NOTE: The notes provided below are the actual notes from the RCIA presentation of this session. They will serve as the summary for this session. All references to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), scripture, and notes below are included at the end of this document.
RCIA NOTES - ORIGINAL SIN and the MYSTERY of EVIL J+M+J
I. Introduction: The doctrine of Original Sin (OS) and the Mystery of Evil
-- At the dawn of human history, our first parents (Adam and Eve) who were created in the state of intimate family communion with God, let trust in God die in their hearts and rejected God's love through an act of disobedience, resulting in the first or original sin which introduced evil, especially suffering and death (both physical and spiritual), into the world
-- G.K. Chesterton: OS is the only Christian dogma that can be proved by recourse to the daily newspaper
-- headlines every day scream of the evil rampant in the world (e.g. murder, rape, abortion etc..)
-- history shows us something about man has gone terribly wrong (e.g. last century, Hitler, Stalin)
-- Greek myth: Pandora's box (theodicy) - pagans knew something was wrong
-- divine revelation tells us what is wrong, evil resulted and continues to result from sin
-- CCC teaches that doctrine of OS is the reverse side of the doctrine of Redemption (see CCC 389)
-- the Good News of the Gospel (evangelium) implies Bad News of Sin and Death
-- need for a Redeemer, even Jesus' name (God saves), makes no sense without OS
-- So, in order to more fully understand God's loving plan in sending us his only son as our Redeemer, we will examine what it is that Christ saves us from, namely from OS and its evil consequences, sin and death
II. Creation and Fall of Man
-- Review: God is a Trinity, perfect communion of Love: One God in three divine Persons
-- God is perfect, lacks nothing, and so act of creation was a gift of pure generosity, pure Love
-- God, being omniscient, foreknew that he could create creatures who could participate in his life and love, and since it is fitting for perfect love to share (i.e. diffuse) itself, he created us
-- Adam and Eve were created in God's image and established in original justice and holiness, possessing:
-- human nature: that can know (intellect) and love (will) and enter into loving relationships (male and female, as there very bodies show, were made for each other, for communion [images Trinity])
-- preternatural gifts (special endowments given by God beyond human nature): freedom from ignorance, suffering and death, reason rules passions (no concupiscence)
-- supernatural gifts (completely above human nature, no creature has a claim to them): sanctifying grace (supernatural life or God's life within their souls), bond of union with God making them children of God and heirs to eternal life
-- since God is their origin, these special gifts depended on man maintaining right relationship with God
-- God made a covenant (sacred family bond) with the first married couple, Adam and Eve, where he would be their Father, and they would be his children, his family
-- Adam (which means humanity) was the head of the human family, and all his descendants (Genesis 1:28 "Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it") were to receive his nature (including the gifts, especially sanctifying grace), and the cosmos was their home
-- God's covenant with Adam and Eve depended on their continual love for Him, manifested through trust and obedience; God gave them one command to test their obedience, and thereby their love (see Genesis 2:15-17; then Trese pg. 56; optional CCC 396 )
-- Adam and Eve failed this test, rejected God's love, and committed sin; evil which is the consequence of sin entered the created universe (see Genesis 3:1-13; then see CCC 397). And so we move on to examine the evil that was introduced into creation, created good by our Father, through the disobedience of our first parents.
III. Original Sin and the Mystery of Iniquity (Evil)
-- Enormity of OS and its consequences (see Trese pg 57)
-- Our first parents had everything (God's gifts including sanctifying grace), and out of pride chose their will over God's (pride resulting in disobedience resulting in death)
-- OS is not some quaint myth (e.g. Pandora's box), but the event at the dawn of history revealed to us by God that explains the tragic reality of sin and death (e.g. Chesterton's newspaper) (see CCC 390)
-- sin is a historical fact, as real as the universe; its cause must also be a historical fact
-- consequences of the Fall for our first parents (and us):
-- loss of sanctifying grace (man is now spiritually dead); greatest loss is this
-- loss of other gifts: sickness, suffering, and especially death become part of the human conditon
-- even human nature is affected, the intellect is darkened (we no longer understand or reason perfectly) and the will is weakened (we have difficulty resisting temptation to sin)
-- our desires are disordered and now incline us to sin (concupiscence) rather than towards God; man is self-directed (i.e. selfish), instead of God directed
-- catechism sums up human condition after the Fall in ( CCC 400)
-- since Adam was head of the human family, all that was lost to him was lost to all his descendants (see CCC 404; optional NOTE 1); all Adam's descendants possess his fallen nature
-- the OS leads to all actual sins; Salvation History from the Fall to the coming of Christ is a catalog of man's repeated fall into sin (Cain and Abel, the Flood, Golden Calf, even David's sin -- see Psalm 51 etc..);
-- sin is the greatest evil and the source of much human suffering, as our daily headlines show us
-- the infinite dignity of God was offended by the sin of man, and only an act of infinite worth coming from man could make up (atone) for that offense; this is impossible for man.
