Eternity Lives in the Heart of Man
As it grows, it eats and molts and eats and molts until one day it makes a silk string and ties itself to the branch of a tree, hangs upside down, and loses its skin one more time. A hard case forms around its body, which we call a chrysalis. Were we to see it, we might think the caterpillar had died. In a sense, it has. The caterpillar body has become a liquid, and we call it a pupa at this stage. More and more changes take place where we can’t see them.
What finally emerges from the chrysalis is no longer a worm-like caterpillar, but a lovely butterfly. I wonder if the creature who always crawled from leaf to leaf ever envisioned itself flying from flower to flower through the air?
Consider also the tadpole. When it hatches from its egg, it resembles a little fish, and like a fish, it breathes through gills and would not be able to breathe on land. Water is the only world it knows. Then it begins to grow legs and a head and form lungs. Soon after that, when its tail has completely disappeared, it moves to land and enters a world it never envisioned when it was a tadpole.
Man has been observing these changes for centuries. Even babies in the womb do not have any inkling that when they leave that warm and comfortable place, they will be thrust into a whole new world where they will grow up. In each of these cases, a creature passes from one kind of existence to another. Is it any wonder that thinking men have thought through the ages that what appears to be death is, in fact, the transition to a different kind of life?
Major Religions Believe in Immortality
The Idea of Immortality
Most of the world’s major religions believe that either the body or soul is immortal, if not both. If you want details on this, I would refer you to wikipedia, since it’s not my purpose here to examine the history of that belief, but simply to answer a question I was asked.
Why I Think There is Life after Death
I was asked, “Why can’t people just be happy with their lives and not fear death. Why do they need to think there is life after death?” I myself believe in immortality because Jesus taught it. I am a Christian, and I look to the Bible as revealed truth.
There are some things beyond the reach of man to know through observation and reason. Science can go only so far and it can only deal with the world that is physical. Jesus said, ” I am the Resurrection and the Life; he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.” (John 11: 25 ) One cannot read the book of John and not believe that Jesus taught life was eternal for those who believe in him.
The Role of Faith
It still, though, comes down to faith. Something in the hearts of most people whispers to them that something of them will remain after their body is in the grave. Something in our psyches resists the thought that the real person that is us won’t go on forever.
I believe God built that idea into us, especially since from the beginning of recorded history people believed in someone or something more powerful than themselves, and the religions that came from the beginning usually had ceremonies at death that indicated the dead person would have an afterlife. Why else were the pyramids built and stocked with what the deceased would need?
The Christian View of Immortality
As a Christian I believe that when I die, the part of me that lives forever will immediately be in the presence of Christ and that I will be reunited with my body when Christ returns. The dead in Christ shall rise first and those who are still alive shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and then all of them will be forever with the Lord. This is taught in I Thessalonians 4: 16-17.
There is no way I can prove this will happen. But I believe it because the Bible teaches it. Even the Old Testament teaches the concept of the resurrection. In Psalm 23 David declares that goodness and mercy will follow him all the days of his life and he will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 49 states that “God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me. ”
I love life, and have no desire to leave it soon. I think God also built the will to survive into each of us. I think that the idea of immortality helps us make our transition into the unknown territory of death, but even more, it helps us let go of our loved ones with the hope we will meet again. Billy Graham answers many questions people have about death and what comes afterward in the book below.
As surely as the caterpillar changes in the chrysalis to an entirely different body, so I believe the Bible teaches that Christian believers will change the kind of body they will rise with. It’s a mystery, and I don’t think too much about it — unless someone asks a question.
If you know someone wondering about what happens after death, why not share this with them? There are sharing buttons at the top of the post and at the end.
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