One of the greatest challenges facing people is the presence of suffering, heartache, death, famine, and wickedness in the world. In astonishment they ask, “How could a good God allow this evil to take place?” It is a good question, but most would say it is a hard one to answer. Is there any hope? YES! There is an everlasting hope. Let's go back to Genesis 1...
Adam and Eve sinned in the garden. The consequences of that sin come in two forms : 1) There is “natural evil,” including natural disasters, disease, and death, 2) There is intentional evil,” which is done by those who intentionally want to hurt themselves or others. Some migh add a third which includes willful neglect or sins of omission. The main point is that basically we have thing that happen outside of human control and things that can be avoided (if humanity is willing).
The earth itself is cursed because of man’s sin (Genesis 3). It is only in light of the sinless Garden of Eden that we can get a taste of the eternal things (Revelation 21-22). This was God's plan. For a brief time, there was no evil, no death, no pain, and no tears. It was a perfect environment.
The promise of God is that He will one day recreate the perfect environment He intended for us to have on earth. Once again, there will no more evil, no death, no pain, and no tears. However, Heaven will be infinitely better than even the garden of Eden! In it, we will no longer have an opportunity to sin, Satan will be vanquished, and we will have an understanding of the grace-filled redemption wrought on our behalf. In that day, God will once again dwell among us as He did with Adam and Eve.
From the very first story of the very first family, sin wreaks havoc on humanity. They lived in a perfect environment, yet they sinned anyway. Perhaps “the fall” sounds almost accidental, as though somebody tripped and fell head over heels into sin. As the story makes clear, however, Adam and Eve deliberately chose their path. The rest of us have followed in their footsteps. We willfully sin and are given the same condemnation (Romans 3:23, 6:23).
The good news is that Jesus came to break the curse! If we are willing to hear the Gospel (Romans 10:17, John 8:32), believe the Gospel message (Hebrews 11:6, John 20:31), repent of our past sins (Luke 13:3, Acts 17:30), confess our faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 10:10, Matthew 10:32), and be baptized into Christ for the remission of sins (Galatians 3:27, Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38), we can be saved. We also need to be faithful unto death to recieve our reward (II Timothy 4:6-8, Revelation 2:10).
Yes, the first sin came because of man, but a promise is given to show God’s first act of redemption (Genesis 3:15). With each successive story—Cain and Abel, Noah’s family and beyond—we see God’s repeated faithfulness to redeem helpless and hopeless humanity. When we sin the cycle continues... but praise be to God that in Him we have an everlasting hope.
You are loved.
Dr. Ray Reynolds
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Ray Reynolds is the pulpit minister of the Summerdale Church of Christ in Summerdale, AL and director of TITUS Camp in Florence, AL. He and his wife Misty (Till) have five sons, one grandson, and one Golden Doodle. They work with the Summerdale church family and connect with people around the world through www.rayreynoldsrap.com and www.reclaiminghopeministry.com. He holds a BA and MM from Heritage Christian University and earned a Ph.D. in Pastoral Ministry from Trinity Theological Seminary, but has continued his studies through Cambridge, Groningen University, and Harvard Divinity School. He loves coffee, blueberry cake donuts, carpentry, podcasting, blogging, creating online social media content, and marketing for various non-profit ministries in the churches of Christ.