HomeOpinion & AnalysisHuman life, death and the afterlife

Human life, death and the afterlife

BY Prospser Tingini

Let us first look at the origin of human life, then to the reason why that life was cut short. We will then look into death and afterlife. Genesis 2:7 gives an illustration of what transpired when God created a living Being. It reads: “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” It is clear two main things were brought together to create a life. The formation of a man from dust was the first of the two, made possible by the addition of water to moisturise the dust.

Genesis 2:5-6 clearly tells us what happened prior to the formation of man from dust. It states: “In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, when no plant of field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up. For the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no man to till the grounds; but a mist went up from the earth (clouds) and watered the whole face of the ground.” Thereafter, the Lord moulded the clay (dust and water) into a physical resemblance of man (verse 7) and then breathed into the nostrils of the human formation, the breath of life.

After the creation of the human male, the Lord God reasoned that the male could not perform all the required functions alone, hence He then created a female to complement him. Genesis 2:21-23 says: “So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh and the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman.’” Thus the life of both man and woman was created upon the Earth. They were both originally meant to live forever.

Disobedience brought forth sin and sin brought death, as per the sequence of events that transpired during the interaction between God, man and woman. Genesis 3 carries the full story which gave birth to death, because of the transgression.

The origin of death reads: Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman (Eve), “Did God say, ‘you shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband (Adam) and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” and he said, “I heard the sound of thee in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” The Lord God replied, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gavest to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree and I ate.” Then the Lord said to the woman, “What is it that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent beguiled me, and I ate.”

Thereafter the Lord God went on to effect the punishment He had hitherto proclaimed should His commandment not to eat of the forbidden fruit be breached, i.e., death. After giving distinctive sentence to both the serpent and to the woman He turned to the man, Adam, and effected the death sentences for humanity. In verse 19, He ruled, “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of which you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Adam had guardianship of both the woman and of all animals; hence the responsibility for the observance of the Lord God’s commandment fell upon him. He would experience death ahead of the woman, because as the authority, he held the responsibility for the sin. That is why men have generally a shorter lifespan than that of women. In Genesis 2:17, the Lord God had in advance  warned Adam that the penalty for disobedience would be death – “you will surely die”.

St Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). For humans, death became the ultimate penalty for our sins. As of Adam, Genesis 5:5 reads: “Thus all the days that Adam lived were nine-hundred and thirty years; and he died.” Wow! Surely, humanity was initially meant to live forever!

The scriptures present death as a separation of the body from the soul (breath of life). The breath of life goes back to where it came from; to the Lord God. The body also goes to rest where it also came from; into the dust of the ground. Our Bible also talks of a resurrection to bring forth a Judgement Day to again reunite the two, the body and the soul. As of when this will happen, nobody knows; as also attested by Jesus Christ.

As of the resurrection, St Paul wrote in a letter to the Corinthians; “Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those who have fallen in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied” (Corinthians 15:12-19). Amen.

Prosper Tingini is the Scribe of the Children of God Missionary Assembly — God’s messengers. Contact details: Mobile: 0771 260 195. Email address: ptingini@gmail.com 

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