New Defender's Study Bible Notes
2:17 not eat of it. For true fellowship with God (having been created in His image), man must be free to reject that fellowship. The restriction imposed here by God is the simplest, most straightforward test that could be devised for determining man’s volitional response to God’s love. There was only one minor restraint placed on Adam’s freedom and, with an abundance of delicious fruit of all types available, there was no justification for his desiring the one forbidden fruit. Nevertheless, he did have a choice, and so was a free moral agent, capable of accepting or rejecting God’s will.
2:17 die. “Thou shalt surely die” could be rendered, “Dying, thou shalt die!” In the very day that he would experimentally come to “know evil,” through disobeying God’s Word, he would die spiritually, being separated from God’s direct fellowship. Adam would also begin to die physically, with the initiation of decay processes in his body which would ultimately cause his physical death.