The Day That Death Will Die
The Birth of Death
And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die. (Taurat, Genesis 2:16,17)
In the beginning when Allah created heaven and earth, he made it a very beautiful place. All kinds of birds and animals lived together in harmony, enjoying the colourful flowers, delicious fruit and lush vegetation. But one of the most beautiful things about His creation was that there was no death. Allah’s original intention was that mankind would never die but live forever in Paradise. Adam and Hawa were created innocent of sin. Allah had planned for them and their descendants to enjoy the pleasures of the Garden of Eden forever. But one day Iblis, or Satan, came as a serpent to tempt Hawa to eat the fruit from “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”, the one which Allah had commanded them not to eat from. There were many other good fruit trees in the garden but Satan wanted Adam and Hawa to eat from that tree. Why? Because in doing so, they would obey Iblis and disregard the command of Allah.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did Allah really say, `You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but Allah did say, `You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ” “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For Allah knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like Allah, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. (Taurat, Genesis 3:1-6)
By eating the fruit, our first parents sinned. This was the first time any human being ever sinned. Adam (pbuh) and Hawa disobeyed a direct command of Allah, and so there was a penalty – death. Those who had been created to live forever, would now be subject to death.
The Consequences of the Sin of Adam and Hawa
The consequence of their sin however, was much greater than just their own deaths. All of creation was affected by that one sin. Look at what Allah said to Adam and Hawa after they sinned:
1. Pain in childbearing – “To the woman he said, ‘I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children.'” (Taurat, Gen.3:16) Today, women have pain and sometimes even death in childbearing because of the sin of Hawa.
2. Curse on ground – “To Adam he said, ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, “You must not eat of it,” cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.'” (Taurat, Gen.3:17,18) Weeds were not a problem before Adam (pbuh) sinned, but now they are plentiful, as every farmer and gardener knows.
3. Hard labour in work– “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Taurat, Gen.3:19) Many hard-working people have little to show for their toil. The sin of Adam (pbuh) made life and work more difficult for us all. Today, we have all of these troubles in daily life. These are the result of the sin of Adam and Hawa. But there is one more terrible thing that happened due to their sin:
4. Death to all – “sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.” (Holy Injil, Romans 5:12)
This is the most serious result of Adam (pbuh)’s sin. Death has come to all of his descendants. Not only that, but we all deserve death because we all sin just as he did. As the holy Injil says, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of Allah” and “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 3:23, 6:23). Notice, that death is not the creation of Allah. Allah never intended it to be a part of his creation. Rather, death is the judgment of Allah on sin. Every time we are confronted with death, we should be reminded of what bad people we are.
However, it is not only physical death of which we speak. Even more serious than physical death is spiritual death. Because of Adam’s sin, all men are spiritually dead, even while they are physically alive! But what is meant by this?
The Meaning of Spiritual Death
Spiritual death means the following things:
1. A selfish, sinful heart from birth — People say that small children are innocent of sin, but listen to this story. One day I bring home some sweets for a special guest who is coming to visit. I place them momentarily on a table while I tend to another matter. Then while I am out of the room, my young daughter comes in and finding the sweets, quickly eats them up. I return and finding that the sweets are gone and noticing the sweet syrup on my daughter’s face, I ask my daughter, “Did you eat the sweets?” What does she say but, “Not me! Not me!”
Tell me, who taught my daughter to tell lies? As far as I know, I have never sat down with my child and said, “Now I will teach you how to tell lies…” As parents, we want our children to do what is right. How then do they learn to do wrong? Or, who taught the neighbour’s boys to steal fruit from your tree? Do they know it is wrong to steal? Yes, they know. That’s why one boy watches out for anyone coming, while the other quickly works to get the fruit. Nobody teaches small children to lie and steal and many other such things. They learn to do these things all by themselves. They learn to do these things not because they are innocent, but because they are not. Their hearts, and ours, are selfish and sinful. This is part of what it means to be spiritually dead. The prophet Dawud (pbuh) wrote this true word,
“Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward and speak lies.” (Zabur 58:3).