-- Original Sin then refers both to the sin committed by our first parents, and also to the state or condition in which all of Adam's ancestors (i.e. us) are born (Psalm 51: 7; CCC 405 part 1); the fallen human nature is a state of being deprived of the original justice and holiness that our first parents enjoyed in Eden. Human nature is now wounded, warring against itself, and prone to sin which causes suffering and evil to multiply (see Romans 7:15, 17-19). All children of Adam are born spiritually dead, and Heaven was closed to the race of men after Adam's Fall; mankind stood in need of a Redeemer.
IV. The Redeemer (see Genesis 3:15)
-- Jesus Christ is the Redeemer promised in Genesis 3:15 ( see CCC 411)
-- As Gn 3:15 shows, God did not abandon us in our sins, but promised that he would send us a savior to defeat the devil (crush the head of the serpent), conquer sin (on Calvary) and death (Resurrection)
-- Jesus Christ is true God and true Man, as God he offered himself in his human nature as reparation for the sin of Adam and all subsequent actual sins of man through his death on the cross
-- In Adam all die; in Christ shall all be made alive; Christ the new Head of the human family
(see Romans 5: 12,14,18-19; 1 Corinthians 15: 21-22; NOTE 2; John 10:10 )
-- God gives us something better in Christ then we ever had in Adam (see CCC 412)
-- Christ's obedience made up for Adam's disobedience (see CCC 411 above)
-- restores to us the gift of sanctifying grace through faith and the sacramental life of the Church, starting with baptism, which is the gateway to the supernatural life (see NOTE 3),
-- we become adopted sons and daughters of the Father through the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit, heirs to Heaven, through the new covenant in Christ
-- what was lost by Adam is restored in Christ; we become a new creation in Christ ( see 2 Cor. 5: 17-18; NOTE 4 part 1; Jn 3:3-6; Gal. 3:26-28; CCC 405 part 3; NOTE 4 part 2)
-- united to Christ by the Holy Spirit in faith and baptism, born anew by his grace we can live the law of self-giving love that is the very life of the Trinity; we need grace to heal our fallen nature
-- Why then, did God permit the evil of OS and all subsequent evil due to sin to occur?
-- God is perfect, infinitely good
-- God created everything "good", including man whom he created "very good"
-- doctrine of OS teaches us that the abuse of our free will caused evil and suffering to enter the world
-- yet the gift of free will is necessary for us to love God freely, this love manifested through obedience (robots cannot love); if we can freely love God, we must be able to reject him
-- From the above, we can see that God does not will evil, but permits evil to bring a greater good out of it (see CCC 412)
-- suffering can destroy our complacency and self-sufficiency, so that we turn to God (optional see Problem of Pain pg 82-83, 85)
-- our suffering, united with Christ, has redemptive value (see Col. 1:24)
-- supreme example: out of the greatest evil, deicide, our greatest good came, our Redeemer (see NOTE 5)
-- the full answer to suffering and evil is still a Mystery, and this side of Heaven, we can only trust in God who is all good and loving, exemplified most perfectly through the gift of his Son (John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life." )
-- see NOTE 6 which provides a summary of this section
-- In conclusion, God did not abandon the children of Adam after the sin of our first parents. Christ our Redeemer conquered Satan, sin, and death by his atoning death and resurrection and reconciled all men to the Father. Christ saves us from the evil consequences of the sin of our first parents, which we inherit by nature, especially the greatest evil: eternal separation from the Father (i.e. Hell). Through Christ's sacrifice, which made satisfaction for the sin of Adam, Heaven once again was opened to a new race of men: those united to Christ who is the firstborn of the new creation. Born of Adam we are heirs to death; born again of Christ we become heirs to eternal life. Incorporated into Christ's Body through the Holy Spirit by faith and baptism, the children of Adam become adopted sons and daughters of the Father, heirs to Heaven as part of the new covenant family of God which is the Catholic Church.
