no, you will NOT die,
UR too says you will not die, therefore UR is aligned more with Satan than God.
Therefore UR is wrong.

Have any of you encountered this tactic and if so, how did you handle it?

For me it seems this brief conversation in Genesis cannot contain the entirety of meaning of what was being talked about. We don’t know if death is spiritual and/or physical. I fully agree that apart from God life IS not possible; that in important (and as yet undetectable ways, to us anyway) God also sustains life.

So I have seen this Genesis conversation to mean, at least, something like this:

“Leave me, and you’ll die. It seems that, right now, I’m the only one fully aware of how this “works” so you’ll have to trust Me. If you don’t, and turn to a non-God option, I will keep you alive UNTILL you eventually figure it out and freely chose me. Yes, death IS a hypothetical reality, and it’ll really ‘kill’ me if you choose this path, but I must allow for it’s possibility because of free will. However, I also allow for My ability to get through to you and you will NOT forever choose the ‘non-God’ option.”

OK – I admit I imported some UR ideas from later in the bible story in rereading Genesis…

How do you handle this story and concept??



My EU doesn’t say that there is no death or hell, but that God will never stop offering redemption.


UR does not deny that sin has consequences, but simply says that the consequences are not eternal in temporal duration, so there is no agreement with satan… and thus no anti-UR argument to even address.


I understand Satan’s claim as an ontological challenge: that he (and other rebels, though really he wouldn’t want any other rebel to be this way :wink: ) can be like the Most High, existing on our own. If we rebel against the source of our existence, then apart from the grace of God we’re going to die (Satan included).

Of course, apart from the grace of God we would cease to exist anyway, whether or not we are sinners. So being a sinner doesn’t change this. (Ironically, that’s what Satan would like to believe! :laughing: ) When we sin, we are the ones doing something that will lead to the total death of non-existence. But God (unless annihilationism is true) keeps His faithfullness to us regardless.

What complicates matters is that we are always faced with a choice of deaths to choose from. We ought to be choosing the death of submission that the Son Himself chooses from all eternity in loyalty to the Father (and by which the Son, in servanthood, creates all not-God reality). Even unfallen angels have to choose this holy death, in cooperation with the Son, or else choose rebellion against God. Ironically, the greatest rebels are seeking to have their own life by not submitting to this holy death along with the Son–but no entity can exist apart from the self-existent One (Who Himself submits to death not only so that we derivative entities can live but so that He Himself can, paradoxically, continue self-existence: God self-begotten eternally acting to surrender to God self-begetting Who eternally acts to generate the Son.)

We have to die even more as sinners than we would otherwise have had to die-into-life in cooperative solidarity with God the Son. And apart from the grace of God, that sinful death would be total non-existence. The choice is still ours, every time we are faced with a choice to sin or not: to act again toward the death of non-existence, or to act with God toward the death that leads to sharing God’s own life. But God’s choices in the matter take precedence: we cannot force God to allow us to achieve non-existence (and it would be impossible for us to have anything more than derivative existence, so neither can He ‘allow’ us to exist freely ‘on our own’.) Neither can we force God not to act toward leading us to choose the death that we ought to have been choosing: dying with Him into life, giving our life (which we are given by God) for the sake of other people.

Just as God Himself eternally does. :slight_smile:

So, since I vehemently disagree with Satan, that we cannot not be dying (one way or another), then neither do I fail this challenge. :sunglasses:

What I find ironic, though, is that traditional damnationists have a peculiar tendency to agree with Satan themselves, that by sinning we will in fact begin to exist “apart from God”, even if this is in “hell”!

(Some traditional damnationists manage to avoid this by thinking more clearly about what they are saying; and of course annihilationists intrinsically don’t have this problem. Usually. Weirdly enough, in the past year I actually spoke with an avowed annihilationist who, when pressed on his doctrine, began to speculate that we would still continue existing on our own, apart from God, despite having been “annihilated”! :open_mouth: But I can’t say I’ve found this to be a usual result among annihilationists.)

