What If We Knew For Real?

Since my dad passed last month, I have revisited the issue about what happens after we die. I have asked a few people about their beliefs and I posted my own thoughts here as well.

I wish we knew for sure.

I have wondered why we don’t? Wouldn’t it be better if we did? If we knew for sure what happens on the other side I think people would act differently. So why don’t we?

It’s funny how adamant people are about their beliefs. Some folks are borderline militant about it. I have to ask the question if they have been to the afterlife and come back. The truth is they no one REALLY knows with absolute certainty. You can’t base it on scientific facts because there is no evidence of life after death. Sure, there are numerous accounts where people have died and came back to tell about their experience but there isn’t much consistency in their stories. Science often explains them away.

Honestly I think it’s a bit unfair that we don’t know. So now all we are left with is faith that there is something there.

Faith. That makes it hard. Especially when you need to know for sure. Faith is a belief.

I still would like to know for real.

What if someone that has passed could come back to tell us? That would be irrefutable proof wouldn’t it? Maybe. Maybe not. Humans are so fickle and unpredictable so there is no guarantee that anything would make us believe – even a visit from someone that has come back from the dead.

This is the great unknown. Yes I know what the Bible says about it and what every other religion or non-religions say about it. We are left with not knowing and most of the time not even thinking about it. We are all headed there but we aren’t wanting it to get here anytime soon.

I still believe what I believe about it but I have no proof. None. That’s what stinks about this.

Instead of dwelling on it, we should make our lives count. We should make a positive impact on the people around us. Since there is absolutely nothing we can do about the end and whatever happens after that, we have right now.

We all have to find our own way.

IMHO…Death Is Not The End!

paradiseAsk anyone their opinion about life after death and you’re going to get a variety of answers to this question that has puzzled mankind since the beginning of time.

What happens when you die?  Is that the end?

Here are some theories about life after death:

  • According to some, life starts over immediately after death.  This belief is an explanation of feelings of deja vu we experience throughout our lifetime.
  • We move into a paranormal realm where we become ghosts or other spirits
  • Hindus believe in reincarnation and that we will be reincarnated 52 million times as a plant, animal, etc. before returning to human form.
  • One of six destinies awaits Buddhists when they die.  They may be reincarnated as gods, demi-gods, humans, animals, ghosts or sent to the realms of hells.  If you were a good person, chances are you will be reborn in one of the first three categories.
  • Some believe that when you are dead, you’re dead.  Period.
  • According to the movie Beetlejuice, when we die, we continue to live in the form of ghosts stuck in a parallel dimension from which only an iconoclast exorcist can free us.
  • Plato had a theory that after death our souls were judged.  Good souls were placed on islands of the blessed and bad souls were punished.
  • For the pharaohs of ancient Egypt, death was temporary.  This is why it was so important to them to properly preserve bodies by mummification so they could be in their best possible state for their second life.
  • If you believe the Stranger Things theory, the deceased aren’t truly dead.  Some of them simply go to “The Upside Down” which is a parallel universe from which you can communicate through light bulbs.
  • For about $300,000 your body can be preserved at an extremely low temperature to stop your cells from evolving until medicine finds a cure for your death and brings you back to life.
  • Quantum physicists believe that life creates the universe and not the opposite so when bodies die our consciousness continues to exist.
  • The egocentric theory is you are the only person who exists and the entire universe is your own imagination so when you die, the universe will no longer exist.

There are some wild theories out there.

I have read and heard opinions out there so allow me to add my own here.  I mean this is MY blog and I am free to express my own opinions about this.  If you don’t agree, that’s okay.  Don’t be mean about it.  You are entitled to your opinion too.

I have had years of Bible teaching throughout my life.  No, I do not hold a degree in theology but I am capable of making up my own mind and attempt to sort this out myself.  So, with that disclaimer, let’s take a look at my own view of death.

I have concluded that my own personal belief about death is based upon one of the most popular Bible verses.  John 3:16.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

If a person believes in Jesus Christ this verse guarantees us eternal life.  It isn’t a requirement that you have to be Baptist, Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist or any other named religion.  As shocking as it may be to some, there isn’t a “Baptist Heaven” or a “Catholic Heaven” or “Church of God Heaven”.  This is a place is simply a place that Jesus has prepared for believers.

It is my belief that when we die, our soul separates from our physical bodies.  A believer goes immediately to be with Jesus in paradise.  That’s what Jesus told one of the thieves on the cross next to him when he said “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”   Paradise is a temporary heaven because, according to the Book of Revelation (which I am not even going to try to explain) tells us that there will be a new Heaven and a new Earth.  There’s a lot of other things that is supposed to happen but I’m just narrowing this to what happens when we die.

When our soul separates from our physical bodies, we go to paradise.  Before we can fully enjoy paradise, we must spend time in an “in-between place” which Catholics refer to as purgatory.  It doesn’t matter how good of a person we are or how righteous we are, none of us are perfect and we all have issues that must be resolved before we can move on.  This in-between place allows us to resolve these issues.  For the religious folks out there, I’m not saying that sin is okay but we all have things that are imperfect about us.  In order to enter into a perfect place, these things have to be cleansed.  I think of it as TSA to get into paradise.  So if we have any unresolved issues we will be forced to deal with them at that time.  All who die in God’s grace are assured of their eternal salvation but still must undergo a purification.   I’m not really sure what goes on in the in-between place but I envision it as a video replay of things we need to resolve.  It could be a time of deep soul searching and confession.  How long we spend in the in-between place depends upon how long it takes us to resolve these issues.

