Friday, November 1, 2013

The Aberration of Death

Plaenitz Rathenow Grabkreuze
Recently, someone in my church family lost a relative in a motor vehicle accident.  The young lady was only 16 years old.  The family is devastated.  Six years ago, when my husband's grandfather passed from this world, there was much weeping and mourning. He was 92.  When my sister's ex-husband died, I felt the gut wrenching pain of not knowing if his soul was secure.  Yet, when my grandfather died six weeks after being baptized, I still felt pain.  Young, old, Christian, non-Christian, death is painful.  We could argue that we are not mourning for them but for ourselves and our loss, but I think it is more than that.  Death jars us because it is wrong.

Despite what some philosophies and religions teach, death is not the balance to life, nor is it a part of the "circle of life."  Death is an aberration.  When God created the world, there was no death.  Biblically speaking, it's possible even animals were not killed for food. God mentions giving plants as food for both man and animals, but He doesn't give animals as food until after the Flood (Genesis 1:29-30; Genesis 9:2-3).  It is the world before death that God called "very good" (Genesis 1:31).  The first death was not recorded until after Adam and Eve sinned, when God made clothing of skins for them when he drove them out of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:21-24).  When sin entered the world, death entered the world as well (Romans 5:12), but it was never a part of God's perfect plan for His children.  

If God's will is done in heaven (Matthew 6:10), then that must mean his perfect plan does not include death.  In heaven, there is no death (Revelation 21:4).  It is no wonder, then, that the idea of death shakes us to our very core.  Death is not God's will!  It is a consequence of sin in the world, starting with the death of Adam and Eve and ending when Jesus returns to call us home.

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. (1 Corinthians 15:20-26)

This is why we can rejoice.  Jesus proved that He can overcome death, and that he will defeat it for all of us.  

So I say that we should mourn death.  We should mourn that we live in a world that is dying day by day as a result of sin.  When the 16 year old is taken away from us, why should we smile bravely and say it was God's will? God's will does not include death, however inevitable it may be. Can He use death and suffering for His glory?  Absolutely. We see that in the death of Lazarus.  Even then, Jesus wept with Mary and Martha. We can weep and mourn too knowing that Jesus joins us.

Jesus also gives us comfort.  He comforts us with the knowledge that He has overcome death, and that losing this perishable body means we can put on an imperishable one. When we go to join those that have gone before us, it will be forever.  Then we can sing, "Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" (1 Corinthians 15:54-55).

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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