God put the natural world under a curse so that the physical horrors of that curse — of that futility, of that corruption, disease and death — would become a vivid picture, a parable of the horrors of moral evil, sin. In other words, natural evil exists in the world as a sign post of the horrors of moral evil.
Before I show you the text in the Bible, I want you to picture what I am saying in the garden of Eden. Adam and Eve, perfect, sinless; the world, perfect, no death. Everything is perfect. They eat fruit forbidden, and God strikes the world with a curse in the natural world.
Now, in his sin Adam did not hit Eve. There’s no domestic abuse in the garden of Eden. He didn’t hit her, and God did not say, “You hit her, I am hitting you.” No. Adam hit God. And he hit him not with his fist, but with his heart. I don’t trust you anymore to provide the best life. I think I know the best life. I reject your love. I reject your wisdom. I reject you and I vote for me and I will do it my way.
That was a blow to the face of God, which merited thousands of years of horrible physical misery in the world.
Did God Overreact?
“People without a sense of the infinite worth of God’s holiness will say God’s response to sin was an overreaction.”
Most people who don’t have any sense of the majesty and the infinite worth of the holiness of God would say that was an overreaction.
It was not an overreaction. And you can either live by your own intelligence, believing it was an overreaction, or you can spend the rest of your life trying to bring your soul into sync with a God that majestic, that holy, that great — that one insult to that God of infinite proportions is worthy of this world’s punishment. That is what the Bible says happened.
This is Romans 8:18-21: “The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For [here it comes] the creation was subjected to futility [That is what we are seeing in Nepal. That is what we are seeing in the loss of eyesight, the loss of ears and cancer. The creation was subjected to futility] not willingly. [In other words, the creation didn’t say: Oh, curse me, God. Not willingly,] but because of him who subjected it.”
Now that is not Satan and it is not Adam, because the next phrase says: “Because of him who subjected it in hope.” Satan didn’t subject this world in hope. Adam didn’t subject this world in hope. God subjected it in hope. And it keeps going. “Because of him who subjected it in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and attain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”
That is coming. And we say, Hasten the day, oh God!
These four minutes were part of a new sermon this weekend at Westside Church in Vancouver, CA. You can listen to or watch the full message, “The Pain of the World and the Promises of God.”