Like it or not, we’re all gonna die

This is painfully obvious, but I think it needs to be said. Whether you’re young or old, wise or foolish, innocent or guilty, you, I, and the rest of the world are dying at a reasonably rapid rate.

The current illness we’re each condemned to suffer cannot be avoided by the frequent washing of hands, social distancing, facemasks or a two-dose injection. It’s the same critical infection we’ve been infested with since the genesis of the world four-thousand or so years before Christ.

Genesis

“In the Beginning”

1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 9And out of the ground, the LORD God [Yahweh Elohim] made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 26Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.

2:16And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

3:1Now, the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'” 4But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5For God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

6So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked.

13Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” 16To the woman, he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain, you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.”

17“And to Adam, he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain, you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19By the sweat of your face, you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust, you shall return.”

Genesis 1:1,9,26; 2:16-17; 3:1-7, 13, 16-19

The first man and woman were provided for by God and had all they’d ever need. However, humanities disobedience of God’s omnibenevolent (all loving and infinitely good) instructions resulted in their fall, and divorce from God’s presence.

Satan cunningly told Eve that if she and Adam ate from the tree in the centre of the garden, they’d become like God. This lie forever infected the hearts of humanity with concupiscence; a passionate desire for anything God has forbade.

6:1 When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, 2the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. 3 Then, the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.”

Genesis 6:1-3

After browsing through a handful of Bible commentaries, I’ve found that many of the authors have avoided discussing the nature of “the sons of God”. Worse still, some theologians, including John Calvin, have regularly taken them to be the offspring from Seth’s godly line.

I find this confusing. Seth was a mortal man, and Genesis 6:2 says that “the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive.” There is a clear distinction between the two.

The “sons of God” weren’t men. This reality is also referred to in 6:3, where God distinguishes that man (Adam) is flesh, not spirit. By marrying angelic beings, humans were, again, violating God’s perfect decrees and seeking equality with Him, thereby immortality.

9And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

Revelations 12:9

Some early scholars such as Clement of Alexandria, Commodianus, Eusebius and Justin Martyr have also taken the title of “sons of God” to refer to fallen angels or other angelic beings who forsook their boundaries and intermingled with human women.  When you look at Job 1:6, 2:1, and 38:7, the “sons of God” are spirit and angelic beings; indeed, Satan was amongst them,

And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

2 Corinthians 11:14

In Matthew 25:30, Jesus tells us that the angels of heaven neither marry nor are given in marriage. However, he isn’t referring to the fallen angels trapped on earth, and he says nothing of their sexual capabilities.

120 years?

The limit of human life (“his days”) to 120 years is also curious. This suggests that either God decreased humans’ individual lifespan to 120 years, as we see for Moses in Deuteronomy 34:7, or that he’d kill them all in 120 years.   

Regarding the amount of time Noah spent building the Ark, the Bible provides some definitive dates which amount to less than 120 years.

In Genesis 5:32 we see that Noah was 500 years old when he began to have his sons, Shem, Ham and, Japheth. When God appeared to Noah in Genesis 6:18 and instructed him to build the Ark, Noah’s sons were already alive. We then learn in Genesis 7:11 that Noah was 600 years old when the rains began to fall. 

Following Genesis 11 and the Tower of Babel, people haven’t tended to make it past 120 years, whereas they’d previously lived for hundreds of years.

  • Adam lived a lifespan of 930 years,
  • Seth to 912,
  • Enosh to 905,
  • Kenan 910,
  • Mahalalel to 895,
  • Jared 962,
  • Enoch 365,  
  • Noah’s grandfather, Methuselah, lived for 969 years,
  • Noah made it to 950.

In regards to Noah, Lamech prophesied,

Out of the ground that the Lord has cursed, this one shall bring us relief.

Genesis 5:29

I don’t think God is actually talking about 120 years in the same way we do today. For instance, in Genesis 2:17, when God told Adam and Eve, “…but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die”, God was talking about the institution of mortality. Adam and Eve didn’t flatline as soon as they ate the fruit, but their timer had begun. As said above, Adam lived to 930 years, and the birth of Cain in Genesis 4:25 is the last we hear about Eve’s life.

The Nephilim

4The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward when the sons of God came into the daughters of man, and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.6And the Lord regretted he had made man on the earth,…8But Noah found favour in the eyes of the Lord.

Genesis 6:4, 6, 8

In Hebrew, the term “Nephilim”, נְּפִלִ֞ים, is interpreted as the “fallen ones,” whereas in the Greek Septuagint; the translation by the seventy, commonly known by the numeral of LXX, they are the “giants”, γίγαντες. We’re provided with another account of these “giants” in Numbers 13:32-33:

 32So they brought to the people of Israel a bad report of the land that they had spied out, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. 33And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.”

Numbers 13:32-33

Although we’re not told outright that the Nephilim were the offspring of the attractive human women and fallen angels, why else would they feature in the same passage, and how else did these ‘mighty men of renown’ come into being?

Jump forward a few thousand years to the short book of Jude, dated somewhere between 65-80 A.D., and you’ll read God’s fierce judgement for such relational corruption:

6And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire [or different flesh], serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.   

Jude 6-7

In conclusion

Whether it be natural, accidental, suicidal, homicidal or an undetermined cause, everyone on earth is going to die. Human arrogance, pride and envy continue to plague the world; such sin results in unabated arrogance, feuds, warfare and self-exaltation.

23…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Romans 3:23-26

Indeed, when Jesus returns, we’ll be: 

…caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.

For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

1 Thessalonians 4:17; 1 Corinthians 15:22

In light of all the above, as believers we know that through the life, death, resurrection and grace of Jesus Christ, when we fall asleep for the last time here on earth, we’ll awaken in paradise; a new heaven and a new earth.

1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. 2And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

3I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.4He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

5And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” 6And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. 7All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.

Revelation 21:1-7

Being a Disciple of Jesus is costly

2 thoughts on “Like it or not, we’re all gonna die

  1. Thank you for this insightful read and linking of Bible passages into a message that makes sense. Just one part I hope is not literally true. When we are united with God for his return—when we are taken in the clouds and live with him in the heaven that is in our own land (if I read is correctly), why will there be no oceans? The ocean is my source of spiritual cleansing, a place of beauty and evidence of God’s majesty and power and eternal existence. Did it say there would be no more oceans?

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    1. Thanks for your reply, Margaret. I agree, that the concept of a new earth without seas seems a bit off, “God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together He called Seas. And God saw that it was good.”

      It’s useful to understand the symbolism, themes and context of John’s writing in Revelation 12. In verses 7-17, the dragon, or Satan, is thrown out of heaven to the earth. We read, “But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”

      In the Bible, the sea is often regarded as a place of contest, one of separation and the home of evil beings. Daniel 7:2-3 details, “Daniel said: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea.”

      In Isaiah 57:20-1, we’re given the analogy that “the wicked are like the tossing sea; for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up mire and dirt. There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked”. The use of “are like” indicates a symbolic comparison, the minds of the wicked are restless, constantly swayed by their own lusts, passions, and guilt.

      John’s symbolic use of water for the home of Satan and the corruption of humanity is again seen in Revelation 17:1, “Come, I will show you the judgement of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters…”.

      Lastly, notice the parallel wording of Revelation 21:1 and 4, “the sea was no more”…” death shall be no more”. I take that to mean no place that evil can reside.

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