When God created Mankind, way back in the very beginning, we were not created to die, but to live, for our God is the God of the living, not of the dead. Yet death was a possibility:
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 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 from it you will certainly die.”
This is the first mention of death in Scripture, and isn’t it interesting that it came about with a free choice; the man could obey God’s simple and easy command, or he could choose to disobey and die. In the next chapter, we have the greatest lie ever told:
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman (3:4)
First, they died spiritually, for in their rebellion, they were cut off from God’s life-giving presence. Later, they died physically. This was not the way God wanted things to work out, and once again we are face-to-face with the amazing restraint of God, who created us with a free will, and let us make our choice to go against His will.
But that was not the end of the story!
Through a series of covenants, God began to re-establish a relationship with errant humanity, and in due course He established a Nation of people under His divine Law; Israel. Yet Israel was populated by a stiff necked people, prone to rebellion and disobedience, but God, ever faithful, sent His Son to Israel to redeem them from their rebellion against Him, and to re-establish His fellowship with humanity. As it turned out, the People of God for the most part rejected the Son of God, but not before He could establish a New Covenant between God and Man in His blood, that would change everything for those who believed and accepted His offer of salvation from sin.
Today, we find ourselves living in a messed up world full of strife and violence and great evil. Yet in spite of this, we also find ourselves with an amazing certainty of hope, for we know that even in the midst of the strife of this world, we are citizens of the Kingdom of heaven, made to be bearers of the very image of God and reconciled to Him as His servants. We know that in spite of our physical mortality, we will live eternally, for that was God’s purpose for humanity from the very beginning. Even now, we have the same choice as the first humans had in Genesis 2 and 3, to rebel against God and die, or to accept God’s grace and live forever.
To enter relationship with Jesus Christ is to accept His offer of grace and with it eternal life. We know that the day will come when our mortal bodies will give out, but the soul and spirit of Man is eternal, and our bodies will be raised imperishable on the last day. We will live with Him in a new earth forever more, as our most ancient of forebears did in the Garden, in perfect fellowship with God, and in the fullness of His Image and as an expression of who He is, as God intended us to be from the very dawn of time.