"God did not make death, and he does not delight in the death of the living. For he created all things that they might exist." (Ws 1:13-14)

"God has ordained [death] for all flesh; why then should you reject the will of the Most High?" (Sir 41:4)

From the above passages there appears a seeming contradiction. One says that God is not the author of death while in Sirach death is seen as ordained by God. How are we to understand this seeming contradiction?

God created Adam and Eve with the gift of integrity, the harmony of man's nature which meant "immortality". This harmony of life was dependent on God, its origin and source. Adam and Eve decided to revolt against the living God, thus losing eternal life with God and the life given harmony of his being leading to disintegration and physical death. An analogy may help us to see this. A child in its mother womb is dependent on the life of the mother. Should the child loose this dependency through natural abortion or other means, death will surely follow. Since man's integrity was in the nature of relationship between God and man, it can be seen as caused by man but also as a judgment of God who created their original nature dependent on his love and life.

While God is good and in no way wills moral evil, does God will physical evil such as sickness and death? Evil is not a thing but a lack of perfection in a nature. For example, a bird without wings is a defect in nature. St. Thomas Aquinas gives us the clearest possible answer when he states, "The evil of natural defects, or of punishment, He does will, by willing the good to which such evils are attached. Thus in willing justice He wills punishment; and in willing the preservation of natural order, He wills some things to be naturally corrupted." (Part I, Q. 19, Art. 9) So, God wills physical evil indirectly or to express it differently, He allows it so as to bring about a greater good.

In the scriptures we read, "It is I who bring forth death and life." (Dt 32:39) Man is the primary cause of his eventual death but since God rules over the life of man, the timing of each man's death must be left in the hands of God. Objectively speaking, suicide is absolutely wrong because by this act the individual rejects the absolute sovereignty of God over his or her life. Terrorists who blow themselves up in public places commit suicide and murder for a political or even a religious reasons reject not only the sovereignty of God over life but also love of neighbor. The time of our death is determined by God who in his wisdom sees all things and exercises his power with love.

What, than, should be our attitude toward death?

We need to accept death as the will of our loving Father. We need to accept the need to die in reparation for our sins. Suffering should not drive one to despair because God has promised eternal life for those who believe. To show his great love for us God even willed the death of his only Son so that we might have life anew. Christ said, "I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die." (Jn 11:25-26)

At this point we we answer the fundamental question: Why did God create me? The classic answer has been, To know, love and serve God in this life and to be happy with Him forever in heaven." And this new life in God not only involves the soul but ultimately also the body because man as man is a unity of body and soul.

Cosmic Struggle for Life