Any study of the nature of death begs an important foundational question: Why must things die in the first place?
Indeed, death is a grand mystery. Throughout time, every major religion, philosophy, and spiritual train of thought has sought to explain this mystery. It is a subject that touches the life of every man and woman, uniting the entire human race under a cloud of inevitable mortality. The rich and the poor alike meet the same end; the black and the white both go to the grave; the powerful and the humble all leave this planet eventually.
Interestingly, scientific research into single-celled organisms reveals that the nature of life, on a cellular level, does not automatically include a self-destruct mechanism for death. In other words, it appears that death is an unnatural part of life. Yet despite this, everything on earth eventually dies.
Many lines of religious thought simply accept the inevitability of death and instead try to offer better alternatives that await the faithful in the afterlife. These ideas bring comfort to many people who have lost loved ones or are facing death themselves, but they leave others wondering, “Why must death exist? Wouldn’t an all-powerful God eradicate death? Shouldn’t all life inherently live forever?”
So the question of the nature of death also brings profound implications about the nature of God. Maybe, some reason, God is not as powerful as He says, since the problem of death remains. Maybe God numbs our sensibilities after death, if we are promised happiness in paradise despite the horrors unfolding on our loved ones who are still alive. Maybe, if living a bad life truly results in eternal torment afterward, God is not really as loving as so many people claim. Maybe there are actually many pathways to God, or many such gods, and the mystery of death will be solved differently for each person, depending on their philosophies in life. Maybe there is no such thing as death, but instead a continual rebirth through reincarnation. Maybe, according to a train of thought that has grown in popularity since the 19th century, life is nothing more than a biochemical accident, and death brings with it a never-ending state of nothingness; the most common conclusion drawn from this line of thinking is that there is no God at all.
The mystery of death is so profound that, despite the millennia of religious doctrine, mythology, scientific research, and the many theories and explanations that exist on the subject, people today are more confused than ever about it. Even within individual religious groups there is often a stark difference of opinion on the nature of death. To see this, walk around a cemetery and note the different inscriptions on the tombstones.
Clearly, the only way to decipher this profound mystery is to find an authoritative source of truth that will expose all error and remove the need for speculation. Are we fortunate enough to have such an authority? We believe so. ...Continue