Q18: Will God allow our disobedience and idolatry to go unpunished?
ANSWER: No, every sin against the sovereignty, holiness, and goodness of God, and against his righteous law, and God is righteously angry with our sins and will punish them in his judgment both in this life, and in the life to come.
One of the primary questions all men ask themselves over the course of their lifetime is, “Where did life come from?”
There are multiple views regarding where and how life began -- Darwinian evolution, a big-bang theory, and even intelligent design. Yet at the heart of Question 18 in our Catechism, a better question might be, “Where did death come from?”
With the notable exception of Christianity, precious few have an answer to that question. Science can’t explain death, and Islam and Hinduism are largely silent on explaining death.
The Bible clearly teaches that death came by sin. In the Garden of Eden, the Lord God gave Adam one command: “But you must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil for when you eat of it you shall surly die” (Genesis 2:17).
Obedience = life. Disobedience = death.
Adam and Eve disobeyed, yet the Lord did not immediately punish them by death. God granted Adam and Eve a stay of execution, as both lived long and productive lives before eventually succumbing to one of the penalties of sin, physical death.
The universality of death proves the universality of sin. But it doesn’t end there. Question 18 re-states what the Bible teaches, “God is righteously angry with our sins and will punish them in his judgment both in this life, and in the life to come.”
Thankfully, God’s wrath, punishment, and judgment are not the end of the story.
The Lord, addressing the serpent in the Garden of Eden, promised him that the offspring or “seed” of the woman (an impossibility by human standards), would crush his head for deceiving and tempting Adam and Eve into choosing to sin. This extraordinary claim, not fully understood at the time, was the promise of a future Messiah born of a virgin, to take away the sins of the world.
To rescue us from universal sin and universal death, God sent his Son, the universal Savior who promised, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even thought he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25-26).