Death, Thou Shalt Die

Easter is coming and thank God it is. We need the reminder that God is not fond of death. Sometimes we think God is cozy with it, that death is one of his favorite tools. It isn't. He hates death. God is out to rid the world of it. If I can in this tight, tiny space, let me explain why.

The whole story of the Bible is the story of God ridding the world of death. The story begins with God breathing into Adam so that Adam (Eve, too, of course) has Life with a capital L. And then a warning about a path that, if taken, would kill. Adam takes that path and Life is destroyed. God who feels this loss as keenly as Adam enters the garden asking the lonely question, “Adam, where are you?” Death has been loosed. Romans will tell us that Adam no longer reigns. Death reigns. The rest of the Bible tells the story of God’s war against death. It tells how he sent a Second Adam into the world to put things right. It tells how that new Adam went to the cross and died. It explains in Hebrews 2 why that man, God in flesh, became flesh. It says he did so to die. It says that he had to die so he could destroy the power of death from the inside out. God was on a mission to kill death. He did. At the cross death was fatally wounded. The result is it no longer reigns. Now, according to I Corinthians 15, Jesus reigns. “So he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” Mortally wounded death will one day finally be crushed. Revelation 20 closes with the final victory, death and the grave being thrown into hell. Death is finally dead. Revelation 21 opens with a clearly relieved God saying, “Finally there is no more death.” With that the broken story we have been living closes and the real story, the long awaited story, of God and human beings begins again in a new, deathless. This is the story the Bible tells.

People argue with me about this sometimes. I understand. There is space for only one of their objections. “Doesn’t Matthew 10:29 say about sparrows, ‘not one of them will fall to the ground without the will of your Father.’”? Short answer: no it does not. The words “the will of” are not in the original Greek. Translators sometimes add words to try to clarify meaning. Here they added “the will of” and did not clarify the meaning. They changed it. Pick up an old KJV Bible. There it says, “one of them shall not fall to the ground without your Father.” The meaning is that God notices what death does even to birds and is compassionately present. It does not mean He wills their death. Even a sparrow’s death grieves God. This is why Jesus was so angry at Lazarus’ tomb. God hates death.

I do not believe it is God who pulls the trigger when someone is murdered. I do not believe He is behind accidents. God is not behind death. To God death is an enemy. He is pouring His own blood into stopping it. He has and He will.

When our loved ones die ours is not the only heart that breaks. The Great Heart at the center breaks, too, and vows Life will win. Easter proves it.