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CCC 389: The doctrine of original sin is, so to speak, the "reverse side" of the Good News that Jesus is the Savior of all men, that all need salvation and that salvation is offered to all through Christ. The Church, which has the mind of Christ, knows very well that we cannot tamper with the revelation of original sin without undermining the mystery of Christ.
Genesis 2: 15-17
15 The LORD God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it.
16 The LORD God gave man this order: "You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden
17 except the tree of knowledge of good and bad. From that tree you shall not eat; the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die."
CCC 396: God created man in his image and established him in his friendship. A spiritual creature, man can live this friendship only in free submission to God. The prohibition against eating "of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" spells this out: "for in the day that you eat of it, you shall die."The "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" symbolically evokes the insurmountable limits that man, being a creature, must freely recognize and respect with trust. Man is dependent on his Creator, and subject to the laws of creation and to the moral norms that govern the use of freedom.
Genesis 3: 1-13
1 Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the animals that the LORD God had made. The serpent asked the woman, "Did God really tell you not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?"
2 The woman answered the serpent: "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden;
3 it is only about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, 'You shall not eat it or even touch it, lest you die.'"
4 But the serpent said to the woman: "You certainly will not die!
5 No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is bad."
6 The woman saw that the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.
8 When they heard the sound of the LORD God moving about in the garden at the breezy time of the day, the man and his wife hid themselves from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
9 The LORD God then called to the man and asked him, "Where are you?"
10 He answered, "I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself."
11 Then he asked, "Who told you that you were naked? You have eaten, then, from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat!"
12 the man replied, "The woman whom you put here with me--she gave me fruit from the tree, so I ate it."
13 The LORD God then asked the woman, "Why did you do such a thing?" The woman answered, "The serpent tricked me into it, so I ate it."
CCC 397: Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God's command. This is what man's first sin consisted of. All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness.
CCC 390: The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents.
Genesis 3: 16-19, 23-24
16 To the woman he said: "I will intensify the pangs of your childbearing; in pain shall you bring forth children. Yet your urge shall be for your husband, and he shall be your master."
17 To the man he said: "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat, "Cursed be the ground because of you! In toil shall you eat its yield all the days of your life.
18 Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to you, as you eat of the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face shall you get bread to eat, Until you return to the ground, from which you were taken; For you are dirt, and to dirt you shall return."
23 The LORD God therefore banished him from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he had been taken.
24 When he expelled the man, he settled him east of the garden of Eden; and he stationed the cherubim and the fiery revolving sword, to guard the way to the tree of life.
CCC 400: The harmony in which they had found themselves, thanks to original justice, is now destroyed: the control of the soul's spiritual faculties over the body is shattered; the union of man and woman becomes subject to tensions, their relations henceforth marked by lust and domination. Harmony with creation is broken: visible creation has become alien and hostile to man. Because of man, creation is now subject "to its bondage to decay". Finally, the consequence explicitly foretold for this disobedience will come true: man will "return to the ground", for out of it he was taken. Death makes its entrance into human history.
CCC 404: How did the sin of Adam become the sin of all his descendants? The whole human race is in Adam "as one body of one man". By this "unity of the human race" all men are implicated in Adam's sin, as all are implicated in Christ's justice. Still, the transmission of original sin is a mystery that we cannot fully understand. But we do know by Revelation that Adam had received original holiness and justice not for himself alone, but for all human nature. By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state.294 It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice. And that is why original sin is called "sin" only in an analogical sense: it is a sin "contracted" and not "committed" - a state and not an act.
Psalm 51: 1-9, 12-19
[1 For the leader. A psalm of David,
2 when Nathan the prophet came to him after his affair with Bathsheba. ]
3Have mercy on me, God, in your goodness; in your abundant compassion blot out my offense.
4 Wash away all my guilt; from my sin cleanse me.
5 For I know my offense; my sin is always before me.
6 Against you alone have I sinned; I have done such evil in your sight That you are just in your sentence, blameless when you condemn.
7 True, I was born guilty, a sinner, even as my mother conceived me.
8 Still, you insist on sincerity of heart; in my inmost being teach me wisdom.
9 Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure; wash me, make me whiter than snow.
