In an article on the website http://atheistfoundation.org.au, David Nichols writes on the subject of “life after death”. Among other things he confirms the “naked truth” that “every individual will eventually die.” So far, no problem with his argument! But from then on he gets more interesting. I presume referring to everyone else but atheists he says, “One of the very interesting parts of our makeup is the ability to live in a state of denial concerning things we do not wish to believe and a ready acceptance of that which we want to believe.” He then goes on to deny any possibility of there being any such thing as life after death. He states, “Countless billions upon billions of individual lives … have existed and died over the millennia. There is no evidence that any have returned to make credible the notion that an after-life exists, excepting in the fantasy stories [i.e. sacred books].” He does concede that “Even though there is a case for religion being a necessary part of our social evolution, we have now reached a time when the use of reason and not superstition is the only hope of our happy survival.” And then some rather surprising words: “Eons of ethereal teachings have primed us to want that which is not obtainable as of yet – eternal life … Maybe one-day science will overcome this “problem” to some extent, but right here and right now, regrettable as this is, we all must die and that is the end – goodnight.” And then, with words which could well be a religious creed, the author makes the big statement that “Reaching a full potential of life before death is only afforded to those who reject the notion of life after death.”
Well, as we saw in my last Post, even the Sadducee’s in Jesus time agreed with Mr Nichols about life after death. In Mark’s Gospel we read that “Some Sadducees, the party that denies any possibility of resurrection” [i.e. life after death] came and questioned Jesus about marriage in the afterlife, something they did not believe in. But Jesus answered them, “You’re way off base, [probably what he might say to Mr Nichols] and here’s why: One, you don’t know your Bibles; two, you don’t know how God works. After the dead are raised up, we’re past the marriage business. As it is with angels now, all our ecstasies and intimacies then will be with God. And regarding the dead, whether or not they are raised, don’t you ever read the Bible? How God at the bush said to Moses, ‘I am—not was—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? The living God is God of the living, not the dead. You’re way, way off base.” (Mark 12:18-27 Message)
But not so the psalmists. Listen again to David’s words in Psalm 16:
8 I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (NIV)
Phil Moore, in his insightful book on the Psalms says:
“The last three verses of David’s song [Psalm 16:9-11] give one of the clearest prophecies about what happens beyond the grave. He proclaims that God will not abandon his body to she’ol, which…is a Hebrew word which can either mean the realm of the dead in general, or hell in particular. David is confident that he is a Hasid – one of God’s holy ones who have been saved by [God’s] hesed, or covenant mercy – and that death will never put an end to the friendship he has been granted with God. He knows that the Lord will not abandon his soul to hell or his body to decay, so he praises God that ‘you make known to me the path of life’ beyond the grave and ‘fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures’.” (see references # 36)
What a wonderful truth that “death will never put an end to the friendship [we have] been granted with God” and that He will ‘fill [us] with joy in [his] presence, with eternal pleasures at [his] right hand.”
I am so glad that a much more authoritative person than Mr Nichols (who said, “we all must die and that is the end – goodnight”) said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” (Jesus words in John 11:25) But more about this in my next Post.
Father, thank you that you are the God of the living and not the dead. Thank you that for all eternity we will enjoy your presence, your love, your goodness. Thank you that in you is life, and that in abundance. Thankyou that “Reaching a full potential of life before death is [in reality] only afforded to those who [understand] the [truth] of life after death.” Amen.