To be human is to be incurably curious. From the moment we become capable of abstract thought, we begin to ponder the mysteries of the universe. Where did I come from? Why am I here? What is the meaning and purpose of life? And, perhaps the most consternating of them all, what will happen to me when I die?
The Bible has a great deal to say about death. It teaches us that it is healthy to consider our own mortality and to mourn those who have passed on (Eccl. 7:2–4). It depicts the Lord God as the creator of life, thereby implying that life is a precious gift from the giver of all good things. In contrast, it portrays death as a consequence of sin, an unintended evil, and the “last enemy” (1 Cor. 15:26). In the New Testament, we are given assurance that those who belong to Christ will ultimately be delivered from death (John 11:25–26). And, paradoxically, we are commanded to “put to death” our sinful impulses (Col. 3:5–10).
My wife’s grandfather liked to say, “Living is killing us.” He was right. The human condition is fatal. At some point, like it or not, we will all succumb to our own mortality. Yet there is a uniquely Christian way of thinking about death, and when it has been fully internalized, it renders the last enemy utterly powerless. That way of thinking is summed up in the words of the psalmist: “You have delivered my soul from death” (Ps. 116:8).
David Gunn is director of Regular Baptist Press.