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Death: Natural or Unnatural?

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Question #1:  Isn't it true that life and death are both just natural consequences of life?

Response #1:  In my interpretation of the God's Word, life is "natural" while death is not. God creates life, not death. Death is the result - entirely and completely - of creature rebellion. Along with all of Adam and Eve's progeny, we, of course, are heir corporately to their decision so that death, physical death, is for us all (and all around us including the entire material world) an inevitability (1Cor.15:22). But it remains an unnatural one, and, I believe, there is something deep within the consciousness of every human being which cries out against this ultimate result (ultimate, at least, as far as the eye can see without faith). This is the "eternity in the heart" Solomon spoke of (Eccl.3:11), and yet another part of our God given make-up which prods us, moving us to "grope" towards God, if only we would (Acts 17:27). And if only we would, He is not far from any one of us. It is oh so true that we human beings have far less control over our lives and the world around us than we would ever wish to admit, but there is some irony in the fact that the one area where our "control" is significant, the disposition of our eternal future after death, this is the single area where collectively we (apart from faith) are determined to abnegate any sort of responsibility, choice or control. In fact, this is the one area of life where God has given us a say (do we want Him or not?), and to have our say (whether yes or no or "don't know" = no) is the reason why we are here.

Question #2: 

While this choice clearly is ours, it seems that it is a deal we can't refuse, since if we do not chose God now, we get the devil later. Thus it really isn't a choice at all. Only a fool would chose hell.

Response #2: 

In regard to your comment that "only a fool would go to hell", this would seem to be a true statement on the face of it, but the reality is that hell will be very well populated by human beings who, in the world's terms, would never have been considered foolish, at least while on this earth. And I suppose that begs the question of just what a fool is. Were the awesome nature of God plainly visible to human beings, there is little doubt that every human being who stood in His presence would, given our fragile, miniscule nature (in fact - not in our minds), confess Him and worship Him. But that would not be of faith. God has left us more than enough "wiggle room" to construct any manner of mental excuses not to pay Him any mind on this earth, and even to mentally obliterate the reality of Him that cries out from every created thing (not least from our own natures: cf. Rom.1:18-25). In my humble estimation, it is foolish not to want Him, not to want be with Him, not to want to know Him, not to want to be delivered from the grave and from judgment by accepting His substitute, His Son Jesus Christ. This logic, however, proceeds from a faith-based conviction that "He is, and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Heb.11:6). Without such faith "it is impossible to please God".

To put this issue in crass material terms, I suppose it could also be said that "only a fool buys high and sells low". Without foreknowledge of the market's ups and downs, however, we are all fools in this respect (some are just luckier than others). In spiritual terms, it is not luck that differentiates those who choose wisely from those who do not. Rather it is a matter of heart. Time is God's way of sifting out the loyalists from the rebels, those who really want to worship Him from those who don't (cf. Jn.4:23). He wants us all to be saved (Ezek.18:23; Matt.18:14; Jn.12:47; 1Tim.2:4; 2Tim.2:24-26; 2Pet.3:9), and paid the highest possible price in the gift of His Son to win us for Himself (Jn.3:16; Rom.5:8), but He won't force us to want Him back.

Given just the visible alternatives of physical death with or without hope of something beyond, the latter would seem prima facie to be the better choice. If hope of eternal life through faith in Christ were vain, then certainly one could call this foolishness, and we who have chosen this "way" would rightly be seen as "more to be pitied than all other men" (1Cor.15:19). But Jesus Christ has indeed and in fact risen from the dead, the ultimate and indisputable proof of the faith we proclaim (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20-21, and Acts 1:6-11)!

I am and have long been of the opinion that those who take this view of the foolishness of faith placed in God through Christ are often not really convicted of it in fact, but are only seeking to build the conviction of their own unbelief through the destruction of the entire rationale of faith. In some such cases (the apostle Paul comes to mind), this procedure eventually results in the destruction instead of that person's well-founded rationale of unbelief in the process of his/her assaulting of Christian "foolishness" ..... and a life is saved.

This is certainly my prayer for you.  Here are some additional links which may be of interest to you:

The Saved and the Unsaved

The False Doctrine of Absolute Eternal Security.

Choosing Hell: Questions about Salvation and the Love of God.

What is "heaven" like according to Christian teachings?

What does the Bible say about Heaven and Hell?

Against Universalism II: Only Believers are Saved.

Against Universalism I: Free Will and the Image of God.

In the sure and certain confidence of life triumphing over death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

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