Guest blogger: Dawn Levene

“Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy.” (Isaiah 65:17-18)

I was at work recently when a co-worker and I got into a conversation about the hardships and lack of love in the world. As we watched the news and saw all the terrible things happening around the world, he asked me why I would serve a God who made bad things happen to people. He wanted to know why, if my God is a God of love, He would not simply erase all the suffering. In his mind, God could just wave a magic wand, or according to Him, say the magic word and make everything better. I had to stop for a moment and give it some thought, and I prayed for help to give him a reasonable answer.

I decided to go back to Genesis, to the Garden of Eden where it all started, where I see four points that help answer my co-worker’s question:

1) The directive of God to humans
2) The doubting, deception, and defiance of the trickster (Satan)
3) The disobedience and distortion of humans
4) The demise of innocence and distancing from the Lord God

In Genesis 3, the snake approaches the woman and deceives her, telling her that if she eats from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, she won’t die, but will have knowledge and wisdom. And so, she eats fruit from the tree and also gives it to her husband. At once they realize what they have done, see that they are naked, and sew fig leaves to cover themselves.

This passage opened my eyes as to why creation is frustrated, full of confusion, meaningless, and so many pressure and problems. And so, for some people like my coworker, it is sometimes difficult to believe in the goodness of God, and that He is a good God in a world where there are so many troubles and difficulties.

The directive of God was that they could eat from every tree in the garden except the tree of knowledge, because if they did, they would surely die (dying means a spiritual death). God wanted humans to have a good life and live forever.

Adam and Eve distanced themselves from God by hiding. When people lose their innocence to that which is evil, it brings pain, tragedy and sin. We get ourselves into situations that God forbids, and that causes a barrier between us and God, causing us to not know the mind and will of God any more. In the garden of Eden, God wanted a relationship with humans. But because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience, sin entered into the world, leading to disease, difficulties, domination of humans, enslavement, decrease of years, and finally death. But this was not God’s original plan.

In spite of this, God sent a deliverer to bring us salvation, by sending His Son Jesus. And so, despite our sin, we see God’s love, grace, and righteousness in action.

And so, in conclusion, sin is the root cause that brings all disease, death, hatred, and decrease of years. While sin may have brought death and all manner of difficulties into God’s good world, we take heart that one day, God will put a final end to sin, evil, and death, and we will live forever with Him in the new heavens and earth. As the Lord promises in Isaiah 65:17-18, “Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy.”  
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