I hate death.
That's such an obvious thought that it's almost absurd, don't you think?
And I don't even feel like I have as much of a right to feel that way as so many others. I've known people who were there one day and gone the next, but never a close friend or family member. The closest I have come were my cats that had to be put to sleep.
That was horrible.
Since I have had such a small taste of it, I can only have the tiniest idea of what loss is like.
Anytime I am given "the small picture," I am reminded of how God has the bigger picture. So, the question becomes, not "Why do we have death?" but rather, "What purpose does God have for death?"
Isn't that the same thing?
No. The former question asks how death fits into our world, while the latter question seeks to know an answer from God's view.
How does God experience human death? Does He?
I believe part of the reason God gave us death was as a way to get a glimpse into His experience with the human race. Here is how I get to that point, step by step:
1. Before man sinned, he walked and LIVED with God (Gen. 2). There was no death, anywhere, in the animal kingdom. I'm sure this was a wonderful time that both God and Adam enjoyed.
They could be together.
2. When he sinned, man could no longer walk with God and be in His physical presence. (Gen. 3:24) God is perfect, and can't commune with imperfection. Their relationship changed.
Sin caused a separation.
3. Even though God knew man would sin, I think He was torn up by it in a way that felt like He was being ripped apart. (Luke 15:7, Psalm 31) When sin entered man's life, it became a part of who he was. He would ALWAYS be a sinner.
Sin caused a PERMANENT separation.
4. Death was the curse placed upon man as a result of man's sin (Gen. 3:19). What is death? A PERMANENT end of life. That may sound obvious, but look at the connection between the offense and the punishment:
The offense: A means of keeping God PERMANENTLY away.
The punishment: Being put PERMANENTLY away from the life man was in.
5. It is important to remember that there are two deaths: the first death, that every almost every human will experience, when he is removed from life on earth, and the second death that not everyone has to experience, when man could be removed from God's eternal presence. The first death is more of a change in status and is not a permanent state, but the second death changes everything. The second death IS permanent. (Is. 13:9, Rev. 20:6)
So in other words, God provided an answer and room for GRACE after the punishment.
6. God knew what the effect of sin was. (Ps. 37:38) I don't think man could ever grasp it. In order to understand it, man would have had to have known a life without God. And God had always been there. He suffered the first loss.
And He knew the PAIN of the SEPARATION.
7. So man was given life and death. When experiencing the death of other people, man would experience a seperation. Someone would be there one day, the next, and so on. Then one day, the person would not be there. Death meant never coming back.
There was PAIN in knowing the PERMANENCE. Of course, the pain was proportional to the depth of the relationship, helping us understand both at the same time God's sorrow at our sin and His love for us.
7b. Can we beat it? Can we choose not to create relationships, and thereby avoid the pain of separation in death? Yes, but in doing so we will never experience love either. What is worse? Experiencing love and having it taken away? Or never experiencing it at all? God chose to love us, and love us deeply. (Rom 5:8)
8. After Jesus died on the cross, He LIVED, proving that death (permanent separation from God) can be supernaturally overcome. (John 11:25) The permanence was undone by God's love. It was the ONLY thing that could.
See how it comes full circle? Even though we have sinned and experience death, we will live and walk with God again, just as Adam did before sin entered the world. And through the experience, we are drawn a little closer to God by seeing what it's like to be separated from a loved one.
Is there hope in this message? Yes! Will we see it when we are mourning? Probably not, but here it is. God knows your pain when you lose a loved one. He loses them every day.
Also, it is important to remember that I have given one reason for death that answers one question. God has ALL the answers. Therefore, there are more answers, more perfectly explained than I could ever speak, to give a complete justification for this difficult experience. I'm glad God has all the answers. Sometimes, I'd like to know more of them, but a part of me is glad that I don't have to have that responsibility. I just have to know there is a reason, and we are not lost.
Other PERMANENT experiences God has given us: Marriage and Parenthood. I'd like to address these in later blogs. Stay tuned!
