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Life, Death, and the In-between

Life, Death, and the In-between

What Happens at Death, and Why is this Moment Critical? 

By Mitchell Powers

The death rate in the United States is 1,027 per 100,000 in a population and the life expectancy is 77 years. [1] Out of all the variables in life and things unknown, one thing is certain: death. However, despite the grim reality, God has an interesting take on how we should view death and how we should live our lives according to our understanding of death. 

The Bible is chalk-full of stories about or containing death. From Cain murdering Abel in cold blood to a genocide of infants in Egypt, from Israel killing hundreds of men in war to Jesus being brutally crucified on the cross, death is not that uncommon in the Bible. [2-5] 

Death, according to the biblical narrative, began with Adam and Eve. It is the “wage of sin,” in which all of humanity suffers the same price for their own individual brokenness. [6] However, death is not a punishment but what is owed of sin itself. Sin, according to its Greek language, should be understood as missing the mark or separation from God’s design. When one understands that and understands that God is life, a simple equation can be made. [7&8] 

If God is life, and sin is missing the mark, then when a human sins, they inevitably land in death. However, God forged life as we know it. He is life and the final judge of life; God owns life and reigns over death.  

Onto the scene comes Jesus. In the Christian perspective, it is understood that Jesus came to the earth not to condemn humanity’s sin, but to save and restore. Jesus lived a perfect life, never sinning, thus never owing death. But, in exchange, Jesus traded His perfect life for the opportunity to be with His creation in a perfect and harmonious eternity. Jesus gave his perfect life to the debt-collector that is death and in doing so, made in contract to the wages of sin that whoever believes in Him, bearing His name, would not die, but have eternal life. [9] 

For creation, for the 21st-century human, we still die. So, did Jesus lie? Jesus said very clearly that although humans may die, it is not permanent. [10] Jesus taught of a day when He will come again and resurrect all and take to heaven those who want to. For those that don’t, they will have ultimately chosen no-life, an eternal death. The Bible suggests torment, a hell-like scene, but the narrative suggests that whoever does not choose Christ simply chooses no life, and the “suffering” mentioned is the sufferable idea of non-existence with Christ. [11] 

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Ultimately, death has no eternal effect for those who choose love. Thus, those who believe should not be fearful of death but live life loving and sharing the good news of one who has overcome for all of humanity. Death does not discriminate its victims, neither does Jesus exclude anyone from His salvific event. 

Death is a backdrop that makes our moment in life pop out. Death reveals a seriousness about life and that every moment we live is precious and critical. Death suggests a right way of living. Death points to the need for love. 

References 

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, December 21). Products – data briefs – number 427 – December 2021. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db427.html   
  1. Genesis 4, NIV. 
  1. Exodus 12:29, NIV. 
  1. 1 Samuel 187, NIV. 
  1. Mark 15:25, NIV. 
  1. Romans 7:23, NIV. 
  1. Genesis 2, NIV. 
  1. John 14:6, NIV. 
  1. John 3:16, NIV. 
  1. John 11:25-26, NIV. 
  1. Revelation 14:11, NIV.
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