Death and the Fall

Nothing screams, “This world is fallen,”louder than death. We were not created to die, but to live with God and each other in natural harmony and to develop creation in God’s will.

We were not made to have our souls leave our bodies. But that happens at death. The run up to this departure is seldom peaceful. It is not natural. The body wants to live. It was created to live. But it must die. It may die piece by piece, ability by ability, word by word. Those who die slowly must take a long and unbidden passage into darkness.

The body wants to live. It was created to live. But it must die.

In dying slowly, not all parts or functions of the body fade or fail at once. The eyes may see, but the brain does not know what is seen. The legs may be strong, but there is no sense of balance and no where to go, since agency is gone. The mouth can chew, but there is no coordination to bring the spoon to the mouth. The vocal chords are in working order, but the brain cannot make them speak or sing. No, death is not like turning off a machine.

My wife will receive a rich welcome when her soul leaves her body. But the process of leaving that body behind–after years of glacial decline–is torture. One second with Jesus Christ will dwarf all her pain and fulfill all of her longings. When she is gone, I can think of this beatitude and thank God for it. But I cannot experience it with her. Only her lifeless body will be left in a dying world; it must be prepared for burial by people we do not even know, whose services I have already paid for.

Author: Douglas Groothuis

Author of Christian Apologetics, Truth Decay, On Jesus, On Pascal, and others. Professor of Philosophy, Denver Seminary since 1993. Head of The Apologetics and Ethics Masters Degree Program and Co-Director of The Gordon Lewis Center for Christian Thought and Culture. Senior Fellow for Apologetics.com.

9 thoughts

  1. How do you know “We were not created to die, but to live with God and each other in natural harmony and to develop creation in God’s will.” There is no evidence for anything “supernatural.” There is no evidence that humanity “Fell.”

    1. The Bible is the source for these statements. It is evidence just like any testimony in court.
      Your job is to look at the evidence and judge for yourself.
      There had to have been at least two supernatural events for us to be here:
      1 the beginning of the universe from nothing at all.
      2 the beginning of life on this planet where there was none before.
      We did not observe these events they cannot be replicated in a lab. So therefore they are supernatural.

      1. There is no historical reliability in the Bible. It is a collection of myths floating around in pre-scientific times authored by unknown people and with countless contradictions.

        The universe’s origin is up for various hypotheses, none of which require a supernatural explanation. You are making the fallacious argument from ignorance here. BTW, in scientific thought, “nothing” IS something.

        We are getting closer to understand how life arose from chemistry, no God necessary. Just another argument from ignorance/God of the Gap.

        What is the difference between the supernatural and the unknown?

    2. It must be a great burden to know all there is to know thomraff. I am so glad for the ignorant masses that maintained the faith over the last 2000 years in the face of the kind of intellectual condescension that you show in your post. I am forever amazed at those that refuse to accept that there might be things they do not know or that there may be science that has yet to be discerned. 200 years ago they would bleed you to death to get the toxins out of your body…in the name of medical science.

  2. After my husband’s torturous departure I could read nothing but A Grief Observed and the book of Job. But after about a year I was very blessed by Lewis’ The Weight of Glory. Picturing our loved ones in their glorified states can help carry us through our grief. You are in my prayers. God bless you.

  3. 18 years ago when my father died, a pastor friend of mine sent me a note saying, “I hate death.” That was profound for me to understand. It is good for us to hate what is the enemy of God and in 1 Corinthians 15 death is referred to as God’s enemy. I find it freeing to righteously hate death.

  4. It must be profoundly difficult to deal with such a situation. Your utilization of the circumstances to better understand and convey the mysteries of this temporal existence is a blessing. The fact of our “eternal existence” in design is something that is lost on unbelievers, as this thread shows so succinctly. I understand your acceptance in dealing with the decline of your wife. That is probably a healthy way to deal. I appreciate you sharing your burden in a way that is neither maudlin nor preachy.

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