Jul 7 2011 - E100.2c – Genesis 3: 14-24, The dust of death
One act of disobedience changes everything. Human relationships are no longer the source of unmixed blessing; all too often they are marked by tension and conflict. Godly rule becomes twisted into domination, exploitation and the thirst for power. Even marriage can become marked by manipulation and selfishness rather than mutual nurturing and respect. Families can be hard places in which to grow up.
Relationships with the animal world are no longer uniformly harmonious; often they are marked by mutual suspicion and fear. And nature itself has become red in tooth and claw.
Even our relationship with the earth is now marked by conflict. Work is no longer a simple pleasure; it becomes fraught with frustration and futility. We fight to gain a living from the soil, but end up losing the battle. At last we return to the dust from which we were made – creation is undone.
All of these broken relationships are the result not simply of a broken commandment but of a broken relationship with God.
The Bible's picture of our world is terribly realistic. To be sure, the world is still full of beauty and of good gifts, but the gates of Paradise are firmly shut against us. We live in a world marked by warfare, inequity, hunger, disease, pain, death and loss. Sheltering behind the shaky walls of Western civilisation we may seek to escape these demons, but death cannot be shut out and it will have the last word.
But wait, the last word is not left to death. In God's judgment on the serpent there is the glimmer of a promise the light of which will shine ever more brightly as we continue our journey through the Scriptures. One day a child shall be born who will crush the serpent's head. God will provide a Saviour from sin and shame and from the judgment that hangs over all creation.
Creator God, thank you that death does not have the last word. Thank you for your promise of one through whom creation undone will become creation renewed. Thank you for the promise of a day when we will be with you in Paradise, when sin and death will be banished and every tear will be wiped away. Thank you for resurrection morning and the hope of a world to come.