It was a gift, actually. Death is an expiration date for brutality. Once Adam and Eve knew they could defy God, it would do no good for them to live forever in bodies. Breaking the tab on the back that said “trained service technicians only” meant the created was trying to act as the creator.
And so, once they knew what wrong was, they also knew what death was. Wrong-doing by an individual could not be inflicted forever. The eventual demise of villains gives hope in an odd way.
But all of us have villainy in our hearts. All of us have a desire to run things in our minds. All of us have “death” on our calendars.
Life matters, don’t get me wrong. God would not have put on human life and walked among us if life did not matter. And three years with the disciples and the twelve, eating, drinking, laughing provides a seal of approval on the idea of living in conversation with God. It was a glimpse of the garden. There was table-talk of such delight that it created an appetite for a great feast someday.
The death and resurrection of Jesus, the one who lived in complete communion with the Father, suggests that there may be a different kind of actual body, a remarkable kind of living after death. No wings, no harps. Instead broiled fish and conversation and freedom. Maybe, just maybe, villainy can finally die and life as intended can happen. Forever.
And so, when at the last breath of the creed we say we believe in “Life everlasting”, we are affirming a hope that goes back as far as people can remember. For bodies that don’t break. And for living that matters and can happen without villainy. And for conversation with God face-to-face. Freely. Fully.