This is interesting! I am learning about this, and I do not mean to be argumentative.
As I was writing my last post, I looked up Romans 6, and also Genesis 2 and 3, to see if Scripture tells us that death is punishment. It is not clear.
In matters of employment, wages are neither a gift nor a punishment, but the exchange of work for money according to an agreement. Why did Paul write “wages”? I am not sure. Elsewhere in Romans 6, Paul seems to be saying that we choose by our actions. Sin leads to death. Righteousness leads to sanctification and, with God’s help, to life. That language could be consistent with the view that death is a consequence.
In Genesis, God tells Adam that if he eats the forbidden fruit, he will die. God did not say he would slay Adam, or that he would institute death as a punishment. He just said “in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” To me, that sounds like consequence. Later on he tells the woman that he will intensify the pain of her childbearing. That sounds more like punishment. Then he tells Adam some other bad news but also says “cursed is the ground because of you.” If Adam caused it, it is more like a consequence of his actions.
I am not saying I’m right and you’re wrong, but clearly I am working on the assumption that God is merciful and would not harm us, and yet gives us the freedom to harm ourselves. In this regard, I imagine God is like the father of the prodigal son. He did not punish his son. He did not deprive his son of his share of the inheritance. The son did that for himself.