Death is often called the ultimate equalizer as all of the creation must pass through that phase shrouded in mystery and engulfed with intrigue. Regardless of the belief system, religions and even atheists have struggled to come to terms with what happens next. It is this abyssal unknown that supposedly stretches to eons that have marked death with a stamp of perverse apprehension. Can anyone truly answer the question of what death is?
Although death is the fate of all livening organisms, the reason behind that common fatality is still obscure in some ways. Most of the religious believers simply accept death as the channel to the afterlife, and it gives them comfort. But those with little faith and invulnerable moments question the need for death. In an almost blasphemous tirade, they claim that if God was as powerful as reputed, why can’t He remove death? Why not spare more people from having to suffer through eternity? It is one of the arguments used by atheists to prove that life was just a biochemical accident rather than an act of divinity.
Perhaps if a definitive answer had been found during all these millennia of contemplation, death would have lost its allure. Perhaps the most reliable source would come from religion being as it is a direct link from God. But if so, then which religion should we choose from? The Bible is perhaps the most reliable source available to discern beyond the veil that covers death. Even Islam which came after Christianity does not question the Bible’s authority as a source as it links its prophet Mohammad to the descendants of Abraham, a key character in the book of Genesis.
The Bible regards death as an abnormality that was not originally fated to be. The story of death started in Heaven where God’s angels lived to serve him. The change came when the sin of pride visited one of the angels and caused his rebellion. He was defeated by God and thrown down to earth. Adam and Eve were thrown out of heaven when they failed to abide by God’s rules. The punishment for breaking the rules was death, a previously nonexistent concept. In short, if it hadn’t been for man’s disobedience, death would never have happened. However, God promised to restore this eternal life after man has lived and proven worthy of this eternity.
To better understand the nature of death, one must fully grasp the nature of life itself. The breath must be joined to the body for the full realization of life. Without the breath, the body remains static. Without the body, the breath has no house. Only then can man become a living soul. It is the gift that God gives to man when He endows him with a piece of His being. Saint Paul stated: “It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body (1 Corinthians 15:44)”.
Death is not the cold prison people make it up to be. Once the soul has left the confines of the body, it ceases to be aware of anything. This might seem intimidating, but it is a blessing. You are no longer aware of the struggles and strife your loved ones are facing. You are immediately transported to the next world where you become aware of the universe and God in an unprecedented way. Death is the reunion that every faithful person awaits and every sinner dreads. It is a rebirth of a new awareness that surpasses our wildest dreams. The new shell that engulfs will never be corrupted by sin. It will never know disease or sorrow. It will be a testament to God’s glory and beyond all the weaknesses that plagued us.
Death has fascinated me as much as the next person. Whenever it occurred to any of my loved ones, I would get very scared. My first real traumatic experience with the death of my father, and it shocked me to the point I had the overwhelming urge to remove him from his coffin. The calamity of it all struck me hard. I desperately needed some guidance to help me process what was going on. I always wondered why the rituals of death were so abhorrent when it is supposed to be a joyous reunion. Why do we lament and dress in black? Why do we not celebrate a life well-lived and look forward to our own reunion?
As death became a constant visitor to my life, I was constantly thrust into its endless dilemma. One day, while contemplating the glory of the wide ocean, I was reminded of the famous words of Saint Augustine who said: “The ocean needed every last drop to become what it is today, and God needs every part of Him to become whole”. It’s as if life is a puzzle whose pieces God scattered all over the earth so we can all face this long journey to find his or her place in this magnificent tapestry.
All I know is that I have reached the certainty that death does not exist. We do not go to some dark unknown where we plunge into a cold unconsciousness. Death is only the pathway that paves the way to the glory of God. Let us change this abhorrent notion of sadness and gloom and replace it with the joy that awaits us. Any change will have its repercussions, and it is up to us to deal with the fallout and utilize it to carve a more meaningful existence for ourselves.