Kwabea K Reed Death, what happens when it comes?

As we live our lives on earth we form bonds and relationship s with family, friends and acquaintances. These relationships are formed through fellowship a wonderful bond is created of unity, love and relating with one another. This bond becomes disrupted by thing occurrences in life such as death. When the death of a loved one takes place, the person’s community grieves the loss of relationship. Not long after the grieving process starts questions start to be asked regarding the death of the loved one. Why did this happen? Now that they are dead where will they go?. Are they floating around in a black abyss? A person’s response t to these questions will vary based on their presence or lack of religious beliefs. A person’s religious beliefs regarding death will dictate what they think happens to the person in the process, where they are translated to, how they got to their final destination, and whether they believe they will continue to exist. It is common practice for a parent to attempt to comfort their child at the loss of a pet, other parent, sibling, and friend to death. A common manner of comfort is for the parent to say that the person who has passed away has gone to heaven, “God needed your pet hamsters help in heaven.” The purpose behind a statement like this is to help the person or child mourning to take comfort in the fact that the person is in a safe place. The manner that a person comforts themselves or others when faced with grief is dependent on their religious or lack of religious belief. The text Reason & Religion Belief talks about three possible transformations that take place in death; reincarnation, re-creation and resurrection. (Peterson, et al 2009) The idea of reincarnation is common with religions that have multiple Gods such as Buddhism. The manner that you are reincarnated is dictated by the life that you lived and how you treated others you came in contact with. (www.many-lives.com) The Hindu religion believes that in the event of a

person passing away they become recreated to the point that they no longer remember the life they once lived. (Peterson, et al 2009) Religions that are theistic in that they believe in one eternal and all powerful being each believe that when a person passes away they remain themselves though their souls leave their body. With Islam, Judaism and Christianity there is a common belief not only in the One and Eternal God, but also in the perspective that each person that dies will have to face the judgment of the Eternal being after resurrection. They differ in the manner the resurrection takes place in individual’s lives. Religious beliefs help people cope with the event of death in that it gives them answers about their loved ones and their own possible future passage into death. The question that seems to be inevitable is which reaction or answer is the right one. Are we reincarnated, re-created or resurrected? When Jesus Christ came to the earth he told the disciples and many who were around “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6 Through these words Jesus answered this question he states that he is the way which indicates that he is the correct direction or his instructions in life are the correct pathway to abundant life but also eternal life with God. He establishes the fact that not only is what he is saying the truth he is the truth. The answer to how to get to heaven is found in the life and death of Jesus Christ. Though Judaism and Islam believe in resurrection, the process that they have does not have the access given through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the key to get us to heaven as confirmed, through the passage found in John 3:!6,” God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten, (uniquely created God and man) son Jesus Christ, so that whoever will believe in him will not perish but have eternal life. The Bible mentions the fact that in the

mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses is the truth established, Deuteronomy 19:15, Jesus’ life was witnessed by many. The Holy Spirit bears witness within the hearts of all who believe in Jesus Christ that

he is indeed the son of God and the Messiah who takes away the sins of the world. The belief and relationship with Jesus Christ, God and the Holy Spirit comes through faith and confession. Once a person confesses Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior they are sealed with the Holy Spirit, who will preserve them until the return of Jesus Christ according to Ephesians 1:13. Holy Spirit bears as our witness that we belong to God. The Bible further explains in 2 Corinthians 5:7-9 through the words of the Apostle Paul, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Through this passage Paul is giving comforting assurance to believers in Jesus Christ that when they close their eyes and draw their breath for the last time they will depart from this world and go to be with Jesus Christ. Paul also mentions this in Philippians 1:23. 2 Timothy Chapter 4: 1 mentions the fact that God will judge all, those who are alive and those who are dead at his return. This translates to whether someone believes in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior or they deny him all will go before him for judgment, as he is the final judge. This can be unsettling for some though those who know Christ are not unsettled with this idea as they have been pardoned by the blood of Jesus Christ. There are many in the world that have yet still not received the truth of Jesus Christ. Though they do not receive Him they still believe there is a type of life after death. There were 4 prevailing concepts mentioned in the text the one common thread was that each one spoke of immortality, they each believe there is a type of life after death they just vary in how it takes place. The concepts mentioned where; immortality by remembrance, resurrection in relation to a true self, union with the one and personal life after death. (Peterson, et al 2009) The idea of immortality by remembrance states that once a person dies they no longer live in presence or body form, they live through the memory of those who are their family and friends. This view

does not take into account what happens to a person’s soul at death. The next concept mentioned speaks of the fact that once a person dies they are dead, they no longer exist. The idea of

resurrection was mentioned though it described a person’s life as resurrected while they are alive or the manner in which they live their life dictates a sense of resurrection. Through this idea the life that a person lives in the here and now becomes more genuine through their present life once their thoughts go through a type of enlightenment, as they see their lives as resurrected so they are in the present sense rather than it taking place after death. The third idea mentioned related to the idea of union with the One or also referred to as Nondual. It states that a person’s unique self or their atman goes through a process once they die where they find their way back to Nondual or the One. Once this union takes place anything that made the person a unique being no longer exists they merge with the One. The last condition related to personal life after death. This seems to be closely linked to the idea of resurrection. Through this concept once a person dies their soul will remain the same and they will be the same person. This concept was spoken of in the Bible with the story of Lazarus and the Beggar in Luke chapter 16. After both died they remembered each other and could recognize one another because their souls had a recognizable form. To further illustrate that life after death is possible some theories where formulated, the recreation and spatio-temporal continuity concepts. Through the recreation theory just prior to a person’s death God removes a portion of that person’s soul for the purpose of preserving and God reuses it later on in another being. (Peterson, et al 2009) The other theory mentioned was the spatio-temporal continuity which stated that just prior to a person’s death God splits them in half and separates their soul from their body. This view is close to the scriptural concept mentioned by Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:7-9, the main difference being Paul clearly states that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. The difference as the scriptures state is that a person’s soul goes to be with the Lord upon death.

Death is an event that affects everyone whether they believe in one God or 100s of Gods. It is also cripples some to think about what will happen to their bodies or souls. Some believe they will no longer exist while others believe they will be reincarnated to a different being. Though the Bible is normative for many, there are those that do not hold it as normative. The events that took place in the Bible have been verified through the mouth of many witnesses. Whether a person believe in Jesus Christ or not the Bible states that He is coming back to judge the living and the dead. Many Christians take comfort in the fact that the God who created all placed within everyone the ability to discern that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is also the God that sent Jesus Christ to the earth to save humanity from their sins. Truly it is comforting to know that God desires for none to be lost. Whether none will be lost in death only God knows.

Referenced Works Peterson, Michael, Reichenbach, Bruck. Reason & Religious Belief, Oxford University Press. 2009. www.many-lives.com

http://smma59.wordpress.com/2006/11/13/what-does-islam-say-about-life-after-death-a-primeron-what-happens-in-the-next-world/