Once we have passed through the in-between place, we then enter into the main population of paradise where we will be reunited with our loved ones who have gone before us.  I think this paradise is a place that is beyond any beauty that we have seen on Earth or could even imagine with our minds.  We will also have no concept of time.  There really won’t be any need for it.  Most people think of heaven as a place where people are floating on clouds playing harps.   Now that would be pretty boring don’t you think?  Some have said that we will have jobs or hobbies that we will enjoy doing.  I believe we will do things that we enjoy as well as being in the presence of the Lord.  I don’t think any of us can truly comprehend it.

So will we have bodies or floating around as spirit beings?

I have pondered on this a lot and I have mixed thinking about it.  Since the Bible talks about us being reunited with our physical bodies and resurrected when the Lord returns to the Earth, I’m thinking that when we die that it will be our souls in paradise and not some physical recreation of our bodies.  Our souls will recognize our loved ones but not necessarily the physical attributes that we remember such as the last time we saw them.  I also have no idea what a “soul” could possibly look like.  I don’t think it will be a like a ghostly existence but possibly some form.  Like I told you earlier, some of this stuff is a little hard to explain.  I’m not saying I’m right but no one really knows for sure.  Even the Bible can be a bit difficult to translate into something we can understand.

The other question I have had was if our loved ones can see what we are doing here on Earth.  Can they watch us?  How can they see what we are doing?

Most people think that when we die we become angels but that is false.  Angels are separate created beings.  None of us get wings or become angels who watch over those back on Earth.  I believe that God allows them to see what He wants them to see.  I don’t think they are looking down on us 24/7 because that would be a little creepy wouldn’t it?  I honestly don’t think they have time for that anyway.  I have a feeling that they do get updates on us.  Maybe it’s something like heavenly mail or newsflash about us.  I also think they are praying for us.  Maybe they have knowledge of what we are praying and what we are going through.  I really can’t give a definitive opinion on this.

So what about hell?  Do people go there?  Is there such a place?

I would have to think that people who are completely void of a conscious will go to a place of torment much like the rich man in the story of Lazarus.   Luke 16 says that in Hades he was in torment.  While this passage is a parable and not an actual experience, I think it gives a clear message on what happens to evil people.

This is all my own personal opinion.  I have no proof for or against what I have posted here.  We all have to make up our own minds.  I’m certainly not going to convince you.  We all have to figure it out for ourselves.  We are all shaped in our opinions based on something.  While mine is based mostly on Christian beliefs, others might base theirs on science or other spiritualist reasoning.

Whether you believe my version of life after death or not I urge you to think about it.  We’re all going to die sometime.  Figure it out for yourself.  Do some soul searching and ask yourself why you believe the way you believe?  For me, my opinion hinges upon the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  He said:  “I am the resurrection and the life, He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and  believes in me will never die.”  (John 11:25-26).   I don’t think that’s too far-fetched compared to these other theories do you?   Sure, I might be wrong on certain details but I do not believe that death is the end.   Easter is one of my favorite times of the year where I experience the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It encourages me and gives me hope of eternal life.

This is my belief and I won’t apologize for it.   In the end, whatever happens will happen and I have absolutely no control over it.  Maybe that’s why we fear death.  We fear the unknown and we try to explain it with all of these beliefs.

For me, I choose faith.

 

 

What Are You Doing With Your Vapor?

You never think about how short life is until you experience death. We like to avoid the subject because it is uncomfortable for us to face. It is a depressing subject for sure but it is the painful reality of life. We all have 100% chance of dying. It is certain to happen, we just don’t know when it will happen.

The Bible says that “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. James 4:14

A vapor. That’s our life.

The current life expectancy is 78.7 years in the United States. That number is far away when you are in your 20s or 30s but when you reach 50, that magic number comes into focus.

So what can we do about it? Not much really but when our time comes it comes. There are two things that we can do. We can make our “vapor” an influence while it exists and we can also plan for what comes next.

Let’s look at the present. What are we doing with our vapor now? Are we using the gifts and talents we have been given? We all have something that we can do to make the world around us better. We all have a calling. It may be our jobs, our hobbies or just being a good person that can impact the lives of others around us. We shouldn’t waste it. If you don’t feel like you have done much or look back and lament over the wasted time behind you, start today and focus on what you should be doing with your vapor.

The best way we can influence people is be kind and help others. The world has a serious shortage in kind people. Don’t believe me? Get out in traffic. That will settle it pretty quickly. People are so impatient and selfish. It can be quite demoralizing. Being kind to others doesn’t require a college degree or even religion. Just treat people right and have some integrity. This is something that will impact people more than any charity we could do. Kindness is contagious. This is how we can make our vapor effective while it lasts.

We must also decide what is going to happen next. Life after death. Some people deny anything happens after death. They think when you die then that’s it. The end.

While there is no absolute proof that there is life after death, we can’t ignore the feeling that there has to be more than this. Death can’t be the end. How we live our life depends a lot on what we believe about death.

So what happens when we die? No one really knows for sure but the Bible tells us that when we leave our body, our soul goes to be with the Lord until the resurrection of believers when the spirit will be reunited with the body. Yeah I know this is a leap for most people to believe and I’m not sure I can properly explain the Biblical view of what happens when we die but a life after death transition isn’t something we can comprehend.

There are many beliefs on what happens s after death but it is hard to deny that something does indeed happen to our soul. It is up to you to decide for yourself. I choose to believe in what the Bible says. It is my personal conviction that Jesus Christ was God’s only son who was sent to earth to become a sacrifice for my sins and my belief in him is a promise that I will have eternal life. I’m not forcing you to believe it but you will need to decide it at some point.

78.7

That’s what we have.

Maybe more. Maybe less.

What are we going to do with it?