Tag: Death

THE MEANING OF DEATH

Most of us have a one-hundred percent chance of dying, and dying is the most common cause of death. So perhaps it requires a little consideration, now and then…

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In five years of blogging my most popular post by far has been “The Meaning of Life According to Hamlet, Paul and Deep Thought”. So I decided it was time to discuss the meaning of death. Unfortunately Deep Thought, an imaginary computer invented to calculate the meaning of life, apparently had no opinion on the meaning of death…

Death is pretty popular these days. That may seem like a rather crass statement, but unfortunately, it’s true. Take, for example, the idea in certain religious circles that you can only be sure of getting to heaven by killing yourself along with other people: you prove how great God is by committing suicide and murdering them. That isn’t, incidentally, the God of the Bible.

Death has been explained and explored in as many ways as the human mind can imagine. One of the most popular ideas about death is that we die because we need to have another go at getting life right: reincarnation. Seems like a good idea, eh? Why shouldn’t we get another chance at life if we blow it? The problem is that according to such philosophies the majority of us are going to “blow it” through tens of thousands of life-times. So if you’re not used to dying yet, you’d better start getting used to it now.

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(Photo Laurent Belanger)

Unless God puts his foot in the door first-or more specifically, on the Mount of Olives-we all have a one-hundred percent chance of dying. Dying is the most common cause of death. And I don’t mean that flippantly either, because when God warned Adam against disobedience, he meant not that Adam would be zapped on the spot by a lightening bolt the moment he disobeyed, but that he would begin to die, and he would keep dying, until he was dead. God was not keeping Adam and Eve from fulfillment in life: he was trying to help Adam make a wise choice and so avoid death. Alas, Adam opted for death.

Another highly popular explanation for death was promoted by Mr. Darwin in the nineteenth century, and of course by all his fans up to the present day. In Darwin’s theory death is nature’s way of disposing of the older, more primitive life forms, and giving rise to the new and more successful. Darwin believed that some races of man were more highly evolved than others, and would soon see their extinction. Yes-he was genuinely biased against certain groups of humans, a fact rarely included in discussions of the “elegance” of evolution theory.

Darwin himself had been influenced by others, particularly Herbert Spencer, who coined the word “evolution” and the phrase “survival of the fittest”. These concepts gave rise to “Social Darwinism” which saw wealthy, successful intellectuals as being more evolved than the poor and the weak, and later “eugenics”- the idea that the weakest in the human race should be discouraged or stopped from breeding. Such ideas were taken up and implemented very successfully by men like Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin*

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The meaning of death in evolution, if we look at it honestly, is that it’s a vital part of the onward-and-upward trend of life on earth, including that of humanity: it’s a good thing. More specifically (and modern evolutionists generally avoid this aspect of the discussion too) the death of the less successful, the less attractive and the weak is necessary and inevitable. No wonder such men as Hitler liked the idea. And by the way, the meaning of life according to evolution is struggle and competition, so better your neighbors if you can.

This view of death demeans you. It makes your life little more than a stepping-stone for someone else’s. In the rising tide of atheism, unbelief and skepticism in our world, there are many who would read what I just wrote and then claim to be more than willing and happy to be one of those stepping stones. But for those who are not, there’s a far better explanation for death, and a hope beyond it which far outweighs any pain experienced on its arrival.

It’s sometimes said by the cynical that heaven is a fairy story for those who can’t face the thought of death. My view is that evolution is a fairy story for those who can’t face the thought of heaven, God or judgment. As I’ve written before many times, I’ve seen no evidence for evolution, and neither have you. Oh, you’ve seen different kinds of dogs, but they’re still dogs. You’ve seen people with black skin and white skin and yellow skin, but they’re still people. In contrast, I’ve seen plenty of evidence that there is an incredibly intelligent and powerful Creator, a creator who is eternal, and who therefore must have power over death.

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The Bible gives an explanation for death which is, I believe, higher, deeper, and more noble than that of the evolutionist. For me it fits the whole claim found in the Bible that there is a holy God who has absolute standards. We as his creation, beginning with Adam and Eve, have failed to live up to those standards, and the result is death:

“The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a)

A perfect God cannot allow a rebellious creation to live for ever: there has to be a check-point: a consequence and an answer to our fallen condition. However, the Bible teaches one death only.

A God who is able to make such an amazing, beautiful universe must also, as the Bible declares, be a loving God. And it’s that love which provides the antidote to death:

“But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (6:23b).

