Jesus’ answer to death spans the breadth of human history and is told with vivid detail in the Bible (a book containing the Jewish and Christian sacred texts). His answer is an amazing story filled with beauty, wisdom, wonders, and miracles, but also filled with the worst atrocities — like rape, famine, torture, and war. That’s because it is the story of a rejected Creator reclaiming a world that has been tainted by evil. To get a sense of all the splendor of Jesus’ answer, you need to read the full version, the Bible. I am only sharing a few details here.

An Eternal Plan

Who is God?

The Bible tells us that Father, Son, and Spirit have existed from all eternity, sharing one perfect essence, so perfectly united that they are one Being.

What is your reaction to the Christian view of God?

I realize that this vision of the one true God is unique to Christianity and is utterly incomprehensible and unexplainable. And that is one of the reasons I believe it is true: we could never have conceived of such an unimaginable Being on our own!

Why did God create the universe?

Before time and matter came to be (if we can use the word “before” to speak of a timeless existence), God foresaw every single detail of what would happen once he created the universe. And all would go according to a plan that would clearly demonstrate the fullness and perfection of his Being.

And so, God created the universe. He allowed certain spiritual creatures led by Satan to rebel against him because they would serve his ultimate purpose. Then, after carefully preparing this world as an amazing home for us, he created man and woman in his image, inviting them to multiply, fill this planet, and rule it under his guidance.

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Why Do We Suffer and Die?

God gave the first humans a choice: obey his will or rebel against it. Under the influence of God’s enemy, Satan, they chose to do the one thing God asked them not to do. At that moment, they transferred their allegiance from God’s Kingdom to his enemy’s domain — an enemy bent on destroying us and keeping us separated from our Creator.

How do you react to the idea that God allowed creatures to rebel against him for a while?

Our ancestors did not realize it at the time, but listening to that enemy instead of God opened the door to the evil, suffering, and death that is now part of our reality.

This first bad decision (called the Fall) also banished them from Paradise, because only those who are unblemished can live in the presence of a perfectly holy and just God.

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What Do We Learn about Evil in this World?

Some of us will only live for moments in this fallen world. Others of us will spend many years here. Why that is the case remains a mystery. But during our time here, we are learning important truths about evil.

Have you ever felt the desire to be freed from evil and suffering?

In other words, we are learning that to rebel against God is to suffer deeply. This suffering helps us understand that we need to be freed from evil, be restored to God’s perfect image, and learn to rule this world under his orders and not his enemy’s. And that deliverance from evil is exactly what God’s solution to death invites us to experience.

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God’s Solution to Our Rebellion

Very soon after our ancestors disobeyed, thereby joining Satan's rebellion, God promised them that one day, a son born of a woman would put an end to Satan’s domination and allow us to return to God’s kingdom.

God begins reclaiming the Earth by revealing himself first to one particular people group: the Jewish nation. In the Jewish sacred texts found in the Bible, God slowly reveals to them more and more details about his planned deliverance from evil. However, it is only when Jesus, the eternal Son of God, comes to dwell among us that we understand that plan fully.

Jesus Reveals the Planned Deliverance

Who is Jesus?

At exactly the right moment, the Father sends us his eternal Son, Jesus, to be born of a Jewish woman (without a man’s contribution) and take on the fulness of our humanity. Contrary to us, during his time on earth, Jesus lives in constant communication with his Father through the Spirit, obeying his directions perfectly without ever doing anything contrary to his will. He is therefore not under the death penalty that is incurred by even a single act of rebellion against God (what the Bible calls sin).

Why Does Jesus Die on a Cross?

Jesus does not die for any wrongdoing of his; he is sinless. Rather, as our perfect representative, he goes to the cross out of love for us to pay the penalty for our sin and purify us from it.

I know this is a difficult concept to grasp. Perhaps an illustration will help:

John the Baptist, the prophet who let the Jewish people know that Jesus, the eternal Son of God, had come into the world, said this about him: “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”

This was an allusion to the Jewish sacrificial system of the day, which allowed the sins of people to be transferred to an innocent and unblemished animal that would pay their death penalty in their place. Such animal sacrifices had to be offered continuously by priests because they were finite in scope. They pointed to the perfect sacrifice that would one day replace them, Jesus. Because he is the Lamb of God who is fully God and fully human, Jesus only had to die once to pay for all our sins — past, present, and future.

By offering himself up for us as a perfect, unblemished sacrifice, Jesus revealed aspects of God’s character that can only be displayed in response to sin: his justice, his holiness, his wrath, his love, his mercy, his grace, and his forgiveness, to name a few. Jesus’ death is amazing, unique in its meaning and importance. But his resurrection to eternal life is even more so.

Why is His Resurrection so Important?

Jesus is the only person in human history to bodily rise to eternal life after death. This unprecedented historical event proves that he is the Son of God, that his Father fully accepted his death as payment for our rebellion, and that Jesus can fulfill his promise to deliver us from evil and give us eternal life.

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To find out more about the kind of eternal life Jesus offers us, read on.

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