At the beginning of the 20th century the average person in Canada and the United States lived to about 47 years of age. Today, life expectancy in Canada has exploded to more than 80 years! Despite the fact that we are living longer, in better health, and in less pain than ever before, we still ask the question, “Why is there sickness?”
The answer lies in the first three chapters of Genesis. Our Creator literally gave Adam and Eve “the world” except for one single tree in the Garden of Eden, to daily remind the pair of God’s sovereignty in their lives. But in a desire to be like God, Adam and Eve sinned against their Creator by eating the fruit. Consequently, God pronounced certain curses against His creation.
One such curse is given in Genesis 3:19:
“By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
God pronounced physical death as the penalty for mankind’s sin against him.
Many can’t understand though why God would do such a thing. Isn’t God supposed to be a God of love?
Our Heavenly Father is definitely love, and in His perfectly balanced character He is also a wise and holy God who loves justice more than we will ever realize. A curse is simply a revelation—an expression—of God’s justice, and it is just as logical and fitting a punishment as we would consider jail time a logical and fitting punishment for car theft. But we have tremendous difficulty understanding this because we are the ones who have fallen under these curses. In Job 15:16 we read that man is vile and corrupt and “drinks up evil like water!” Rarely will the perpetrator of a crime agree with the punishment that is handed out.
When Adam and Eve broke the Almighty’s law, and His heart, God somehow broke their DNA, bringing about sickness, aging, and physical death that would be passed down to every subsequent generation. When God cursed mankind He also cursed the earth, opening the world up for the existence of harmful viruses and bacteria that have been responsible for the sickness and death of hundreds of millions of people over the millennia.
Along with physical death came something even worse—something that has also been passed down to each generation: spiritual death. The apostle Paul wrote this under God’s inspiring hand:
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
Our sins of pride, selfishness, hate, and deceit, pay out certain wages to us each day, resulting in paychecks of physical and spiritual death. Again, from God’s perspective, these wages are just as logical as the wages our employer pays us at the end of our work week.
But praise God that with these curses He also pronounced his plan of redemption (Genesis 3:15). One day His Son, Jesus Christ, would come to the earth to pay the penalty for our sins (c.f. Isaiah 53; John 3:16). Only by repenting of our sins, and accepting by faith Christ’s death on the cross as payment for our sins, can we can avoid spiritual death in Hell—something that is much, much worse that sickness or physical death here on earth.
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