Russian poetess Marina Tsvetseva (1892-1941) lived a hard life, which ended when she hanged herself as the Second World War started. In one of her later works, she bitterly wrote:
There have been
Too many funerals held by now
for an Eden you’ve never seen
whose fruit you never tasted.
She does have a point, right? That is—why should we be suffering because of a sin that occurred way before we had been born, and in a place, Eden, that doesn’t even exist on earth anymore? In other words, how fair is it that we should bear the consequences of a transgression that we had nothing to do with?
Well, it’s not fair. But since when is sin, evil, and the results of it fair and logical and reasonable? If it were any of those things, sin and evil might even be justifiable, and who wants that? It’s no fairer that we should suffer for Adam’s sin than its fair that the children born with health challenges years after Chernobyl should suffer for the mistakes that led to that catastrophe.
The only answer? The cross of Jesus Christ, where the Lord took upon Himself, and in our stead (that is, we weren’t on the cross any more than we were in the Garden of Eden), the penalty for our sins, in which He had no part. He didn’t sin; we did. How fair, then, was it for Him to suffer for what He did not do?
And yet, that’s what the cross was all about. We weren’t at the cross, just as we weren’t in Eden. We didn’t need to be at the cross. Christ was, and His death on our behalf is, indeed, all that we need to be spared, ultimately, the consequences of the sin in Eden that we didn’t partake of, either.
Yes, it’s not fair that we should suffer because of Adam’s sin. It’s not fair either that Christ should suffer for ours. But He did, and that’s the hope of eternal life.