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A Good Time to Think about Death

There should be times when you think about death. Both death in general and your own death in particular. Holy Week is a good time to think about death.

First of all, death is unavoidable. Every living thing will die. Every human being will die. The universe will “die.” You will die. So how can any system of thought not think through what death means? Shouldn’t the reality of death critique and shape what you believe and understand?

Whether you are thinking about scientific theories, spirituality, morality, ideology, politics or philosophy, surely it is important to consider death and what death means in evaluating the system of thought that you live by. If your philosophy of life avoids the reality of death, then it cannot possibly be wise and true.

Second of all, if death is unavoidable and unstoppable, then it must be natural. But you never feel it is natural. Why is it that death always seems unnatural, “out of place?” Why is it you feel human death “doesn’t belong” or “shouldn’t be?”

If you do not consider the reality and inevitability of death, you will not go on to consider the intuition that death is unnatural. Once again, how does your spirituality or philosophy account for this? Shouldn’t the insight that death is natural yet seems unnatural make you question whether the philosophy or spirituality you believe in is wise?

Third of all, many people today, and throughout history, believe that death is not final, that life goes on in some form. This, in fact, is further evidence that many do not believe that death is natural. Once again, how does an intuition that life follows death fit with the spirituality and philosophy you believe?

But note, the hard-nosed, observable evidence is that human death is final just as all death is final. If death is not final, how do your spirituality and philosophy have to change? Apart from intuition, what evidence is there that human death and death itself are not final? If your philosophy or spirituality does not have good evidence and reasons to believe that life follows death, then don’t you have to say that death is final?

If death is final, how can there be any meaning? Any hope? Any philosophy or spirituality worth believing in?

Christians believe that on the original Good Friday just outside of Jerusalem the women and the soldiers, the enemies of Jesus and the curious, were witnessing the death of death in the death of Jesus the Messiah.

His full and complete entry into death on Friday and His full and complete defeat of death on Sunday is historical evidence that death is not final, and that there is a very particular life after death. The death and resurrection of Jesus is not just a random oddity like discovering that Elvis is alive.

The death and resurrection of Jesus takes place in the context of a powerful overarching biblical story that explains how all things came to be and how evil and death became real and powerful – but are not original or final. In other words, that death is both natural and unnatural.

In Jesus, God bears witness in human history that death is not the final word and does not have to be the final word about you. Jesus said that if you trust in Him and follow Him as your Saviour and Lord, then you will share in His defeat of sin and death, and in His unending life where death is no more. 

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