12 A clean heart create for me, God; renew in me a steadfast spirit.
13 Do not drive me from your presence, nor take from me your holy spirit.
14 Restore my joy in your salvation; sustain in me a willing spirit.
15 I will teach the wicked your ways, that sinners may return to you.
16 Rescue me from death, God, my saving God, that my tongue may praise your healing power.
17 Lord, open my lips; my mouth will proclaim your praise.
18 For you do not desire sacrifice; a burnt offering you would not accept.
19 My sacrifice, God, is a broken spirit; God, do not spurn a broken, humbled heart.
NOTE 1: A biblical example illustrating how one can be "in" another by nature is offered by Hebrews 7: 9-10:
9. One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham,
10. for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him.
CCC 405 - part 1: Although it is proper to each individual, original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam's descendants. It is is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, ...
Romans 7: 12,18-19; 12 What I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh. The willing is ready at hand, but doing the good is not. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want.
CCC 405 - part 2: ... but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin - an inclination to evil that is called concupiscence". ....
Romans 5: 12,14,18-19
12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man [Adam], and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned.
14 But death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin after the pattern of the trespass of Adam, who is the type of the one who was to come.
18 Therefore just as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man's act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all.
19 For just as through the disobedience of one person the many were made sinners, so through the obedience of one the many will be made righteous.
1 Corinthians 15: 21-22
21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
St. Paul calls Adam a type of Christ (Rm. 5:14), which means that Adam pre-figured or foreshadowed a reality that Christ would fulfill. That reality was to be the first born of creation, from whom all the blessings of God's life and love flow. Adam was the first born among men by nature; his sinful disobedience brought condemnation resulting in death for himself and for the children of Adam, that is, for all those who are "in Adam" and thereby inherit his sinful nature [see NOTE 1]. Christ is the new Adam, in that by his obedience He defeated sin, death, and the Devil and now is the firstborn of the new creation, so that all who are "in Christ" will receive God's own life (i.e., sanctifying grace) through Him.
All children of Adam by nature are born subject to sin and the condemnation of death. All those who by God's grace repent and cast of their sinful nature, and by faith enter into life with Christ become a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5: 17). St. Paul states in Ephesians 2:3 that before Christ "we were by nature children of wrath", but that now, as Ephesians 2:5 states, God's love and mercy showed itself forth so that God "even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ."
The Catholic teaching on Original Sin then is that every child born of Adam is in need of God's free gift of salvation through the new Adam, Jesus Christ. But how do we enter into that life of grace that Christ's redeeming death has purchased for all mankind?
10 ... I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.
11 I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
Genesis 3: 15
15 [God speaking to Satan in the form of a serpent] I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.
CCC 411: The Christian tradition sees in this passage an announcement of the "New Adam" who, because he "became obedient unto death, even death on a cross", makes amends superabundantly for the disobedience of Adam. [Furthermore many Fathers and Doctors of the Church have seen the woman announced in the Protoevangelium (which means first gospel) as Mary, the mother of Christ, the "new Eve". Mary benefited first of all and uniquely from Christ's victory over sin: she was preserved from all stain of original sin (Immaculate Conception) and by a special grace of God committed no sin of any kind during her whole earthly life.]
1 John 3:8
8 Whoever sins belongs to the devil, because the devil has sinned from the beginning. Indeed, the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the devil.
NOTE 3: A classic definition of a sacrament from Cardinal Gibbons' Faith of the Millions reads as follows: "A sacrament is a visible sign instituted by Christ that gives grace." It is by God's grace that we are saved, as salvation is his free gift to us in Christ. Without his divine life within us, we remain subject to sin and death, which is the inheritance of Adam. A sacrament therefore, is Christ acting through his Holy Spirit in the Church to impart to us his very life (i.e. grace) . Christ is the Head of his Body, the Church, and through the Holy Spirit the grace Christ merited for us on Calvary flows from the Head (i.e., Christ) to the Body (i.e., from Christ to the souls of men through the sacraments). In John 15:5 Jesus speaks of Himself as the vine, and us as the branches. Everyone who remains in Christ bears much fruit, for without Him we can do nothing. We need God's life within us, for otherwise we remain spiritually dead (i.e., in Adam) and can do nothing. We get that supernatural life through the sacraments of the Church that Christ instituted for that very purpose.
