Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24
God did not make death,
nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living.
For he fashioned all things that they might have being;
and the creatures of the world are wholesome,
and there is not a destructive drug among them
nor any domain of the netherworld on earth,
for justice is undying.
For God formed man to be imperishable;
the image of his own nature he made him.
But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world,
and they who belong to his company experience it.
We are told in Genesis 3 that our first parents succumbed to the Devil’s temptation to be “as gods” and so ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Wanting to be “as gods,” of course, is a violation of the First Commandment.
As philosopher Francis Bacon explained, what precipitated our first parents’ fall was their supposition that “God’s commandments or prohibitions were not the originals of good and evil but that they had other beginnings which man aspired to know, to the end to make a total defection from God, and to depend wholly upon himself.”¹
¹Francis Bacon, Selected Philosophical Works, edited by Rose-Mary Sargent (Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, 1999), p. 31.
And so in their grandiose narcissism, Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s explicit command, and ate from the tree because they wanted to determine for themselves what is right and what is wrong, when God had already written that knowledge “in their hearts” (Jeremiah 31:33).
The exercise of free will is not free of consequences. As God had forewarned Adam and Eve, the issues of disobedience were dire indeed. Where once was joy and ease, there would be suffering, hardship, and pain; where once was harmony and order, there would be turmoil and confusion. The control of the soul’s spiritual faculties over the body is shattered, and humanity becomes vulnerable to the ravages of sickness and disease.
More than that, death enters the world. Along with lives of toil and pain, men and women would eventually die, returning to the ground from which they were first taken, “for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19).
The sin of Adam and Eve must have been monumental because it tore the very fabric of the Universe . . . .
Sin — every sin — requires atonement to make things right again.
To atone is to amend or repair (Oxford Dictionaries). The synonyms of “atonement” are amend, penance, payment, redress, redemption, expiation, propitiation, restitution, reparation, indemnification, recompense, and satisfaction (Thesaurus.com).
Who can atone for this monumental sin?
Certainly no human can, given that the sin was committed by the first man who, unlike subsequent humans, was unblemished with the stain of Original Sin (fomes peccati: an inclination toward evil), and had walked and talked with the Lord God.
No human can atone for Adam’s Fall.
Only God can.
And when our Redeemer was on Earth, by raising the dead He showed us that through Him and with Him and in Him, we can conquer death.
We are familiar with the account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. But there was an earlier resurrection before Lazarus — that of the daughter of a synagogue official named Jairus.
Mark 5:22-24, 35-36, 40-43
One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward.
Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying,
“My daughter is at the point of death.
Please, come lay your hands on her
that she may get well and live.”
He went off with him,
and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him.
While he was still speaking,
people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said,
“Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?”
Disregarding the message that was reported,
Jesus said to the synagogue official,
“Do not be afraid; just have faith.”
He took along the child’s father and mother
and those who were with him
and entered the room where the child was.
He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,”
which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!”
The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around.
At that they were utterly astounded.
He gave strict orders that no one should know this
and said that she should be given something to eat.
Remember to tell the Lord God that you love Him with your whole heart, your whole soul, your whole mind, and with all your strength.
And may the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,