When I was a kid, my dad would always tell me that the Bible is simply profound and profoundly simple. I have always been a seeker wanting to find the meaning behind the meaning of things and to explore the fringes of what we accept as common. When I was younger, this lead me to read a lot of extra Biblical religious writings. I read commentaries on the Bible and Jewish mystical writings. I’ll admit that I learned from these writing, but much of the time I was in over my head. As I got older, I began to realize that the deeper meanings I was looking for – the real answers that helped me be a better disciple – weren’t in some deep secret book; they were right there in the Bible. I still read extra Biblical sources, but I now see the beauty, depth, and power in the simplicity and practicality of the word.
As an example of this, I want to look at Romans 6:23. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” I think much of scripture we just read over like a novel never really digesting or trying to understand the meaning. So, let’s look deeper into this scripture. The wages of sin is death. What does that mean? Does it mean literal death? Yes. As soon as Adam and Eve sinned, they began to die. They physically began dying. However, they also began dying spiritually.
What is spiritual death? Let’s look first at where we come from. The Bible says that when Adam was created God breathed the breath of life into him. God actually put a piece of Himself into us to give us life. Prior to them sinning in the garden, God would come down and talk with them in the cool of the evening. He had what we would think of as a friendly relationship with them. When we sin, the line of communication between us and God is damaged, because that which is corrupted cannot be in the presence of the uncorrupted.
The Bible also says that the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. So, what is eternal life? Is it us going to heaven and continuing our existence in a perfect place? Yes, most certainly it is. But it is more than that, too. If death is a separation from God and a friendship with our creator, then the eternal life is a restoration of that relationship. The gift of God is not just to be in the garden again. The real, full, complete, and more important gift of God is a return to Him – sitting and talking with Him in the cool of the evening (or any part of the day, of course).
So, in probably one of the more recognized and quoted scriptures, we see the completeness of God’s plan. The core of sin is selfishness, because we turn in towards ourselves and what we want, what we fear, what we think is best. We turn our back on our relationship with God. Sin leads to the death of the body but also the death of the spirit. However, Christ restores us to the father that is the gift. We can one day return again to the garden, but more importantly, we return to a relationship with God.
This is the wisdom of the Bible. There is an immense meaning in the simplest interpretations of scripture, but every layer of understanding you pull back from a scripture leads to a new understanding of the scripture and a better understanding of Him.