Living Under God’s Curse

  • Steve Hatter
Life is Good ball cap

My wife Cynthia, in the course of her five pregnancies, would pursue behaviors while carrying God’s gifts to us that I understand are common to soon-to-be moms. She would “nest” within the dynamic of our many temporary Air Force homes. Nesting is about organizing and preparing for change, which would pull me, her husband and father-to-be, into sorting through messy closets or disorganized junk drawers with her.

We are now empty-nesters. Yet, for some reason, I am finding myself once again pulled into addressing messy closets and junk drawers. This time it is not about preparing for a new little one. Now it is more about getting some things done that were never got above the “time-and-energy” cut line given so many other pressings things in the life of our marriage. Anyway, I am participating in Nesting Part II, and I am glad to help, even if I would never do such things were it left to only me.

While cleaning closets and drawers in “Nesting Part II,” I sometimes find old clothing items that I had once worn as favorites. Then, I either grew tired of wearing them, or more likely, I just outright misplaced them. One item I found is a “Life is Good” ball cap. I wore that cap a lot in its prime. I was doing a lot of fishing back then and I will sheepishly admit to the fact that the hat became a bit of a good luck necessity.

The “Life is Good” brand was certainly popular “back when” (it could still yet be as far as I know), and its message was certainly positive. And, depending on one’s personal circumstances at any given moment, announcing to the world in walking billboard fashion that life is good could potentially be true, at least for that particular day.

However, every sentient human being ever born also knows that sometimes, if not most of the time, life is not good. All around us we see injustice, conflict, sickness, and death. We see man’s inhumanity to man. We see tragedy. We see real suffering. We see breaking and broken hearts. How often do we hear the universal lament of a person in pain, “this is not how it is supposed to be!” followed by its corollary cry, “why?” Certainly, all the year 2020, if nothing else, has found a near universal point of agreement in that humans the world over, in every language, are saying, “this is not how it is supposed to be!” and crying, “why?”

How a person seeks to reconcile these two ideas, one a statement, the other a question, gets to the very heart of being human. And as people struggle to reconcile, they choose one of two paths. The first path is to say that fixing what is wrong and explaining why it went wrong in the first place is for mankind to do. Such thinking is rooted in the idea that humans are alone to make or break our time of existence within all the vastness of a magnificent and breathtaking universe. We answer to no one except ourselves, which means that a person, or some people, or even many people, bear the full weight of responsibility for solving the world’s problems—all of them. Man must cure every disease. Man must solve for rising or falling temperatures. Man must end racism. Man must achieve equity—economic, social, and physical—among all living souls. Man must guarantee, at some future point in time, utopia. Man is responsible to achieve heaven on earth.

If nothing else, human progressivism equates to immense pressure. The proverbial “weight of the world” literally is on all people, and the clock is ticking. Hence the insane passion over elected offices in our modern day. People want to elect a leader or leaders to get going and fix things. Moreover, even if such leaders were out there, or global transformation was possible, as many people honestly believe it is, there remains the “why” question. Why is the world such a mess? If we are all born good, how did the whole of “good” humanity blow it so badly as to find ourselves collectively crying in pain? Who is responsible for injustice, conflict, sickness, and death? What explanation can be had for cruelty, or abuse, or murder?

We see many humanists these days wanting to point the proverbial finger at anyone who disagrees with them—their ideas, their politics, their values—as the source of “why.” However, such thinking is weak, intellectually dishonest, and only stokes the fires of more and greater conflict. Many godless cultures have gone down this road of blaming the “unenlightened” for plights of all kinds, with resulting tragic outcomes. The concentration camps and furnaces of Nazi Germany represent a recent case in point.

The truth of the matter is that humans can neither eliminate the problems—whether small or large—of a terribly troubled world nor answer the “why” question about how we got to such a disastrous reality. Those answers and explanations are found outside of humanity. This is the second path to choose and where the Bible comes in.

Our Holy Bible represents the single coherent understanding of man and his problems, while also offering the compelling “why” of it all. Genesis chapters One through Three give the how and the why. God also hints at the single solution—the Gospel of Jesus Christ—even as he brings a curse upon His perfect creation. Genesis One recounts the creation of the universe, and earth. Science cannot refute its accuracy. Genesis Two narrates the creation of man and woman in God’s image, along with God’s purpose and mission for these uniquely created ones. Neither science nor human philosophy can refute or undercut the elegant and timeless truths of God’s will and plan for humanity through the two genders. Finally, Genesis Three describes the tragic fall of Adam and Eve, and God’s subsequent curse on the whole of His creation in response to their willful disobedience. There is no other more compelling or complete answer to why things are the way they are.

Is life good? It is, but only to the extent it can be in a fallen creation. As Pastor John MacArthur says of this temporal world and the life of humanity possible in it, “the ship is going down.” However, as God cursed the world, he also promised grace and redemption already in motion. Consider Ephesians 1:4-10

 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.”          

This is the guarantee for believers that no matter what, life—life in Christ—IS GOOD!