Consider further the following:
- Our sins are removed from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).
- We are set free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1–4), yet we continue to sin (Paul chronicled his struggle in Romans 7).
- Jesus “has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4), yet many continue to suffer from horrible illnesses even after they receive the gift of eternal life.
- The kingdom of God is one of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17), yet we continue to cry and experience great sorrow.
Why? When do we receive the complete fulfillment of these promises?At the end of his creative acts, God declared his completed creation “very good” (Genesis 1:31). He gave the animals and humans plants to eat (Genesis 1:29–30). The Creator promised Adam that if he disobeyed the command to not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, he would surely die (Genesis 2:15–17). This, indeed, happened after Adam disobeyed; Adam and Eve would now return to the dust from which they were formed (Genesis 3:19). In an act of mercy, God sent them from the Garden of Eden so that they would not live forever in their sinful state (Genesis 3:22–23) in the now-corrupted creation (Genesis 3, Romans 8:18–22).
A Temporary Solution
The first animal death occurred when God made coats of skin to cover Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21). Throughout the rest of the Old Testament, this pattern of atonement for sins is followed: physical death of a perfect animal (i.e., without blemish or spot) on behalf of the sinner (although the blood of these bulls and goats could not take away sins (Hebrews 10:4)). This pattern culminated in the real thing (which God had promised in the beginning—Genesis 3:15)—the physical death of the perfect Lamb of God on the Cross on behalf of his people. Jesus died—he was separated from his Father, and died a physical death, just as the first Adam did. But Jesus rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:20–22)—something Adam could not do.