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The events of September 11, 2001 are etched on my mind. I know precisely what I was doing on that day, when the airplanes were crashed into the Twin Towers. I was planning my father’s funeral.
Frank Taylor had passed away on Sunday September 9, 2001, after a long and painful struggle with mesophelioma—lung cancer caused by industrial asbestos. A quiet man, his ministry to me was in his encouragement. Just four days before his death, I had been showing him the digital camera I had bought, for the web design business that I was then involved in. In my childhood, I remember helping him in the darkroom in the cellar, as we developed black-and-white photos from his camera. As I showed him how images could be manipulated through software, his eyes lit up, as we once again shared the joy of developing photographs.
Less than a year after I became a Christian in my teens, I came across creationism. I read a book whose message was that Genesis was true. As a teenager, studying science A-levels1, this was mind-blowing stuff. Could the Bible actually be so real that it connected with issues that I was studying?
I gave the book to Dad for him to read. He was equally bowled over by it. His reaction was this: “I find it completely convincing.” The one person in the world, whose opinion I respected more than any other, was equally convinced by the truth of God’s Word, as I was. At that stage, we knew no other creationists personally, but we knew that God’s Word actually mattered to real-life issues like science. If Dad had been the slightest bit skeptical, I might not have got into the ministry to which God has now called me.
As one of God’s quiet but faithful servants, my father was, as we all are, victims of the most dreadful event in the history of humanity. The events of 9/11 were truly dreadful, and the suffering caused was immense—yet everyone who died in that terrorist outrage would have died one day in any case. But there was a more awful event, near the beginning of history, when one man—who happened to be the ancestor and representative of all of us—disobeyed, breaking the one commandment that God had given him. Before that event, there was no death in the world.
Why did Dad have to suffer so much? It was because Adam brought sin and death into the world. Dad was a victim of that event, as we all are, and as we all are active participants in the rebellion that brought the sentence of death. Likewise, so were those who lost their lives in the events of 9/11. But some of those victims knew what Dad knew—that their faith in Jesus Christ saved them. Although we live in a world of sin, suffering and death, we know that Jesus’ death and resurrection destroyed the power of sin and death for those who turn to Him in repentance and faith.