This question came up recently, why is the God of the Bible known as ‘the Living God’? My first thought was, well, he is literally called ‘the Living God’ a few dozen times in scripture, so, there ya go. But that’s a little too obvious. So, I gave it some more thought, and this is what I came up with...
The God of the Bible is the God of life. That’s evident from the very beginning. The first chapter of Genesis is all about God creating a place where life can exist and as soon as it was ready, He made man in His own image and breathed life into him.
So, on the flipside of the coin, it would make sense that rejecting the living God, would naturally lead to death, and anything that was dead could not exist in the presence of the God of life.
This brought up another question that had popped in and out of my head over the years, why was death the punishment for eating an apple? Seems a little harsh. Of course, I’m referring to Adam and Eve and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
According to scripture (1 Timothy 2:14), Eve was deceived, disbelieved God’s Word and then disobeyed God’s Word. Adam was not deceived, he simply disobeyed God’s Word.
Genesis 3:3 ‘…God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.’
Genesis 3:4 ‘And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:’
Genesis 3:6 'And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.'
Considering that He is the God of life, and that all things were created by His Word (John 1:1-4), it would follow that not believing God’s Word and not obeying God’s Word would naturally result in death. Which is exactly what happened.
So, skipping past the sacrifices, life is in the blood, the necessity of Jesus substitutionary sacrifice on the cross, it can now be understood why our salvation is only by His grace, through faith in Him and obedience to His Word (Ephesians 2:8, Hebrews 11, James 2:26).
So, it's not so much that He is punishing us for disbelief or disobedience. Death is the natural consequence of rejecting life. It stands to reason, how can something that is dead exist in the presence of the Living God? It can't. Thus, the redemption plan.