If you are looking for fiction writing that shows the love of God, please check out my books from the Angelmen series here.
It's the story of my life.
I love to eat. And what I love to eat is not what is best for my body. While I can say I do enjoy a good spinach salad, given the choice, it would not win out over cheesecake.
My favorite foods, in order, are:
So, yeah, I've got it bad.
The problem is that, even though I can look at a hundred and four unreadble ingredients on the side of a package, I only taste one – and it's good. Normally, when I eat French fries, they don't taste like they are slowly killing me. They taste pretty good. Good enough to eat more.
Sometimes, I'll feel it later. The grease form the fries makes my stomach complain.
Sometimes, I won't feel it later, but I'll notice its fatty remains later.
And all of it shows up later in a way I don't even feel or see at all, on my annual cholesterol report.
Satan works like this in our lives. He's been around for a while, you know. He doesn't live in hell. His home is right here on earth. We're told he is the prince of this world. And he's pretty comfortable here too. Or at least we've become pretty comfortable with his presence.
Scripture tells us Satan walks the earth looking for prey to devour. (I Peter 5:8) Do you see that happening? I don't. Sin doesn't rear its head like a wild animal, it rubs your ankles like a soft kitten. I see a lot of happy people doing what they want, little by little choosing to believe whatever makes them happy. Making themselves the authority they answer to.
Just like the ice cream I eat is slowly killing me through pleasure, Satan is slowly killing us with pleasure too. He is letting us have all the things we want, and we don't always realize when it is bad for us. The more things go our way, taste the way we like, the more it's possible for us to consider that maybe not every good and perfect gift comes from above. (James 1:17) Maybe we can do it on our own, without any help.
We can't. It's all part of the lie. Just like the lie that ice cream tastes so good, it can't be that bad.
Moving on. So, I don't weigh 800 pounds, and I have yet to have a cardiac episode. What's my secret?
Doing what I don't want to do.
Yes, that's right. I run. When I was a kid, I hated running. In the past few years, I've been trying to convince myself that I like it. But I'm convinced no one really “likes” running. It hurts! It's a pain.
It's the total opposite of all that stuff I love to eat – that suff that doesn't feel bad going down but is really bad for me. Running feels really bad going down, but is really good for me.
I've heard some people might actually like running. They have been doing it enough that their muscles know what to do without too much thinking. That surge of endorphins known as “runner's high” comes to them quickly. (I'll admit. That part is rather addicting.)
Running breaks down your muscles, little bit by bit, so that they can be rebuilt stronger when you're done. It forces your heart to beat faster to get the oxygen in your blood to the places in your body that need it. In short, it makes your body work better.
God will do that to us to. Because of the sinful world we live in, we need to be broken down, too. There are parts of us too that need to be exercised when all we want to do is sit around. We need to get up off our keisters and work!
If I didn't indulge so much in what was bad for me, I wouldn't have to run so much. (Between running and biking, I get in about 50 miles a week. That's a lot of donuts.) But if I ate perfectly, could I be completely sedentary?
Moot point. I could never eat perfectly. We have a world that is imperfect. Even if I ate all fruits and veggies, they could be contaminated with pesticides. Is it possible to eat perfectly? I don't know. Because I don't want to. I want the bad stuff. It's too enticing.
Are you catching the connection here? We can't be perfect. As long as we live in this imperfect world with all of Satan's beautiful distractions and brownie sundaes, we're sunk. One thing that this analogy doesn't make clear is how easy the work is we need to do. All we need to do is accept his Gift of Jesus. No running shoes required.
It's still going to be tough to live in this way too tasty world of comfort. So we need to make sure we keep running back to Him.
God provided a way for us. He made it so that we won't die. It might not seem as enjoyable as sin, but that's just because we have never known pure goodness.
Can you imagine the ice cream in heaven. New meaning for the word, “heavenly,” if you ask me. I can't wait to try it.
*Please note. This is meant to be a light commentary and not an exact theology.
Passion Under Grace,