Death is coming for everyone. That’s a bad thing, but it’s not the worst thing.
I believe God meted out the curse of death to spare humanity from themselves. As he banished the fallen couple from paradise, God commented:
The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever. (Genesis 3:22 NIV)
Satan’s offer to the woman, “you’ll be like God, knowing good from evil,” wasn’t a complete lie. It came to pass, but it wasn’t a desirable outcome because it was the result of personal ambition.
Personal ambition is the essence of sin. Through it, we divorce our spirits from the mutual love at the heart of the Trinity. Ambitious people grasp at sovereign, sole proprietorship of the world and in so doing shake themselves free of the lifegiving embrace of God. They seek to gain the whole world and lose their souls.
Fallen people walk the earth as the living dead. Restless. Predatory. Ever hungry and never satisfied. Zombie movie and TV shows testify with one voice that there is, in fact, a scenario far worse than death.
Physical death is the lesser of two evils. It mitigates the awful outcomes of spiritual death. But God has always planned to do more than control the damage. He means to reverse it entirely through Christ.
To reverse the damage done by Adam’s sin, Christ came as the anti-Adam, as this early hymn of the church affirms:
Christ was truly God.
But he did not try to remain
equal with God.
Instead he gave up everything
and became a slave,
when he became
like one of us.
Christ was humble.
He obeyed God
and even died
on a cross.
Then God gave Christ
the highest place
and honored his name
above all others. (Philippians 2:6-9 CEV)
What’s our ambition? If it’s something other than to follow Christ in his humiliation and abject submission to God, then we unwittingly aspire to die. If we can relinquish our ambitions and cling to Christ, we’ll start living today and keep living forever.