A number of years ago, a young girl we knew was struck by a car and died a day later; we were on vacation and happened to actually be there when the tragedy occurred. The parents were was a devastated, and with two young children myself, I was deeply affected.

The thing that hit me the hardest was the sense of loss: that their daughter was out of their reach, separated from them by this terrible dark wall. She had been utterly removed from her parents, whose consuming desire would be to take their dear one in their arms and make it better. They were inconsolable.

It was then that I realized that the essence of death is separation.

God told our ancestors that the day they broke His command they would die; yet the book of Genesis records that Adam went on to live a total of around 900 years. So where’s the dying?

We were separated. Our moral failure separated Man from God, and death resulted. Spiritual death: separation from God, with the inevitable result being physical death. Death equals separation; to die is to be separated.

I notice a principle: all that is immoral and wrong separates, not just from God, but from one another. It has the very scent of hell on it, for whatever separates is infernal in essence. Factions, grudges, hatred, selfishness, and especially Pride: all pull us apart, all are condemned by God, all separate from God, all smell of death.

On the other hand, everything that is good, and therefore of God, reconciles and unites: forgiveness, love, hope, trust, and ultimately, the finished work of Christ. Jesus is all about reconciliation. That’s the work that He accomplished in His death and resurrection. He paid our debt, by which God could remain just and still show mercy; and then rose from the dead to give us an eternal hope, the proof that His work really could reconcile us to God.

And this is why the Resurrection is so important to Christian doctrine; as physical separation – death – was the final word on our separation from the Source of life, so our spiritual reunion ultimately centres on our physical resurrection.

I suppose the Bible could be summed up as: how man was separated from God, and what God did to fix it.

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