Section 7: Salvation – Part 2
Week 4: Glorification
Day 1: Death Is an Enemy God Intends to Defeat
Death is a reality of life. From the moment we’re born we’re subject to it. Death and decay surround us. That shouldn’t be a surprise. Death is a natural part of being human, right? Well… it depends on what you mean by natural.
Go back to Genesis 2-3. We all know how it goes. God created Adam and Eve and put them in the garden. And in the middle of the garden were two trees. The Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Tree of Knowledge upstages the Tree of Life in the rest of the account because it’s the tree the serpent uses to trick Eve. She takes the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge and eats it. Then she gives it to Adam, and he eats it. As we know, everything goes downhill from there.
The Tree of Knowledge may play a bigger role in the Genesis account, but let’s focus on the Tree of Life for a moment. Its presence in the Garden is a reminder that death wasn’t part of God’s original design for us. Adam and Eve were human just like you and me. By definition that means they were mortal. On their own, they did not have the power to live forever. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they had to experience death.
God’s desire was to give them the eternal life they did not possess. That’s why the Tree of Life is in the Garden. Had Adam and Eve obeyed God, they would have been allowed to eat from the Tree of Life and live forever. Having sinned though, they (and we along with them) were cut off from it.
Death has been a cruel reality ever since. But it was not part of God’s original design. That is why Paul describes death as an enemy (1 Cor. 15:26). In the final analysis, it exists in the world only because of sin and, thus, represents a corruption of God’s good creation.
God doesn’t intend to let that situation stand though. Rev. 21-22 is a picture of what it will be like when God restores his creation. In Rev. 22:2 the Tree of Life makes another appearance. Why? Because death isn’t just an enemy. It’s an enemy God intends to destroy.
Read Rev. 21-22.
Do you see any connections between the picture in those chapters and the picture of the Garden of Eden in Genesis? If so, what significance do you think those connections have?