Friday, November 4, 2011

The Beginning and End of Death

Death is generally not something we like to discuss or think about.  After all, it can be a depressing subject.  Most people go through life thinking about it as little as possible or pretending it doesn't exist.

It inevitably does come up when someone we know dies.  A recent example is when Steve Jobs died Oct. 5.  He was a visionary and former CEO of Apple.  His company is famous for the iPod, iPhone and iPad.  Countless people were saddened by his passing.

When people such as Jobs die, some questions come up we often ask ourselves.  Why do we die and why would God allow death into this world?  How did it all start?

The answer from the Garden of Eden

To find the answers we must go to the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden in Genesis.  At this point, there was no sin, death or suffering in the world.  This was the paradise we dream about.  In the middle of the Garden of Eden were the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil(Gen. 2:9).  God warned Adam not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil or death would follow(Gen. 2:17).

What happens next is likely the most famous story of the Bible.  A talking serpent convinces Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, disobeying God.  God then punishes Adam and Eve by cursing them and the earth.   He says to Eve:

"I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. " (Gen. 3:16 KJV)

This meant God increased the agony Eve and women would have during child birth and would be mastered by their husbands.  God says to Adam:

"Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."(Gen. 3:17-19)

Adam would have to struggle to make a living and will eventually die("unto dust shalt thou return").  This was the beginning of the hardships we face in the world today.

What isn't as well known is what happened after:

"And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever"(Gen. 3:22)

God said humans must not be allowed to eat from the tree of life, or they will live forever.  God did not want man to live forever in a corrupted state, so he placed Cherubim and a flaming sword to guard the path to the tree of life.  Without access to the tree of life, death was introduced.  Death wasn’t some cruel act God placed on us but was an act of mercy.


Something else is before Adam and Eve were cursed, God promised a redeemer.  God says this to the serpent, who was Satan(Rev. 12:9; 20:2).  

"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."(Gen. 3:15)

This marks the start of mankind's struggle against Satan.  Satan will cripple humanity.  However, a redeemer will deliver the fatal blow to Satan by bruising his head.  Who is this redeemer?  It’s none other than Jesus.

Sin entered the world through Adam, with death following(Rom. 5:12).  However, life will enter through Jesus(Rom. 5:17).  Jesus took the sting out of death(1 Cor. 15:54-55).

We can take assurance in eternity.  After this world ends, death will be thrown into the lake of fire(Rev. 20:14).  There it will never bother us again.

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