“I have some good news and some bad news.”
I always get nervous when I hear this. I can’t wait to hear the good news, but I always dread hearing the bad news. Why do good things in life always have a catch?
The Good News about Jesus is great news for the whole world. Jesus is Lord and Savior; when we believe and trust in Him, we can experience eternal life.
Now, there’s no “catch” in the Good News. But there is some bad news we have to deal with. Why? Because the Good News makes no sense without the bad news. And it’s really, really bad news.
The Bad News
Here’s the bad news: Human beings are lousy at ruling themselves. This has always been the case, and nothing’s changed today. A glance at the day’s news brings the horrors of human cruelty, injustice, oppression, and pointless absurdity right into our living room.
But God never intended for it to be this way. He created us to flourish and thrive and to live with Him forever. He wanted us to be “whole” and to experience a never-ending life full of joy, purpose, creativity, security, friendship, and love.
So, what happened?
In the Beginning
In the beginning, God ruled the whole universe with love and care. As a result, everything flourished. It was a perfect paradise!
God made people to live in the paradise and cultivate it. He made us “in his image,” which means He gave us creativity and initiative so we could live and join Him in His work of helping His creation thrive (see Genesis 1:26-28).
But we thought we knew better than God and wanted to run things without him. We wanted to rule the world and decide right and wrong for ourselves. So we rebelled against God’s loving rule—we “sinned”—and it ruined everything.
The Effects of Sin
First, our rebellion ruined our relationship with God, who’s the source of all life. Sin cuts us off from God’s life-giving presence, so it’s no surprise that we now experience decay, disease, and death (see Romans 6:23).
Sin also ruined our relationships with each other. We became alienated and isolated from others, unable to sustain friendships without hurting one another.
Sin ruined us. Because of sin, our hearts and minds are thoroughly corrupted, and there’s nothing we can do to fix them. We don’t just do bad stuff; we are bad. Everyone’s affected; no one’s good—no one! (See Romans 3:10.)
Now, this would be bad enough if we were just talking about individuals. But we’re talking about a whole species gone bad—a species that was supposed to reflect God’s image, His love, and care—into the world.
But instead of thriving and flourishing, we now have to make our way in a dark, cruel world that’s been corrupted by corporate, systemic evil and wickedness. And no one’s immune—the ills of society deeply affect us all.
We’ve never recovered from the effects our rebellion against God. Everything we’ve tried has failed. Even when something works for a while (e.g., education, technology, progress, positive thinking, etc.), all it takes is a World War, a holocaust, or a mass shooting to remind us that we still haven’t figured things out. There are no human solutions to human problems.
That’s the bad news. Even though we often try to avoid the consequences of sin by distracting or numbing ourselves, the fallout from our rebellion always catches up with us.
The Good News
But God has a solution. There’s hope – there’s Good News.