Had Adam Not Eaten of the Tree
By Rabbi Shlomo Nachman © May 24, 2019

Rabbi, a quick question:
According to Meam Loez, Adam was immortal before eating tree of knowledge of good and evil, there was no death on earth. According to Rabbi Stuart Federow, Adam was mortal before eating tree of knowledge. What is the truth?
Great question.
I believe the difficulty here is a matter semantics and Western ideology rather than objective truth. Both sources are correct.

In reality there is only Ain Soph (unmanifested HaShem) (Isaiah 45:5). Adam was created at a certain point in time and so he was never truly eternal (i.e. as an embodied entity he had a beginning unlike the Creator, Who alone is actually eternal), from one corect perspective.

From another perspective Adam, like everything else, emerges from HaShem and hence is eternal, since there is only HaShem (which is difficult to understand since the entities have self existence, both experientially and Scripturally, but that is another topic).

According to the text, prior to choosing to utilize his free will through his Yetzer Ha-ra (negative inclination) Adam (and Chava) existed in a state of oneness/balance with the Creator, like the angels, and hence was, like them, not subject to death. In common usage, we might say that makes them "eternal."

After the choice was made however the two came under natural law and self-responsiblity, hence were destined to physically die (Genesis 2:17). As a result of their choice, Elohim clothed them in mortal flesh (Genesis 3:21 ) and they became subject to physical deterioration and eventual death. But also, to the potentialities that freedom afforded them through their choice. Both are true. Since the Soul never dies their choice activated the process of gilgul neshamot ("the rolling of souls generation by generation"), L'dor v'dor.

What would have happened had Adam and Chava not decided to activate their free will by choosing the path of yetzer ha-ra is a matter of conjecture. I assume they and their descendants would have existed in a blissful albeit ignorant state of being similar to the angels.

Of course HaShem exists simultaneously throughout what we conceive as time and eternity (past, present and future) and hence knew the choices they (and we) would make, and so in truth, everything is perfect and according to the Divine Plan. Baruch HaShem. Both seemingly good and the seemingly negative are for our benefit.

Thanks to Adam and Chava, in the Olam Haba (the World to Come) the Perfected Community will live and experience the potentiality offered to Adam and Chava, but now as fully enlightened beings, hence "higher" than the angels. Despite the temporary pain and sorrows experienced by the human race, and the entire creation for that matter, in the end their choice will be shown to have been a wise one as the human race one day arises to our potentials as the fully conscious children o G-d. The eventual results of our shared experiences l'dor v'dor will be truly amazing!

Rather than being an "original sin" as some conceive, the choice o Adam and Chava brought about an "original blessing" that is yet to be fully realized.

Hope this helps.

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