Death

Outline: Is there life after death? People in many cultures believe there is an afterlife. The Bible speaks of 3 kinds of death - physical, spiritual and eternal.

Script Number:353
Language:English
Theme:Heaven; Death; Judgement; Eternal. everlasting life
Audience:Atheist
Style:Monolog
Genre:Sermon--topical
Sophistication:Sophisticated
Purpose:Evangelism
Bible Quotation:Direct
Status:Approved

Scripts are basic guidelines for translation and recording into other languages. They should be adapted as necessary to make them understandable and relevant for each different culture and language. Some terms and concepts used may need more explanation or even be replaced or omitted completely.

Script Text

Certain scientists have questioned some of the volunteers who were willing to go through heart-stop experiments. What did they feel in this dark realm into which they were pushed, and from which they came back through reanimation? Nothing. Absolutely NOTHING. Not a single one of them could testify that he felt anything. From this, shall we draw the conclusion that there is nothing after death? That when the body ceases to exist, the soul ceases to exist as well, and that everything goes back into a void? NO! Because in this experiment, the scientists don't deal with real death which means a change in the cells and the beginning of body decomposition, but with a similitude of death which involves an artificial interruption of life, a functional stop. Nobody has ever come back from death. What is there after death? What will happen to us when we are invaded by the stifling cold? And where are our loved ones who have died?

You often hear it said, "If somebody is dead, all of him is dead." How many would like this to be true! The indifferent one tries to persuade himself however, without having been absolutely convinced. And if it should happen to be different, if what we think is the end, should only be a beginning? Let us examine this problem.

First of all, we have to realize that the survival instinct exists among all people and nations. In the old times, the Chinese let their pigtails grow because they thought that life was in the hair. To cut the pigtail of a Chinese meant to take away the possibility of an afterlife. Also in early times, the Egyptians built pyramids, which were graves, so that at their resurrection those who died could find again the riches which they had to leave for a while. The most primitive people buried their warriors with their weapons, so they would be ready for a new existence. This common feeling among all men is against reason and logic. But is our reason always reasonable and our logic always rational? At the beginning of this century, the theory of relativity was discovered. Today, everybody knows that this is true: The mass of a body varies; time and space cannot be defined in an absolute manner. If we knew how big a germ or an atom were, the universe would look quite different to us from what it does now, and all our geometry would be wrong. Everything is relative. We can only control what is matter, and what takes place in space and in time. But besides these three dimensions, isn't there another one?

We have to agree that it is not illogical to believe that there is an afterlife. And God Who has not fooled the migrating bird, who flies toward an unknown land which he has never seen, but which he knows instinctively -God Who has not fooled the bird, has not fooled us either by putting into our hearts the thought of eternity. But who can enlighten us about this? Science is insufficient, although we give credit to it for the marvelous progress that has been made. Philosophy gets lost in trying to lighten a dark road. Nobody can really inform us. However there is a light in this darkness. It is the Bible. If the Bible is true - and twenty centuries testify to it: it is worth listening to. What does it say about death? What does it say about after-death? Let us see.

About death, the Bible mentions physical death in Job. 21:23, "One man dies in full vigor, completely secure and at ease..." But it speaks about another kind of death. Listen to the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 15, verse 24. The father of the runaway son says, "My son who was dead has come back to life." This son had never stopped living, but for his father he was like dead. He came back to life when he came back home. The word "dead" has the same sense in Ephesians, Chapter 2, verse 1 - "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins..." Also in Colossians, chapter 2, verse 13, "When you were dead in your sins..." These three passages don't talk about physical death but about a separation which is just like death - estrangement - silence. The son who left home didn't let them hear from him anymore; he was dead for his father, and his father was dead for him. In the same way, God considers as dead, those who live far from Him. They are dead in their sins. God cannot do anything for them, except to seek them, to call them, and to wait for their return to Him.

In Revelation, chapter 20, verse 14, we find a third meaning about death: "... The Lake of fire is the second death." According to these Scriptures, the first death is the physical death, and that which is called the second death, in contrast to the first, is a state of conscious suffering far away from God forever.

So the Bible speaks about 3 kinds of death - physical death which is the ceasing of existence of the body; spiritual death which is the state of those who live far from God; and eternal death, where all those will be who refuse to come back to God.

There is a relationship of cause and effect between these different states of death. According to Genesis, our first parents, Adam and Eve, did not know physical death at the time of their disobedience. Yet God said to them, in Genesis 2:17, "In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die." That day, they were not poisoned or struck by lightning. They remained alive. But for God, they were dead in their first sin, which was to ignore God's will and to desire to attain to divinity, like God. "You will be as gods," said the Tempter.

This first sin pulled the whole human race into the way of perdition. Consequently evil became increasingly great with all the consequences - moral and physical suffering, and then death. In Romans 5:12 we read, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." Death, and the sicknesses, weaknesses and sufferings which go before it, are a consequence of our spiritual separation from God, Who is the source of all life and all that is good.

If our separation from God had only resulted in our physical death, it could be considered as a deliverance. If the death of the body was the end of everything, there would be no judgment and no condemnation to come. But this is not so. The Bible says in Hebrews 9:27, "And it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." The soul will not stop living after death. It has been created for immortality; it will be brought to face its final destination - blessing or judgment. It is up to us to choose, while on this earth, our final destination. "Behold I put before you life and death," says the Bible. "Choose life!"

To choose life is to choose JESUS CHRIST. He Himself said, "I am the way, the truth and the life." In order to experience this truth, you must set aside philosophy and logic as such, and believe in it because of the One Who said it. His knowledge is greater than anything our human minds are capable of attaining. He is the only One Who has experienced resurrection from the dead. His life is eternal, and He offers to implant it into the hearts of all who will receive it.

Are you interested? Do you want the kind of life which will bridge the gap between you and God? The way is very simple but you must do it with all your heart. The reason Jesus died was to fulfill God's requirement for the punishment of our sins. Only Jesus Christ, the Holy Son of God, is qualified to do this. By dying for us on the cross, He took the punishment that was going to be ours. Then He rose, and now He lives forever as our great Redeemer. Forgiveness of sin and eternal life have been provided through HIM for all who will ask for it. Through HIM, there is a way to God. Eternal death can be exchanged for eternal life. Physical death will be only a passage into the reality of heaven itself, where all suffering and tears will be gone forever.