If you were not created to be eternal and if death is not part of the curse, then we cannot help but come to where we began - namely, that God (not Satan) instituted death. That death is not some kind of evil, but rather, that it is simply a brokenness.
Death is a brokenness in our relationship with God. It is a brokenness in our design in which we have determined not to be dependent upon God any more. Which is, at its very core, the essence of sin itself - a rejection of God. A disconnection from God.
Which means that while it was always a possibility that you might die, sin essentially guaranteed it.
Here is where we have to start using some very precise language. This doesn't mean that sin causes death, but rather, that death is a consequence of sin. A promised consequence of sin, by the way. And if it was promised, then it was promised by God, and that makes it a promise of God, and that makes it...good?
It does! Now, at this point, you might be thinking - okay, wait. The curses, like the ones on the edge of the Promised Land, were basically the same sort of thing, but they were curses. Doesn't being a curse make things bad?
Not really. They are bad from our perspective, sure. None of us likes to suffer. None of us wants to experience pain or hardship. For that matter, there aren't many of us who truly want to die. But the simple fact that something makes our lives more difficult or uncomfortable or unpleasant doesn't mean that that thing is, in and of itself, not good. (Or bad.)
This is the constant argument for discipline. Nobody wants to be disciplined. A lot of parents, especially today, don't like to discipline their children. It feels harsh. It feels shaming. It feels like it would necessarily cause a rift in a relationship and cause more trouble than it does benefit. But anyone who has embraced discipline knows that it truly is for good. We know this in our earthly discipline with our children (or as children of disciplining parents), and we know this in our relationship with a disciplining God.
The truth about God's promise, even in curses, is that they are, inherently good. They cannot be otherwise, as acts of a God who we know is good. So let's put this in the context that we're talking about this week: death.
God's promise (curse) of death is meant to ensure one thing: that you don't have to live life apart from Him. That's it. That if you're not tapped into the goodness, the life-sustaining hope, the amazing grace, the nearness, and the love of God, He won't make you live like that. In fact, He won't let you live like that. It's not how your life is supposed to be.
When Adam and Eve ate the fruit, their eyes were opened to all good and evil - specifically, they understood what life would be like without God. They had chosen that disconnect. They had chosen that rift in the relationship. Therefore, God said, they couldn't eat of the Tree of Life any more. They couldn't live forever. Not without that deep, abiding, sustaining connection with Him.
So death...was a gift. A beautiful gift of a good God.
It still is.
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