The single greatest challenge to endure on this side is the death of someone close to us. The finality of the loss, combined with no longer being able to speak with that person, weighs heavily on our hearts. We might have lost our grandparent, our mom or dad, our brother or sister, an extended family member, a good friend, our spouse, or even our child. Whether their passing occurred suddenly or after much suffering over a long period of time, the pain is severe. How do we make sense of bad things happening to good people? Perspective Number Ten is: Physical death is the mercy of God.
At first blush, this idea might seem callous or naïve, so it requires investigating the Scriptures. God created Adam and Eve with humble hearts. They were fully satisfied in their relationship with Him. After falling prey to the tempter in the garden of Eden with pride as the inaugural sin, the first death took place. God paid for Adam and Eve’s transgression with an animal sacrifice that would be a forerunner of His ultimate sacrifice in Jesus Christ on the cross (see Genesis 3:21). Then the Creator revealed his merciful heart: “And the LORD God said, ‘The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever'” (Genesis 3:22). God willed that none of us created in His image would live among sin and death on this side for eternity.
Physical death is the mercy of God to take us to our eternal home with Him, free from the penalty, the power, and the presence of sin. God had previously provided Adam with the parameters for life and death: “And the LORD God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die'” (Genesis 2:16-17). Theologians have debated the meaning of “the knowledge of good and evil” (also see Genesis 2:9). The strongest connotation is that, as a result of the first sin, we as humans now determine for ourselves what is good, and what is evil; what is right, and what is wrong. We live in a world that has fallen short of God’s design. Consequently, God wants to bring us together with Him free from death.
Since the first sin, God has provided a way for each of us to experience life the way He intended (see Genesis 3:15). He knew Jesus Christ would live a perfect life, die the most horrific death devised by mankind, and resurrect from the grave, defeating death, once and for all, so you and I might have eternal life. Our life leads to His death. His death leads to our life. Surrender your heart to Christ, today, and enjoy abundant and eternal life in Him.