So, TV: you might ask your friends whether they believe sinners will eventually continue existing “apart from God”, “totally separated from God”, etc. If so, they’re the ones failing the Gen 3:4 test. :wink: My own reply would be otherwise fairly similar to yours, I think.


In Genesis there is no chance for an eternally sinful soul once the tree of life is blocked.

Tell them to put that in their theological pipe & smoke it. :smiley:

The garden was an obvious set-up for things to come down as they did. The dust returns to the earth. The serpent (cunning deciever) says “You will not die” (ie: “you are an eternal soul”. God says “Nah - I told the truth, you are dust which will die”).

So the church is still aligned with the lie of the serpent.

Sneaky little son of a gun, eh?



A wee bit more context into how the minds who challenge me think about this. We are in a tradition that holds to annihilation of the wicked. (SDA) Further, they hold that there is no such thing as a disembodied soul whose existence is guaranteed. And that at death, we merely “sleep” till the resurrection; for good or bad. ie first res is to eternal life, second res is to eternal damnation. Which is to say, some kind of “state” where we become “as if we never were”. So that’s the culture in which I was born, raised, and now worship. All very sacred you know.

Now I very much see and agree with the notion that we become, theologically, what our premises allow (or maybe compel?) us to become. (That said, and maybe for another thread, I have also been charged with embracing premises that enable or allow or compel, UR because that’s where I WANT to end up…. hmmm) So I’ve long held that annihilation is preferable to eternal hell (most here would agree I think) – as if those are the only two options. Except they are not the only two options. Now I need to include not only hell, (anathema for those of my upbringing) but a hell in which God continues to “hound” us and which will, eventually be empty. Hell as a place of restoration. (How come no one here talks about Purgatory?)

Back, then, to the language at the tree of deception. I very much resonate with what Jason has said; it seems at core a basic resentment by Satan that he cannot be a “first cause” like God is. And it’s almost a challenge to God to force God to make him (Satan) a “first cause”. Which of course is not possible. Even for God. And so maybe we can see “sin” as our tendencies to insist on existence apart from God. As if God’s way is somehow NOT the best for us.

So, as a matter of simple fact, it seems that IF it were possible for us to leave God, we would, in fact, die – as in annihilation death. But the question as to how that is even possible in a universe where life itself is contingent on God becomes quite real. So God’s dilemma, in a certain way, can be seen in that IF he allowed one to become annihilated, in all likelihood He might be accused of doing the killing Himself. (Hence my interest in the ethics of a killing God; see my ? to TT) And if seen as a tyrant king (ie worship Me or I’ll kill you) then all subsequent “worship” would logically emerge from fear. Love of course is the proper motive for the only acceptable worship, and not fear. (This dynamic itself rules out eternal hell for me.)

So, in a really cool way, the depths of which I’m just beginning to realize, it is as if God replies to this charge of Satan’s by sending His Son; the Christ. The premise of this story is stunning; the very source of life (per Paul 1 Cor 1:15-20) Himself comes as “subject” to His own creation. And, as if to demonstrate the potential depths of depravity when one leaves the creator, this creation kills this God. But it turns out to be an utterly impotent act; and utterly powerless. For how is it even possible to take the life OF the First Cause?

Thus it seems quite likely that the Cross of Christ renders the challenge of Satan at the tree nonsense. What Satan imagined simply IS not possible. (That is, life apart from God) And so one way in which Jesus “saves” is by His willingness to be so faithful to the Father as to come and demonstrate this truth of life. It was a huge bluff by Satan; Jesus “called” that bluff. (Lest it seem that I use these poker terms as if I actually understand the game, you’d be wrong. I have no clue how poker is played!! Someone help me here; are these terms appropriate??)

So what I’m suggesting (idea still in embryo) is that we see, this early (ie Genesis 3;4) a foundation being laid for the reality of UR….
No, it’s not all worked out in my mind…



LoL! Well, by advice went out the window quick as they are already into what I stated. :blush: