“To live is to die.”
Or so they say. But weren’t we created to live forever?
My grandfather passed away last weekend. So naturally I’ve been thinking a lot about death and how unnatural it is. It always feels jarring, even when it’s expected. Because nothing can prepare us for something we weren’t created to experience.Preview(opens in a new tab)
When my grandfather passed, I wasn’t thinking about my grandfather’s earthly life but the hope of his eternal one. I didn’t have a very close relationship with my grandfather. He became a Christian later in life and wasn’t very involved in ours. But that didn’t make his death any less significant to process. I was there to watch my family mourn. I was there to honor his life and legacy. Instead of reflecting on the few memories we shared, attending his funeral turned my heart heavenward. I found myself rejoicing in the promise of eternity and the opportunity to make more memories with him in heaven than I did here on earth.
As I sat in our Florida rental car with my sleeping baby parked under the shade of the Spanish moss, I started to reflect on these truths of eternity. I found myself without pen or paper, but I managed to type these words into the notes on my iphone after watching my father carry his father’s casket to the grave:
Created in a garden filled with flora we didn’t plant
yet here we lie. Pushing daisies.
Our bodies swallowed up by a six foot grave.
The curse, ending our days.
But death isn’t final
until the Judge has had His final say.
He broke the chains of death and Hades.
The only chain we wear are daisies
that grow graveside until the day we rise.
Body in soil? Body and soul.
The stanzas of the poem I wrote reflect what was “on my heart”. Because of Christ, I know my grandfather will rise, body and soul. Because of Christ, I know he will never really stop living.
DeatH. Natural or Unnatural?
“From dust we were made and dust we will return,” Genesis 3:19 says. But it wasn’t supposed to be this way. This verse is the curse. Romans tells us that the death we experience is the result of sin (Romans 6:23). It was not part of God’s good design. We were created to live forever!
You would think this is a universal belief of the Christian faith. However, I was surprised to discover that not all Christians agree on these doctrines of life and death. The scientific theory of evolution actually requires death to explain the origins of our species. So in order to reconcile Theistic Evolution, some Christians have compromised these beliefs, reworking the scope of the curse to only refer to spiritual death being ushered into the world. For them, natural death always existed as part of God’s “very good” plan (Genesis 1:31).
I don’t know about you, but as someone who just lost their grandfather, that doesn’t sound “very good” to me. Nor does it agree with the character of a God who loves life and hates death (Proverbs 8:36).
If the curse of death was only spiritual, what point would there be in Jesus’ physical death and resurrection? From natural death to the increase of pain in childbearing… the curse of sin bears physical ramifications. And so does our redemption. The gospel truth is that God redeems the spiritual as well as the physical. The sin of man ushered death into our lives and the sinless Christ redeems all of us, body and soul. I’m not willing to compromise on that beautiful truth! And I hope you’re not either. Because when death strikes, it is this hope that resonates with your heart the most.
John 6: 40, “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”
Philippians 3:20-21, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”
ETERNITY IN OUR HEARTS
From the very beginning, God has “set eternity in the human heart.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). In the Garden of Eden, we were never told we couldn’t eat from the Tree of Life, only the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. So one can infer that Adam and Eve had the freedom to eat of the Tree of Life and enjoy eternity with the Creator in His creation. We weren’t created to die. We were created to live forever!
Yet we forsook eternal life for the forbidden fruit. And after sin ushered death into this world, it was then that we were forbidden to eat from the Tree of Life.
Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” (Genesis 3:22Genesis 3:22)
Was this an act of punishment? Or an act of mercy? I think the latter.
Think about it. Would we even want to live in this sin-cursed world forever? God, in His great mercy, protected us from eating of that second tree and being forced to live eternally in sin. God had a far better plan of redemption through Jesus Christ. With His plan, there will be no more sin and no more curse, spiritual or physical, in the New Heaven and the New Earth.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
Death won’t always be an unwelcome enemy, because death doesn’t have the final say. This life is a gift, and eternal life is a promise to those who are in Christ (John 3:16).
As we laid my grandfather in his grave, I was reminded that our years aren’t really etched in stone on the latter side of hyphens. All will rise on Judgment Day (2 Corinthians 5:10). Some to eternal life. Others to ultimate death (Matthew 25). We know that our Creator God desires life, not death, for everyone (2 Peter 3:9). It’s why He sent His son (John 3:17), and it’s why He continues to give us time to repent and turn to Him. Will you?