The universality of decay is both inevitable and frustrating. We see decay in all things around us- food decays, plant and animal life exhibit decay, our own bodies exhibit degeneration and decay. A newborn baby, full of innocence and vitality, inevitably grows into an adult who falls apart due to degeneration of both the mind and the body.
There are certain things that can stem decay. Refrigeration and preservatives can stem decay of food. Life within plants and animals holds decays haltingly at bay, but not forever. Is the creation around us not a distorted equilibrium between life and decay? Decay always wins!
Pantheists will argue that we are part of the universe, having no distinct soul and so being part of the whole, decay is a natural phenomenon as we merge into what we are. However if that were to be true, why does decay bother us? Why do we question sickness and why do we try to delay death? Why does a part of the whole try its best to avoid merging into the whole?
The universality and frustration that decay brings is explained in a coherent fashion in the Bible.
20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. (Romans 8)
Decay had no place in the original world but was introduced like a virus into a computer when man sinned against God at Eden, rebelled against his authority and placed self on the throne. A world that was designed to be run by submission to God was replaced by a defective system, which no longer recognizes the authority of God but lives life and runs the world the way man wishes. That is the root of all decay- both within man and in the creation.
There is good news however- in Christ, liberation from decay was set in motion. Those who believe in Him and submit to him, set in motion within them through the Holy Spirit a process of life that frees them from decay. The mind and body are energized, albeit transitorily, and the new birth within the spirit of man carries on to eternity, where decay has no place. Paul continues in Romans 8;
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved.
Tired and weary of the decay, the whole creation and every man has been waiting expectantly to arrive at a decay- free world, one made real through adopted sonship through Christ. No more does man have to watch in frustration as decay unfolds around him, for this sure hope of salvation portends an eternity where decay has finally been abolished.
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