Faith Perspectives – November 29, 2017
By Rev. James Miller
Trinity Lutheran, Nashville
You’ve probably read in a report somewhere or seen on TV, “So-and-so died of natural causes,” or “what’s-his-face died of unnatural causes.”
Just what do those terms mean? In medical parlance, a natural cause of death means an internal force like a sickness or malfunction of the body that causes death.
On the other hand, an unnatural cause means an external force like murder or a fatal accident.
Approaching this from a theological perspective, is any death truly natural?
Scripture would tell us: No.
When we read Genesis, we’re not encountering a scientific textbook or just some ancient, out-of-date text.
We actually read God’s love story to us. We read how God took great care in making every element of the universe, placing each star in the sky, each fish in the ocean, and so on.
We read about our God who took great care in making us, too. From the very dust of the earth, God formed Adam, and from Adam’s rib God made Eve.
It was all perfectly planned out.
But death was not a part of that creation.
Romans chapter 5 tells us that death came into the world through the rebellion of Adam and Eve, choosing to eat the fruit God told them not to eat. (You had one job, guys!) By following deductive reasoning, death must not have existed before The Fall of Mankind.
Death was not a natural part of God’s creation, so really, there is no such thing as natural causes of death. Death itself is unnatural.
However, Christians hold on to a hope in the face of death: life through Jesus.
God didn’t give up on His creation after its fall into sin, but instead He loved it so much that He’d do anything for it—even die on a cross.
Even though we will die here on earth, death doesn’t get the last answer.
Through His death on the cross 2,000 years ago, Jesus subjected death to an unnatural death and defeated it for our sake so we don’t have to die eternally.
Instead, we will live eternally with Him.
As unnatural as that may sound in our mortal ears, it’s the most natural thing in the eyes of God!