Sunday, February 19, 2017

Life in the minefield

There's a formidable sense in which death is a curse. It's a curse for the damned. And it's a curse for survivors who lose loved ones. 

Yet there's a sense in which death can be a mercy. A fallen world is a minefield. So many things can go terribly wrong. Suppose humans were immortal in a fallen world. Suppose humans were youthful, ageless, and healthy. 

But that could just be a different kind of hell on earth. If you live long enough, your luck will run out. If you live long enough, you will step on a land mine. The longer you live, the more heartache you'll experience.

At best, life in a fallen world will be tedious. Imagine the unbearable tedium of immortal life in a fallen world. It's my impression that some people stay married because they get to a point in life where it's too late to start over again. It's not because the couple is so devoted to each other. It's that they have too much to lose by divorce and remarriage. But if sinners were immortal, how many marriages would last for the duration? 

Likewise, how many friendships would end in betrayal or boredom? By the same token, how long could your Christian faith hold out? Wouldn't the Bible become interminably familiar? The sameness would become deadening. 

Natural immorality doesn't make you indestructible. Just that you can't die from old age or disease. But you could still be killed. Or horribly maimed or disabled. And you'd stay in that condition indefinitely. 

If immortality means the body has greater regenerative resources, evil men could torture you, wait for you to recover, then renew the torture ad infinitum. Yank your teeth out with pliers every few months. 

One advantage of death in a fallen world, especially for Christians, is that suffering, now matter how horrendous or depressing, will come to an end. There's only so many times the worst thing can happen to you. When you die, you put all that behind you. Nothing worse can happen to you. Nothing bad can happen to you anymore. The worst is behind you, and you only have happiness to look forward to from hereon out. 

And however bad things are, life is short. Like a prisoner, you can mark off the remaining days on the calendar. (I'm referring to Christians. For the damned, it's just the opposite.)


  1. Agreed. In fact, there are inadvertent merciful elements that are often missed upon the initial death of a loved one. I’d like to offer some ponderings of mine by way of explanation-

    I’ve thought about the death of Steve Irwin back in 2006. The entire world loved that man, and he died far too early. He was especially liked by conservatives and Christians since he was so entertaining and family friendly at the same time. Losing him was a loss in many ways, but also, merciful in a few others.

    Every star has pressure put upon them to take sides in political disputes, moral debates, and controversies of all sorts, even though their primary function is to entertain. Seemingly nobody can just make music, make YouTube videos, etc. without somebody somewhere breathing down their neck to say something like, ‘homosexuality is normal and healthy!’.

    Steve Irwin’s death in 06 spared him that kind of drama, but what if he lived till today? I imagine he would have had to speak about the celebration of homosexuality at some point. The results would be disastrous whatever stance he took- if he took a Christian stance, he’d alienate a lot of people. If he took a liberal stance, he’d alienate a lot of people. I don’t like to think how that whole controversy would go over for him- badly, no matter what, not just for his personal happiness, but that of his family, and that of his fans who might worry about whether they could continue to let their children watch him or not since he was more-or-less compelled to drag that kind of discussion into his movies and shows.

    As it is, his passing away early allowed his legacy to be free from all of that. He was spared a lot of grief and frustration that we have to contend with today. I’m glad it never came to that. I’d prefer he had lived, but even in his death, there were merciful elements to it that nobody could have seen at the time it happened. Sometimes even an untimely death can spare us from seeing someone endure great hardships that they really should not have to contend with. Of course, I'm sure he'd rather lived than died, but as he is dead, we can recognize elements of mercy even in his untimely death that we can appreciate years down the road.

    And that's just one element of mercy in and of itself on top of everything else listed in this article.

  2. An edifying post! Thanks, Steve. :-)

  3. The gospel of life extension and transhumanism is the closest thing atheists have to the true gospel. Yet even they are admitting that eternal life in a fallen world may not be desirable: