Tue May 21, 2013
by Amanda Edmondson
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Sun May 19, 2013
by Shandel Slaten
Sat May 18, 2013
by Hugh Whelchel
Why Death Matters
Your Body Will Die
Though the focus of my theology of human embodiment has thus far been on life in the body, one of the great inevitabilities of life is death. Ecclesiastes describes the inescapable finality of death (Eccl. 9:2-3), speaking of it in terms of an appointment that all people have (Eccl. 3:1-2). Specifically, “It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Heb. 9:27). Because of universal human sinfulness (Rom. 5:12-19; 1 Cor. 15:21-22), death inevitably comes to all human beings.
Scripture presents physical death as the cessation of the functioning of the material aspect of human nature. The body ceases its physiological activity, and the life principle that energized the body is withdrawn from it (Eccl. 12:7; cf. Gen. 3:19; James 2:26).
Because of universal human sinfulness, death inevitably comes to all human beings.
Another important component of death has to do with the relationship between this material aspect, the body, and the immaterial aspect, the soul or the spirit (Matt. 10:28). The immaterial aspect survives the death of the body such that a temporary separation of the body and the soul occurs. The body is sloughed off, returning to dust from which it was derived, while the soul continues in a conscious state of existence (2 Cor. 5:1-9). Death, therefore, is not the end of all existence, but the end of existence in this earthly state.
6 Things You Need to Know About Death
Theologically, we affirm:
- Death is the gateway between the current earthly existence and eternal existence of either blessedness in the presence of the Lord or of misery and torment in hell (Matt. 25:46; 2 Thess. 1:5-12).
- This gateway of death is unnatural, the result of sin and not part of the created human order. There is no hint in Scripture that God created Adam and Eve with the eventuality of death as the natural result of the aging process of their bodies. Rather, death was introduced into the human realm as a punishment for sin (Gen. 3:19; Rom. 5:12). The experience of death, therefore, is unnatural, even if it is universal.
- Christians should view their own death as a homecoming, leaving their earthly body and going home to be with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8). Death, then, as the passage into their future life, is “gain” and means departing this life so as to “be with Christ,” which is “far better” (Phil. 1:21, 23). Christians do not need to fear death, because the evil one who holds everyone in fear of death has been defeated (Heb. 2:14-18).
- While grieving deeply over the death of other believers (e.g., Acts 8:2; 20:37-38; Phil. 2:27), Christians should also rejoice with hope (1 Thess. 4:13), knowing that these Christ-followers are now in the presence of Christ experiencing his blessings, comfort, and rest (Rev. 14:13).
- Such anticipation is not the case with the death of those who did not embrace Jesus Christ.
- We nurture a steadfast hope for the complete defeat and disappearance of death, a future reality that will one day be realized through Jesus Christ. Then the church redeemed by its Lord will be able to cry, “Death is swallowed up in victory!” (1 Cor. 15:54-55).
To be continued.