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July 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.”—Genesis 3:24 (NKJV)
Having recently lost a close family member, I’ve been reflecting on death a lot more than I usually do. Now I know what you may be thinking . . . That’s a real uplifting way to start a devotion, Pastor Dan. I can’t wait to read more!
Trust me, I get it. Death isn’t something we enjoy talking, reading, or even thinking about. It’s one of those subjects that none of us is quite comfortable with nor should we be. After all, we were originally created not to die, so when it befalls us or someone we love or know, there’s an awkward sense of wrestling with it. This is not how things should be. It’s not what we were made for or meant for! It’s such a struggle that I—and I’m sure I’m not alone—have often questioned why God would even allow such a thing as death. Couldn’t He just make it go away?
The answer is, yes! In fact, what we read above is that there was a tree in the Garden of Eden identified as the tree of life. Evidently, the fruit of this tree was so life-giving that it had the power to prolong life forever (Genesis 3:22)! That sounds like a good thing, right?
It would have been if mankind hadn’t sinned. But because of sin, humanity and the world became corrupted. No longer perfect, the creation and everything in it was now subject to decay, disease, and dysfunction. Life on earth was no longer what God originally wanted, but a faint shadow of the glorious existence He intended for us. It was a kind of life that should not be forever—just imagine if some of the tyrants and truly evil monsters that have walked this earth had the ability to live forever.
Consequently, God prevented mankind from partaking of this tree, and it’s reasonable to assume it was destroyed at some point (perhaps during Noah’s flood). This may seem cruel. Why not give humanity a way to side-step death? Again, in His great wisdom, God understood how truly miserable mankind would be if he were to live forever in a fallen state. As only God can, He transformed what seemed unimaginably bad into something incomprehensibly good.
The threshold of death has become the gateway of glory to all of us who have placed our faith in God’s promises through His Son, Jesus. When we die, we escape earth and all its fallen state. We enter into a new life, the perfect and incorruptible life that God originally intended for us. Death looks like our fiercest foe here on earth, when it’s actually God’s merciful means to usher us, in His perfect time, into another Eden.
DIG: Why do we inherently wrestle with the subject of death?
DISCOVER: How does our perspective of death differ from God’s?
DO: How might this truth be used to comfort someone you know? Share it with them today!
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.