Lest we think that he wrote only of certain people, in another place he gave this testimony about himself,
“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” (Zabur 51:5).
If this is the condition of the prophet, then what is the condition of our own heart? The Holy Injil, along with all the heavenly books, teaches that all men are rebellious toward Allah,
As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks Allah. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” (Holy Injil, Romans 3:10-12)
But there is another meaning to the spiritual death that Adam’s sin caused,
2. Separation from Allah — As long as Allah is in heaven, and we are on earth, we are physically separated from Allah. But our separation from Allah is more than physical. Our separation from him is spiritual separation. He is holy, but we are unholy. We are full of sins, big and small, but he separates himself from all sin. Is this perhaps why Allah seems to be so far away to most people? Is this why men cry out to Allah and so often he does not seem to hear? As it is written,
But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. (Shaya 59:2)
How can we ever hope to have a place in heaven as long as this is our condition? Spiritual death has another meaning,
3. Eternal Place in Hell — Those who live separate from Allah in this life will be separated from him after death also. The place of separation from Allah is called hell. It is a place of extreme torment and pain for those who are spiritually dead. Through ‘Isa al-Masih this warning was given:
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of Allah with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where “their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.” (Holy Injil, Mark 9:47,48)
Mankind, being spiritually dead and separated from Allah, is destined for the torments of hell.
Remember, we were talking about how the sin of Adam (pbuh) brought death into this world. Physical death, spiritual death. If death is like this, then is there any hope for us? Yes, there is a great hope. In his matchless wisdom, Allah formed a plan by which he would forgive sins, cause man’s desire to sin to disappear, and give men victory over death! The ultimate fulfillment of that plan will take place in the day of resurrection — qiyamat. But there is more you must know, so continue reading.
The Prophets’ Promise of Victory
Many of the prophets since the time of Adam (pbuh) have spoken of the day when death will die. Prophet Ayub (pbuh) was certain of his own resurrection from death in the last days:
I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see Allah; I myself will see him with my own eyes — I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! (Ayub 19:25-27)
In Al-Zabur, Dawud (pbuh) expressed his joy about the day of resurrection in this way:
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Zabur 16:9-11)
The prophet Daniel (pbuh) was given this message from Allah:
Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake…You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance. (Book of the Prophets, Daniel 12:2,13)
In the Holy Injil we have a sure word in this matter:
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. (Holy Injil, Part 27, Revelation 21:4)
What a wonderful prospect! The end of all pain, sorrow, and death. O that it was so even now! All of these words of the prophets speak of a time of great joy and happiness when death will be no more. They speak of qiyamat, the day when death will die.
QUESTIONS: — Choose the most correct answers
1. Allah originally intended that Adam and Hawa live in the garden of Paradise…
a. for 70 years
b. until they wanted to leave
c. until they died
2. Allah commanded Adam and Hawa to not eat…
b. fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil
3. Satan came to Adam and Hawa in order to…
a. tempt them to sin and disobey Allah’s command
b. help them to understand the truth
c. tell them not to believe in Allah’s oneness
d. none of the above
4. What are the results of Adam and Hawa’s sin?
a. pain in childbirth
b. hard work
d. all of the above
5. Death is…
a. Allah’s way of controlling overpopulation
b. an original part of Allah’s creation
c. a divine judgment on sin
6. Children do naughty things…
b. only if someone makes them do it
c. because they are basically selfish
d. but don’t understand it’s wrong
7. The prophet Dawud (pbuh) said that he himself was…
a. already sinful at birth
b. sinless throughout life
c. basically good but made mistakes
d. not a prophet
8. According to Romans 3:10-12, how many people by nature are righteous and seek Allah naturally without being encouraged to do so?
a. most people
b. few people
d. all people
9. Spiritual death means being…
a. selfish by nature
b. separated from Allah
c. destined for hell
d. all of the above
10. Regarding the day of resurrection, the prophets said…
a. it will not happen
b. it will be a time of great joy for many people
c. people will rise and then die again