The gift of eternal life comes by a healing of our broken relationship with God in which God chooses to forgive us completely and put us on the right path. Death parts us from our fallen nature which caused the problem in the first place. It’s nothing but good news-the good news about Jesus Christ. Please see my recent post on the gospel:

https://nickyfisher.com/2017/02/12/the-gospel-of-jesus-christ/

*See for more info on the link between the theory of evolution and murderous philosophies, see the following posts:

https://nickyfisher.com/2012/07/15/adolph-hitler-part-5-of-war-religion-and-atheism/

https://nickyfisher.com/2012/06/30/stalin-part-4-of-war-religion-and-atheism/

 

 

BODY PARTS

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So “Planned Parenthood”, while wanting the world to believe that what they abort by the million is only a clump of unwanted cells, is and has been selling human organs and other body parts from late and full term fetuses:

http://aclj.org/pro-life/important-pro-life-investigative-journalism-continues-as-new-video-reveals-more-gruesome-truths-about-planned-parenthood

What sickens me almost as much is the level of denial by the bulk of the media, and the inaction by the majority of our politicians  (or in the case of men such as President Obama, willing compliance with and support for Planned Parenthood) while the bulk of the populace continues on as though all is well in the world. We should apologize to Hitler, to Mengler, and to all the other tyrants we attacked, only to take up the same kind of butchery ourselves.

God have mercy on us…

VOTE FOR BABIES

Mr Jo Biden recently admitted during a public vice-presidential debate that he believes life begins at conception. He then said that he did not want to “push” his beliefs onto other people, and supported a woman’s right to an abortion.  If that which is in the womb is alive, but it’s alright to take that life, what does this say about all those currently in prison or on death row for murder? They took life from someone, but the beliefs of others (particularly the judges’) were “pushed” onto them, and they are now paying for what they did.

President Obama is doing all he can to see that “Planned Parenthood” is given free reign and plenty of taxpayer’s money for its services. He said, while defending a woman’s “right” to an abortion, that having an unplanned or unwanted baby is a “punishment”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jszkPtsFH-k

How many of us were unplanned or unwanted? I was. My mother told me that she cried when she was told she was pregnant. In later years she said that I was a blessing, but according to Mr. Obama I was a “punishment” to my mother, and should have been “aborted”. I deserved nothing better than to be ripped up and thrown away as worthless trash, never to be given the chance to be a blessing to anyone.

The common answer that abortion is most often necessary for the health of the mother is an excuse. A recent report to the UK government determined that far less than one percent of abortions in that country are performed in order to save the life of the mother:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201213/ldhansrd/text/120719w0001.htm#12071972000444

Without doubt many abortions in the US are not necessary either, and there have been something like fifty million legal abortions in the US since 1973. It’s a holocaust.

I was almost sickened to see one website cursing pro-life campaigners as simply coming from an anti-sex perspective. The concept of abortion makes me weep, but I love sex. I totally reject the notion that abhorring abortion equals a distain for sex. How ridiculous!  What a pathetic argument!

What about the common defense that the woman has rights over her own body? I would agree. But there’s one problem: there is another body inside the pregnant woman which is not her own.

At twenty-two days, the developing fetus has its very own beating heart. The heart is pumping the baby’s own blood, which is often a different blood type to the mother’s.

The baby has its very own DNA.

The fetus is developing its very own organs. At six weeks there are detectable brain waves. Its own spine and skeleton are  forming.

At week six the baby’s very own unique fingerprints are beginning to form. At week nine or ten it can move its head.

http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/facts/fetaldevelopment.html

Yes, the baby is dependant on the mother, but so is a four year old. Should we then begin to take the life of four-year olds?

What about cases of rape? Well, if you want to kill someone, it seems a lot more logical to kill the rapist and not the baby.

What is developing in our society is a culture of death. If we have arrived at the stage where we don’t care that babies can be aborted right up to the moment of birth, then we have truly become desensitized, dehumanized, demoralized and debased. How long is it before the elderly are considered to be non-human and nothing more than a burden?

What has God to say about abortion?

First of all, if you have been supportive of or have had an abortion that wasn’t necessary, God can forgive you if you recognize it as sin.

Secondly, check out the relevant commandment in Exodus chapter 20. Consider that God knows us in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139: 13-14).

Or bear in mind, when you vote, that God hates “hands that shed innocent blood” (Proverbs 6: 16-17).

How does God feel about us, when we cast a vote for those who provide, legally and financially, for those who shed innocent, defenseless blood?

THE MEANING OF LIFE ACCORDING TO HAMLET, PAUL AND DEEP THOUGHT

What is the meaning of life? This question has been asked for as long as humans have been around…

I’m told that in this post-modern age the question of the meaning of life is no longer an issue, since nothing is regarded to be objectively “true”, and evolutionism has sucked any spiritual meaning out of life.

I think the meaning of life is probably a non-issue for those people who are determined not to notice God at all, and for those who claim to be atheists, but I’m sure it’s still being asked a billion times over, all around the world, every day. Perhaps the question is only asked inside minds, because it’s true that looking for meaning has become unfashionable. I offer here three views of the meaning of life.

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DEEP THOUGHT

In Douglas Adams’ wonderful, witty, imaginative “Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” trilogy*, which no spoof writer has yet equaled, an alien race of philosophers build themselves a super-computer designed solely to find the answer to the meaning of life, and name it “Deep Thought”. After performing the necessary calculations for seven and a half million years, it finally announces that the answer to the meaning of life is “forty two”. The philosophers are shocked and bewildered that they’ve waited so long only to find that the answer to the meaning of life seems so meaningless. Deep Thought then offers to design a computer which can calculate what the question is.

