Heaven, earth and any leftovers - Unearthing the Truth

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Is everything all right?

Unearthing the Truth
Published by in Bible teaching · 3 August 2019
Tags: Deathhopeeverlasting_life
Unless the Lord decides to do something miraculous in the next week or so, the mortal body of my precious wife Ann will die. She has a problem in her liver which the medics can't cure, and she is now at home with an oxygen machine and lots of professional care. Ann has a stronger faith in God and in the truth of his Word than anyone I know, including me, and a few weeks ago when the prognosis was still uncertain she said, "If it is God's time for me I am not afraid to go home."
She can now hardly talk, but in the early hours of this morning she called to me and managed to say, "I want to know if everything is all right."
In one sense the answer to her question was obvious: "No, it isn't." Everything is far from all right, both for my wife and for the world as a whole. Death came into the world only as a result of Adam's sin (Romans 5.12), and Genesis makes it clear that if God hadn't expelled him and his wife from the Garden of Eden they - and we - would have lived for ever. (Genesis 3.22) So when we think about death, disease, war, starvation, murder, family breakdown, natural disasters and a multitude of other human and ecological afflictions it seems plain that almost nothing in the world is all right any more.
Nevertheless there are three facts that between them lead to the opposite conclusion. These three facts are like the posts and crossbar of a football goal - without all three the goal would not exist.
The first fact is that God himself is responsible for some of these afflictions. The Bible tells us that just as God was the creator of life so it was he who decided that Adam and his descendants would not live for ever. (Genesis 3.22,23; 6.3) Furthermore it was God who ordained that women would have pain in childbirth, that the ground would yield thorns and thistles as well as good things, and that men in general would have to work hard to stay alive. (Genesis 3.16-19) Of course it may be that for reasons we can't comprehend some of these curses were the inevitable results of sin rather than deliberate changes that God introduced, but even so he would still have been responsible for them in the sense that they would not have occurred if he hadn't chosen to give Adam freewill in the first place.
The second fact relates to the causes of human suffering for which human beings are responsible, which are almost certainly most of them. The fact is that God who, the Bible tells us, is kind and loving rather than cruel and vindictive, and does not delight at all in human suffering, nevertheless created us knowing that we would do such awful things to one another and cause one another such terrible and unnecessary suffering. Yet he still went ahead and made us!
So if God our creator is both directly and indirectly responsible for death and all the other forms of human suffering, how can that in any sense lead to the conclusion that everything is all right? It's because over the two posts there is a crossbar which is labelled, "God is love." (1 John 4.8) It is a God of love who brought the present situation into existence. It is not the awful result of random, amoral physical and genetic modifications with neither a goal nor a purpose. The crossbar tells us that God created this situation, and he did it because there was no other way of accomplishing his goal of giving us something far, far better than we would otherwise have been able to enjoy. Within this torn and tragic earth with all its suffering God is making people fit to live for ever without sin, people who will never again spoil the brand new earth he has promised to make for us, people who have turned to Christ to recreate them in the image of God, who have learned to love him and believe his promises as my wife Ann does, and who as a result will never die again. (John 3.16) The means of reaching that goal can sometimes seem unbearable right now, but it is because only a punishing training regime can lead to the goal of olympic gold and the reward that makes all the preparation for it worthwhile. (Romans 8.18; 1 Peter 1.3-9)
So in reply to Ann's question, "Is everything all right?" I answered, "Yes, everything is all right. You have a very serious illness, but lots of people are caring for you, and most of all you are in God's care. He loves you very much, and right now in heaven they are preparing a huge celebration for your homecoming and the beginning of your real life, life in all its fullness."
"Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies; thou anointest my head with oil, my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for ever." (Psalm 23.5,6)

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