The topic of death is avoided and obsessed over. When the virus crisis arrived, and death seemed to be everywhere, many people said they weren’t afraid to die, but they were afraid of the physical suffering that the virus might cause and of losing their loved ones. But even if you aren’t of dying yourself, losing someone close to you is life-changing for those left alive and many have been left reeling from it in the past year.
2020 forced us to think about death.
There are debates on when someone is actually dead and debates on what to do if someone has some physical signs of life, but not others. For example, is someone who is still breathing via mechanical ventilation, but has no measurable brain activity still alive? Doctors are being more careful to be sure that someone is truly dead due to cases of people suddenly reviving after being thought to be dead. But unfortunately in most cases, death means we don’t get another chance to say “I’m sorry.” or “I love you”.
The leading cause of human death in developing countries is infectious disease. The leading causes in developed countries are atherosclerosis (heart disease and stroke), cancer, and other diseases related to obesity and aging. By an extremely wide margin, the largest unifying cause of death in the developed world is biological aging, leading to various complications known as aging-associated diseases. These conditions cause loss of homeostasis, leading to cardiac arrest, causing loss of oxygen and nutrient supply, causing irreversible deterioration of the brain and other tissues. Of the roughly 150,000 people who die each day across the globe, about two thirds die of age-related causes.Wikipedia
Different views about death
People disagree about what happens when someone dies. Mainstream Christian denominations believe that after the physical body dies, the spirit continues to exist forever either with God or without God. The details about how this works vary somewhat by denomination. Some non-mainstream churches do not believe people exist eternally in a place of judgment called hell, but do believe in eternal life in heaven for people who follow certain requirements. Rather than hell, they believe non-believers experience annihilation. Other religious and non-religious traditions include reincarnation into another body and simply ceasing to exist after death.
The major religions that hold a belief in reincarnation, however, are Asian religions, especially Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism, all of which arose in India. They all hold in common a doctrine of karma (karman; “act”), the law of cause and effect, which states that what one does in this present life will have its effect in the next life.https://www.britannica.com/topic/reincarnation
Deep down, I think everyone knows that death is not the end, but many people suppress that knowledge.
Lack of information, fear of judgment and fear of the unknown can cause people to make up their own beliefs about death. All children go through a series of developmental stages during which they become aware that the people they love are going to die and never return. This causes a developmental crisis that must be resolved or it can lead to emotional problems later.
Children do not understand death all at once but gradually as they develop their powers of reasoning and begin to understand the concept of permanence. Experiencing the loss of a family member or pet is often the trigger for a crisis. Children need the loving, secure guidance of a parent or other adult that they trust to help them through these stages or they can resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with the emotional pain of realizing that they have no control over death.
Teenagers especially can feel abandoned, hopeless, and depressed and if they do not know how to express those painful feelings they can engage in destructive behaviors such as using drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, cutting, suicide or acting out in violent ways. Eventually we develop a philosophy of death based on our experiences and knowledge or lack thereof.
Common reactions to death in school-aged children may include difficulty concentrating in school, problems sleeping, and recurrent thoughts about the death. School-aged children may report physical reactions like stomachaches and headaches, which can be triggered by being in places that remind them of the person who died.https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/emotional-wellness/Building-Resilience/Pages/How-Children-Understand-Death-What-You-Should-Say.aspx
Why do we die? Death is the result of man’s disobedience to God.
When God created man and woman, they lived in a perfect world with God, and were innocent of any sin. But they had the ability to choose. God told them if they disobeyed his commandment to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would die. He didn’t mean they would die right that second. He meant that they would lose the perfect relationship with Him that they enjoyed and be separated from Him spiritually. The relationship was cut off like a tree branch in a storm. No longer could they relate to him in the same way because of their sin. And eventually they would die physically as well. This is because the price of sin is death. Adam and Eve chose not to trust and obey God. They wanted to be in charge of their lives and they lost it all. The Bible is the story of God’s plan to fix that broken relationship.
Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, those who believe are no longer separated from God and have been given eternal life even though our bodies will die !