You don’t have to wait seven and half million years for the answer to the meaning of life. The Bible gives us an explanation, and gives it in a very succinct, clear to understand way. We don’t need to go through life without an answer, we don’t need to go to some guru in the Himalayas, and we don’t need to ask Stephen Hawking or Richard Dawkins (they don’t know it anyway).

HAMLET AND PAUL

In giving the answer, I want to share with you a striking contrast I’ve noticed between the apostle Paul’s view of life and that of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”. You may well ask what Hamlet has to do with this. Of course, he is a fictional character, but in his famous and eloquent soliloquy we find one view of life and death which is very prevalent in these days, and which we may have found ourselves sharing at some time. You can skip the following quote and go to my summary if you wish, but in order to catch the drift of Hamlet’s philosophy, let’s look at a part of his speech, found in Act 3, Scene 1:

“To be, or not to be: that is the question:

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,

And by opposing end them?

To die: to sleep; No more; and by a sleep to say we end

The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks

That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;

To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,

Must give us pause: there’s the respect

That makes calamity of so long life;

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,

The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,

The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,

The insolence of office and the spurns

That patient merit of the unworthy takes,

When he himself might his quietus make

With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,

To grunt and sweat under a weary life,

But that the dread of something after death,

The undiscover’d country from whose bourn

No traveler returns, puzzles the will

And makes us rather bear those ills we have

Than fly to others that we know not of?”

To summarize Hamlet’s thoughts in my own very amateur way, Hamlet is extremely disillusioned with his world, and with life in general. He’s been wronged significantly, and hurt by those closest to him. He finds nothing of merit within human nature. He sees life as a weary battle to fend off the evil which comes from all directions. He can’t make up his mind which is worse: to live through the troubles of life, or to die by suicide and face whatever may be on “the other side”, in the after-life. There he may wish he’d stayed in the land of the living.

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Who can empathize with Hamlet? I know I can. There have been times in my life when I have had very similar thoughts, and if you have not, you are very fortunate. Perhaps Hamlet speaks eloquently for many of us. It’s no wonder that Shakespeare is considered by many to be almost comparable to the Bible in his literary power, and his insights into the mind of man and human character.

However, it’s clear to all of us that this is extremely negative thinking. It’s perhaps an expression of paranoia. It’s a dark view in which there is no hope or salvation, but suffering and fear only.

PAUL

Consider now the words of the apostle Paul. When he wrote the following, Paul was chained up in a Roman jail. He lived in the knowledge that his life could be taken from him at any moment, such was the opposition he faced daily for many years, including the threat of execution. For full effect I should quote this in “King James English”, but I want it to be clear to everyone, so it’s in late 20th C NIV English instead. Notice the similarity of subject matter, but the contrast in Paul’s view of life and death:

“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body” (Philippians1: 10-24).

In summary, Paul, chained and one step away from execution, sees his priorities as being the exaltation of Christ, and the shepherding of those he has led to faith in Christ. Though he is always near to death, he has no fear of it. In fact, he expresses a desire to leave his earthly body so that he can be with his Lord. Paul’s wish is that he will glorify Christ: whether it is by his life, or his death, he does not mind.

Here we see the incredible faith of a man who had once been a persecutor of Christians, but who now lived for Christ and his followers.

The contrasts between Hamlet’s outlook, and that of Paul are almost breath-taking. Hamlet lives in defeat and fear: fear of life and of death. His primary, and only concern is himself and his own feelings and pride, whereas Paul can say triumphantly, “to live is Christ and to die is gain”.

To Hamlet life is just a struggle with evil and human nature, only to arrive at a fearful ending where the afterlife may even be worse. To Paul, life is about glorifying Christ and taking care of others’ spiritual and physical well-being, until ultimately, the believer has inexpressible joy of union with Christ. There is no loss, only gain.

In another place Paul said of Christ, “All things were created by him and for him” (Colossians 1:16). That’s the key: we were created for Him, and not for ourselves. This is the meaning of life.

Earth

We tend to think that we’re here to get what we can out of life in the form of pleasure and stuff. We think that those who have lots of stuff must be far happier than we are. The truth is that people can be happy with very little, when they are aware of what brings true happiness. I can clearly remember my ninety-two year old grandmother, totally blind, spending most of each day alone in a room with very few possessions and nothing in the bank. She would sit and sing praise to God, with a contented smile on her face. She was waiting to be ushered into His kingdom. She was full of peace and joy, and she was a loving, kind woman without an ounce (or gram) of bitterness or fear in her. She had achieved what many or most millionaires do not.

How do you wish to feel about your life, and about death? It’s not dependent on your income, or your vocation, or who you’re dating, or what kind of experiences you’ve had. It’s dependant on your willingness to live primarily for your Creator, and also for the benefit of others, and not for yourself.

*Don’t bother reading any more than the first three books-the rest are no good…