As promised, Eve’s offspring—Jesus Christ—is now bringing to an end the long reign of sin and death in the world. God and humankind are being reconciled.
My mother was in her sixties when she entered the cancer hospice. That was bad enough. But there were younger people there too. I remember one young mother who would sit at the bedside of her husband every day, together with their two young kids—and the husband couldn’t have been more than thirty-five years old. Watching them hug him and kiss him goodnight, and to know that within a few weeks, that bed would be empty—that that young wife would be without her husband, those children without their father; to recognize that someone else would soon be brought in to occupy that bed, that another family would have the same dreadful experience we were having…
A friend of mine called while we were gathering up my mother’s things. I told him how dark it felt, not just to lose my own mother, but to see that young family go through it too. “Barry,” he said, “this is what it feels like to be under a curse.”
You see, my mother’s cancer was just one presenting symptom of a curse that all of us are under. When it comes close to you, as it did then, it really does feel like a nightmare you can’t wake up from. And there’s a very good reason for that.
John Calvin says,
Before the fall, the state of the world was a most fair and delightful mirror of the divine favor and paternal indulgence towards man. Now, in all the elements we perceive that we are cursed.
This curse dates back to the events described in Genesis chapter 3. It’s the moment theologians describe as the fall. It’s the moment when our ancient ancestors, Adam and Eve, ate from the tree God had commanded them not to eat from.
Now, why was eating from that tree so significant? Are we honestly saying that the sum total of human misery across history is all down to the simple act of someone eating some fruit? Well, it’s not so much the act itself as what the act represents.