Why Do We Have to Die?

Certainly the most feared and hated aspect of human existence is death.

After all, don't we spend most of our lives trying to avoid it? We have seatbelts, health foods, hospitals, traffic laws - why?  Are they not all designed to help us avoid the ultimate catastrophe...death?

The Bible provides some solid, satisfying answers to this question...the question that seems to plague everyone from philosophers to small children. Why does God let people die?

Let's go back into history to the first death, and from there discover the cause for our own...

It was a pleasant day in the beautiful Garden where Adam and Eve lived. They had it all, literally. The ultimate contentment, peace, joy, fulfillment, pleasure, and relationship with each other and with God. He had provided them with perhaps the most blissful experiences ever known by a human being. On a regular basis, they would walk in the Garden with the Lord in the cool of the day, experiencing divine friendship. They had no fear of disease, death, pain, sorrow, or evil -- they didn't even know these things could exist. Adam and Eve had absolute security, liberty, and meaning in life.

You would think they had enough to satisfy them forever -- but one day everything changed. Life, as they knew it, came to a bitter end.  And the life we all know -- the life where bad things happen and everyone dies -- began.

On that tragic day, Eve was walking along among the beautiful fruit trees of the Garden. She might have been thinking of how wonderful her life was -- how wonderful it was to exist. But then "it" caught her eye. The sunlight shone off the polished skin of the "forbidden fruit." That glitter of temptation to break the one rule God had given them.

No human to eat from this particular tree. A simple enough command, not complicated or hard to obey. In fact, whatever God's reasons for the commandment might have been -- given all the blessings the first couple could enjoy, what would ever compel them to dishonor their Creator?  With the thousands of other pleasureous and amazing options at Adam and Eve's disposal, one would wonder how this single fruit could ever tempt them.

But it did.

Genesis 3 in the Bible describes how the devil came to the Garden in the form of a serpent (you always wondered why snakes seemed creepy, right?) and tempted Eve to do the wrong thing -- convincing her that God was hiding wonderful things from her. She believed the lies of the serpent, and from there things when downhill. She shared the fruit with her husband, Adam.  Now, both of these people knew that God's law stated that if someone was to eat from that tree, they would surely die.

God stuck with His Word -- the punishment that He had promised.  How His heart must have broken as He looked at a human future now polluted with sin's destruction and the effects of death and decay in the world. Things were not meant to be so.  But He had given humans a real choice. He had made them managers of earth.  Now they would live (and die) with their decision.

In short, the reason for death is what the Bible calls "sin."

Sin is breaking the Laws of the Creator; rebelling against His plan and His ways. All sin separates us from God and from His plan for our lives. Romans 6:23 tells us that "the wages of sin is death." The payment we deserve for our sin is death; that is our wage. And ultimately, that is why death is in the world. Not because God created the world to be that way, but because we, the human race, rebel against Him and bring judgment upon ourselves.

This wasn't God's purpose for His creation. The Bible quotes God as saying: "I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked." And again, "The Lord...is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Pet. 3:9)

In the Bible, two types of death are mentioned: physical death and spiritual death. Physical death is now the irreversible trend of our world; ever since sin entered into the hearts of the first humans, physical death is a curse extended to all of us. Yet an even more horrifying type of death is spiritual death--dying in your spirit so that you are unable to know God.

Adam and Eve (along with the rest of us) were created for a purpose -- to know God personally as a Father, Friend, and Lord. Yet because humans are spiritually "dead" in sin, they can never fulfill this life purpose; not now or in eternity.

Remember, though, that God is still all-powerful and loving. He doesn't want His beloved creations to remain separated from His love. He created us so that we could be His children, His servants, His friends. That is why, contrary to what we humans deserve, God has provided a way out of the mess we're in.  He'll still respect your choices, just as He did the choices of Adam and Eve.  But He does offer you a way out. 

That's the reason Jesus came.


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