Genesis 3:17, 19
To the man [the Lord] said:
Because you listened to your wife
and ate from the tree about which I commanded you,
You shall not eat from it, […]
By the sweat of your brow
you shall eat bread,
Until you return to the ground,
from which you were taken;
For you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.
Wanting to be “as gods,” our first parents in that first garden freely chose to disobey the explicit command of God. Imagine their hubris!
But the exercise of free will is not free of consequences. As God had forewarned, the issues of disobedience were dire indeed. By their fall, a door was opened to chaos; henceforth a price must be paid for being human. 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. Eve and all her female progeny would bear the pangs of childbirth; work would become an affliction as Adam and all men who follow must toil in order to survive. The union of man and woman becomes subject to tensions and marked by lust and domination; humankind’s relation with other creatures and the physical environment turns askew as visible creation becomes alien and hostile to man; the control of the soul’s spiritual faculties over the body is shattered, and humanity becomes vulnerable to the ravages of sickness and disease. As J.R.R. Tolkien put in, in “a fallen world . . . there is no consonance between our bodies, minds, and souls” (Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, p. 51).
More than all 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.”
Why our first parents’ fall required the intercession of none other than the Son of God Himself is a mystery that not even the brightest theologians could fully plumb or explain. This much we do know because we are told: By willingly sacrificing Himself to die on a cross, Jesus the Christ not only atoned for our first parents’ terrible sin, He also reversed their greatest punishment — the irrevocability of death.
That is why the Resurrection is so central to Christianity. In the words of St. Paul:
1 Cor 15:14, 17-18, 20-22
If Christ has not been raised,
then our preaching is in vain
and your faith is in vain….
And if Christ has not been raised,
Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished….
But, in fact,
Christ has been raised from the dead….
For since death came through a human being,
the resurrection of the dead
came also through a human being.
For just as in Adam all die,
so too in Christ shall all be brought to life.
But the promise of eternal life can be erased by sin.
St. Paul warns:
Romans 6:3-4, 8-11
Brothers and sisters:
Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus
were baptized into his death?
We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death,
so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead
by the glory of the Father,
we too might live in newness of life.
If, then, we have died with Christ,
we believe that we shall also live with him.
We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more;
death no longer has power over him.
As to his death, he died to sin once and for all;
as to his life, he lives for God.
Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as dead to sin
and living for God in Christ Jesus.
- Good Friday: Our Lord’s Passion & Sacrificial Love
- Holy Saturday: Our Lord stormed the gates of Hell
- The Empty Tomb
- New evidence dates Shroud of Turin to time of Christ
- Yet more evidence dating Shroud of Turin to time of Christ
- Sunday Devotional: ‘whoever eats this bread will live forever’
May the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,