Death and True Life
Men fear death no matter what Donne may pen, and youth think little of it. As one sees more sunsets and more hours turning into more funeral invitations, the ever-present elephant in the room becomes the inevitable end that awaits us all.
One day, someday, somehow, somewhere and for whatever reason, we will expire. Life will leave our sustained skeletal shell and we, as our friends and family know it, won’t be anymore. Our “I” will no longer exist.
We don’t last forever and ever since we were born we are dying, but have you ever wondered why? Sometimes the most obvious is the most overlooked.
For all the theological discussions that are had each day by millions of people around the globe, very few ever ask the simple question: why do we die at all? What causes deterioration in the first place? Why can’t we be born and then live forever? Too many times we accept death itself as a sort of music of the spheres that generates a silent hum and looming dirge. As Emily Dickinson once wrote –
As all the heavens were a bell,
And being, but an ear,
And I and Silence some strange Race
Wrecked, solitary, here.
Thankfully, God has given us the answer. The elephant’s mother gave birth to death and her name is SIN. She entered the world through one decision against God and so, too, did death.
“…through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men…” Romans 5:12
Ever since her appearance she has been mocked and coddled and ridiculed and denied, yet everyone knows her and feels the weight of her presence. Because of Adam’s transgression all of humanity died, first spiritually and then literally. At the Fall in Eden, what was good became not-good and the inherited corruption and degradation spread generation to generation even through the other created orders so that even now, we see the effects.
Death is the punishment and just retribution for sin and all deterioration and decadence and destruction and disease are the parts and pieces of God’s curse upon this rebellious and self-glorifying world. We don’t like that answer. We kick against its implications. We fight and create idols to cope with our denial. It’s true anyway.
But God will redeem this wretched place and we are not without hope for He has provided a means of renewal and a way of reconciliation through the person of Jesus Christ. You will not escape the death of this life, but you can escape the final judgment in the next. It is all there by faith. Believing the message of the Cross frees us from the inevitable and brings us to true life.
“…There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” Romans 8:1-2