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Death is Not Natural

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Article 12 of 26 from the Ponder This - 2005 series

March 2005 – Death is Not Natural by Ray Pritchard Joe Carter of The Evangelical Outpost has written a fine article called Still in the World: A Pro-Life View of Death and Dying. While discussing his mother’s death, he comes to this bottom line: Until the cancer made her unable to work, my mother had been a hospice nurse. She had been with hundreds of others at the end of their lives and knew what to expect. I, on the other hand, was completely inexperienced. While I had never been afraid of death, I had always viewed it with curious detachment. I thought it was an inevitable, unfortunate, but natural process. I was wrong. Death isn’t natural. Life, given to us by an abundantly generous Creator, is natural. Death is the enemy that separates us from ourselves, from our loved ones, and most importantly, from God. It is such a curse that it required the Son of God himself to remove it so that we might live once again. I think Joe is right on the money. We need to do some clear thinking on this topic. The reason we celebrate Easter is because Jesus came back from the dead. Death could not hold him. That alone should tell you that death is not “natural” or “normal” or “good” in the truest sense of those words. Because of the Terri Schiavo case, we’ve been hearing from certain people that you should “die with dignity” because death is “natural.” I’ve never believed that, not for a moment, and I don’t see how you can square that with Christian theology. Death is the “last enemy” that will be destroyed (I Corinthians 15:26). We ought not to fall for the secular, pro-death viewpoint that death is somehow noble or good or dignified. If death is so good, why did Jesus come back from it? Why didn’t he stay dead? I wholeheartedly agree that there are better and worse ways to die, and I thank God for those doctors and nurses and hospice workers, and loving family and friends that give themselves tirelessly for the dying. God bless them all. They are doing God’s work. But let us not mistake compassion for the dying for a mushy, misty, touchy-feely view of death. Death may be a release from pain, and in that sense it can be a blessing, but death is also the result of pain and suffering. The Bible says that death came into the world because of sin (Romans 5:12), and without sin, there would be no death. That’s why Revelation 21:4 says that in heaven, “There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Death, suffering and pain all belong to the “old order” that even now is passing away. Thank God, there are no graves dug into the hillsides of heaven. Jesus made sure of that on Easter Sunday morning.

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