The Cause of Death

Scripture: Romans 8:20-23, Genesis 2:15-17

Topics: Death, Judgment, The Fall, Theology


Death is a paradox. The way out of death is through death. We cannot be fully redeemed until we pass through the veil of physical death. Christ himself used dying to defeat death—his death on the cross provides the ultimate means to the redemption of creation itself as well as its human inhabitants. Only in Christ’s death can our own sin, brokenness, and mortality be defeated and permanently redeemed.

In light of the biblical origin of death, there are several ideas for us to consider:

  1. Death is God’s judgment of human sinfulness. It is not a random or foreign occurrence imposed on us from the outside. We are responsible for it, and it was intentionally instituted by a loving God. It is part of God’s plan, and we cannot ignore or flee from it. Death is in us and a part of us.
  2. Even in God’s judgment, he is merciful. Death is an end to our sin and an end to painful experiences in a broken world. It provides release from the curse of sin and holds a promise of redemption on the other side.
  3. Physical death and spiritual death are inextricably linked. Spiritual death in the Garden brought on physical death in the curse. However physical death is now a reminder of our own spiritual death. Our daily experience of brokenness, whether at home, in relationship, or at work, should draw us not to frustration but to contemplation of the inner spiritual death in our own hearts.
  4. Death and dying are spiritual disciplines. We have significant work to do around death—we must contemplate it, face it, and prepare for it. Death establishes a limit on our time on earth, and consciousness of this limit gives us a sense of urgency and focus.