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Article: The Problem of Death

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Nick P.

Camus once said that the world of philosophy only has one problem. Death. If philosophy could conquer death, then we would have all the answers we need.

So what about death? Why death? Why did things happen the way they did in the Garden of Eden and why do they continue today and why is the Christian worldview the one to answer this question?

According to Christianity first off, man is made in God's image. No other belief I've seen is like this. Many of them have people created as a resort of something God or a god did but none of them have them made in his image aside from Judaism and Islam and Christianity.

We are also told death came because man disobeyed God in the garden. I think this is the first place to start. Why death? I have thought over some other steps that could have been taken and have refuted them for a number of reasons.

Why not just destroy man and start all over?

This one was easy to get rid of actually. If man is built in God's image and as Psalm 8 says to many translators, "he has a little of God lacking in him." then God has personally created him with all such capacities. What does in his image mean?

I think in a sense man was meant to live forever. The tree of life was never forbidden until after the fall. (I'll cover that later.) Now, Christianity says man does live forever though in either Heaven or Hell. God won't destroy something in his image. (One might also ask the JWs if they believe in destruction instead of Hell why didn't God do it then.)

Also, man was created with free choice and reason. The choice to love and the rationality to make such a choice on one's own. Man had no say in being created but he had say in what he could do once he was created.

I see these two as reasons to get rid of this first option.

Why didn't God just reverse time?

This is one I thought of. Why not just take us back in time? But I soon rejected it based on choice. What kind of world would it be where whenever anyone screwed up God would just turn back the clock? Would such a world have any order to it at all? It is like C.S. Lewis's painless world where when someone gets shot with a gun, the bullet becomes a paper wad in mid-air.

Why not let Adam and Eve go but make new humans in the garden?

This one works on God's character mainly. This is saying that God would prefer to have only a perfect relationship by default, rather than one that is a pure choice of love. If God values the choice of love, then God will stick with his original design and though the path for mankind has been altered, rather than throw out mankind, he will alter his plan.

Why didn't God just let man take of the tree of life and live forever?

This I think strikes at the heart. Why not? First off, man is eternal anyway but the spiritual death he suffered would mean being physically alive eternally but spiritually dead for eternity. One could also wonder how creation would be redeemed. Sin didn't just effect man, it effected all of creation.

I believe death has come to make us value our life here and remind us that we are finite and there is something beyond us that is infinte. So how do other worldviews treat death?

Atheism will say death is just it. It is meaningless. However, if death is meaningless, can life ever really have any meaning? Life is just an accident then and ultimately has no meaning making even their arguments for atheism meaningless.

Hinduism and Buddhism will teach reincarnation. However, one wonders, if each life is based on your past life, what determines how your first life is? Illogic abounds.

Islam does teach of an afterlife but with no mention of it really. Mohammed is still dead. Thus, how do they know if he ever reached this afterlife.

Judaism hints at an afterlife. Interestingly enough, in the first 6 chapters of Genesis, death comes in a number of ways. Abel is murdered. The line in Genesis 5 dies of natural causes. Enoch is heavenly removed which Christianity teaches happens on the last day for living believers. Genesis 6 has the start of divine judgment on the wicked. Apparently, the Bible didn't take long to present many answers to philosophy's only problem.

However, the cause of death in Judaism is never ultimately defeated. Judaism never tells about this afterlife that the OT talks about. In short, Judaism looks ahead to another victory. That brings us to the last view.

Christianity-We teach that we have one who came back from the dead. That Jesus Christ who was God incarnate saw death and came back and he is the ultimate answer to it. He came for new life. All who believe in him can receive this new life.

Suddenly death has meaning. Rather than being the cause of loss it is the ultimate reversal and becomes the cause of life. All things have changed. The Christian worldview teaches that now death has been conquered and one day in a perfect Heavenly kingdom, the scenario of the Garden of Eden will be set forever where we will see no death or sorrow.

I find it amazing that Christianity could have described Heaven a lot more but didn't because it was so undescribale. John the revelator who saw Heaven could not describe it. Other beliefs try like Islam's Heaven of wine and women. Christianity doesn't/ Why? Because we're dealing with something real and what is really real can be hard to place into words at times. You might as well ask two dating teenagers what it means to be in love.

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions? Questions? (Insults were due yesterday)



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