2 Corinthians 5: 17-18
17 So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.
18 And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ ...
NOTE 4 - PART 1: Baptism in the new covenant restores us to the life giving communion with God in Christ that was lost through the sin of Adam. By natural birth we are children of Adam and are heirs to sin and death, and so all men need to be "born again" so as to become children of God in Christ Jesus and to inherit eternal life. Jesus speaks of the absolute necessity of this new birth in John 3: 3-6.
John 3: 3-6
3. Jesus answered and said to him, "Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above."
4. Nicodemus said to him, "How can a person once grown old be born again? Surely he cannot reenter his mother's womb and be born again, can he?"
5. Jesus answered, "Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.
6. What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit."
26 For through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus.
27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
CCC 405 - part 3: ... Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ's grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle.
NOTE 4 - PART 2: Scripture reveals, prefigured in the Old Testament (see Ezekiel 36:25-27 below) and fulfilled in the New, that Christ established Baptism as the ordinary means by which the saving power of his sacrifice is applied to men born of Adam. Through Baptism the natural man is freed from the power of Satan, sin and death and is "born again" to the supernatural life of grace in Christ, re-united to the Father through the "washing of regeneration" in the Holy Spirit. (in addition to the above, see Titus 3:5; 1 Cor. 6: 11; Rom. 6: 3-4 ).
CCC 412: But why did God not prevent the first man from sinning? Pope St. Leo the Great [5th century Pope] responds, "Christ's inexpressible grace gave us blessings better than those the demon's envy had taken away." And St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, "There is nothing to prevent human nature's being raised up to something greater, even after sin; God permits evil in order to draw forth some greater good. Thus St. Paul says, 'Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more'; and the Exsultet sings, 'O happy fault,. . . which gained for us so great a Redeemer!'"
"O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!" These words are from the Easter Proclamation (Exsultet), an ancient hymn normally sung or read at the Easter Vigil. They declare that the wise and loving plan of God overcomes the violence and evil of sin through the humility of a self-giving love that embraces our whole tragic history.
This is the Paschal Mystery: the transformation of evil into good through self-giving love. It is at the very heart of the Gospel. It is the very summit and source of the Church's life: the humility of Christ, crucified and risen, in the Eucharist. For this reason it is also at the very heart of the Church's yearly rhythm of worship: the Paschal (or Easter) Triduum. ...
The readings of the Easter Vigil embrace the whole scope of salvation history, from the creation of the world to the resurrection which is a new creation. They tell the promise of a new and more intimate covenant as God's free gift, fulfilled in Christ. (Dr. Jeremy Wilkins, The Mysteries of Easter)
24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church
25. And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
26. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.
27. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep mine ordinances, and do them.
NOTE 6: If God is a loving Father, then why is there so much evil in the world? This is a profound question that for many is an obstacle to faith in God. The first thing that must be understood is that God does not cause evil in the sense of willing it for its own sake. God created everything good, as Genesis 1:31 reveals: "God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good." When our first parents sinned evil gained a foothold in the created universe. In order that man may respond to God's love, man must be free. God therefore does not remove man's freedom for then man would not be able to love God freely. But if man is free, then he is free to reject God's love and commit evil and that is what our first parents did. Sin shatters our relationship with God, and separated from the source of all that is good man succumbs to evil. So the sinful actions of mankind in the past and in the present account for most of the evil in the created universe.
And yet God, who always acts for the good of those who love him (see Romans 8:28), is able to draw good even out of the evil we commit. Thus God is able to write straight with our crooked lines, and bring us to holiness after permitting us to experience the consequences of our rejection of him (see the parable of the Prodigal Son, Luke 15:11-32). In fact, the greatest evil that man has ever committed was to kill the Son of God who became man for our sake. Mankind murdered God, the crime of deicide, and yet out of this greatest evil God brought forth our greatest good, Redemption.
But a complete answer to the "problem of evil" as it is called is not possible in this life. The seemingly disproportionate amount of evil in the world including the suffering of innocents does not admit a full answer based on what God has revealed to us. We only know that God has revealed to us that He is Love, and seeks to share his life and love with us forever, to the point of entering history on our behalf as man and suffering with us, even to death on a cross. So in faith we trust in the loving God who made us, and who suffers with us, and who has revealed to us that even our suffering united to his can bring about good for ourselves and others (see Colossians 1:24). Most importantly we know that our sufferings will be at an end when eternity begins (see Revelation 21:1-5 below).
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, God's dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them (as their God). He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, (for) the old order has passed away." The one [Jesus Christ] who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new."