When it comes to God, the sentence for all sins is the same, separation from him. This is because God is so holy that he cannot be in the presence of evil. Sin is choosing to rebel against the God who made us and go our own way.
Satan wants us to believe that there are little sins and big sins, but that is not what God says in his Word. Jesus said that lusting in your heart is as bad to God as actually committing adultery! He said that cursing someone with words is equal to murder! He was saying that no one is good enough for heaven without his grace and mercy.
Those who believe that God sent his son Jesus to die for their sins, to reconcile their sin debt, to redeem them from the slavery of sin, will be with God forever, now and in the Kingdom of heaven. That is what ‘everlasting life’ means in the well-known verse John 3:16. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Yes, you will still die a physical death, but your spirit will live forever with God.
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. John 11:25 ESV
Before Jesus was crucified and resurrected, he spent 3 years preaching and doing many miracles in order to show the people that they could trust God’s ability to save them. He fed thousands of people with a loaf of bread and a few fishes. He healed the blind and lame and brought back the dead. Most of the people thought that he would save them from the rule of the Romans during their immediate lifetime, but a few understood that he was the Messiah who would save them from their sins and restore them to God’s favor.
Jesus lived over 1500 years after God had rescued the Israelites from Egypt and given Moses the Law and 2000 years since God had chosen Abraham to be the father of a great nation set aside for God. Because of their sins, the people were oppressed and had been waiting a long time for the Messiah. Even people who followed Jesus were very discouraged when Jesus was crucified and did not become the king they expected.
But after the disciples received the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, they now understood everything and began preaching and teaching that Jesus was alive and his crucifixion was part of the plan of redemption. They taught the people that the Jesus was going to return to restore Israel and create a new Kingdom and that they must repent and believe in Jesus.
Jesus had to DIE so that we could LIVE!
Some people do not like this idea that God required a human sacrifice for sin. But if you understand that God’s plan was the only way to achieve divine justice, and trust that He knew all along that it must happen, you will be thankful!
He gave himself for us! Jesus was God’s son, but he was also the image of God. He was God IN THE FLESH. He was the union of God’s spirit with a human to create a perfect man. Jesus was tempted by Satan, like we are, but he did not sin. He submitted himself completely to God’s authority, because he was the Son of God, unlike the created man Adam.
Jesus had always existed in heaven as the Word of God and had interacted with men in the past in different forms. He was the creator of the universe. God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. All three parts are equal and have always existed. So when Jesus was born as a human baby, he was still God. In this way, God gave himself for us. The following link explains it better.
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29 ESV
God did not let Abraham sacrifice his own son on the altar, instead he provided a lamb for him after he was tested and found to be faithful. And then later God provided the perfect Lamb through his son, Jesus. This was a picture of what God was going to do. The sacrifices of animals as commanded through the law of Moses could not take away sins permanently, but Jesus’ sacrifice could.
Sin entered the world through a man and through a MAN sin had to be punished. But there was a difference between Adam and Jesus. Jesus had NO SIN in him. He was the perfect sacrifice. This is something that none of us can do. Our nature is corrupted by Adam’s sin so we had no way to be forgiven.
Without Jesus we would die in our sinful state. But Jesus made a way! “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” John 14:6 (Note that the Bible does not state that babies or the intellectually challenged go to hell. ) God knew all along that people would not be able to follow the Law. Jesus was always the plan. The Law was provided first to show us that we need Jesus!
14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. Hebrews 2:14-16 ESV
I pray that if you have not asked Jesus to forgive your sins that today will be the day of salvation for you. He has made a way for you! Trust him. Amen.
Good stuff, PK! An excellent book just came out this week, Hope Always, by Dr. Matthew Sleeth. He notes that Adam and Eve were the first “suicides” because they had been told the consequences, and ate the poisonous fruit anyway. And subsequently, whenever the devil shows up, death is almost always right behind him. But wherever our Lord shows up, he brings LIFE, “and that more abundantly!” Jesus always brings hope and life! Hallelujah!
Thanks! I’m trying to edit more . I asked my 16 year old to edit and he said no, my writing is terrible. Ouch!