Death and Dying

Death and Dying

Today people are so afraid and terrified of death that they refuse to talk about it or even think about it.  To them, as it was for Job of the Old Testament, death is the king of terror’s.  We often play language games to try to soften it by changing the word from death, to expiring or passing.  The atheist expires, the Christian passes.

No matter how you look at it death is a gateway, either into a new state of being, or non-being.  These are the only two possibilities.  For the believer it is a gateway into a new state of being, which allows them to live in a state of hope.  To the atheist or the materialist it is a gateway into non-being.  It is simply nonexistence as a living conscious being.  It is a return to the dust of the earth.  However, we know from science that nothing just stops existing.  Matter cannot be destroyed, it can only change.  The big question is, does consciousness go on?  The materialist says no, for to him there can be no consciousness apart from the physical brain. But if we asked the question what is consciousness, we come up with the answer that consciousness, in the end, is information and information can exist without the brain.  What about radio and television waves?  You could say they are information and once formed they will continue forever.

Dying is not death, it is the process by which we enter our new state of being or existence.  There is usually some pain associated with this process of dying as with birth.  In fact, we begin to die the day we begin to live.  Life and death seem to travel together on our journey through this life. It sometimes appears on the surface that death is the goal of life, but then for the Christian there is Jesus.

When it comes to the pain that is often associated with dying, the good news is that Gods grace has given us medication to lessen the physical pain.  There should be no severe pain in the dying process for most.  Unbelievers may say that man created the medication.  No, God made it, man discovered it and developed it.  However, if for some reason we must experience a painful death, fear not.  The Holy Spirit will help you to endure it and as you endure it, look past it to the joy that is before you, even as our Lord did.

In our culture aging and death is looked upon as a disease that medical science is supposed to cure, or as an enemy that is trying to kill us and must be destroyed.  This struggle against aging and death comes from mans rebellion against nature and the God of nature.  Humanity seems to be in rebellion against all the limits of God including death. Man will not accept death for he views it as the ultimate limit placed on man by God.  Therefore, as in the story of the fall, he is still trying to storm the gates of heaven to seize eternal life.  Yet at the gate, he stills finds the angel with the flaming sword, saying you cannot enter.  All this comes from man’s rebellion and his refusal to except his own mortality and his fallen state.  Once a person excepts that this is a fallen world and that Christ is the way out, death simply becomes the way out.  A way out into a better existence, a way out that we need not fear.  It simply becomes the next step towards eternity.

For the Christian, death is like departing on a journey from one place to another with a stop in between.  Let me explain, the Christian faith teaches that we reside in the body, but we are more than a body.  There is the inner man of the heart.  Both the apostles, Paul and Peter, refer to our body as a tent that we dwell in.  The apostle John also speaks of Jesus, as dwelling among us in the tabernacle or tent.

2 Corinthians 5:1-5

“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.  Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.  For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.  Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”

2 Peter 1:13-15

“I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.”

John 1:14

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (literally in the Greek; tabernacle or tented among us), and we have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

The problem with understanding death begins with a miss-understanding of the nature of man.  Man is body, soul and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23) and death is the separation of the spirit and soul of man from his body.  It is the Spirit that gives life and when the spirit departs, the body dies.  When the spirit departs it goes back to the God that gave it, or does it?

In the book of Ecclesiastes, the writer said, “I also said to myself, “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals.  Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both:  As one dies, so dies the other.  All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over animals.  Everything is meaningless.  All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust, all return.  Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?” (Ecclésiastes 3:18-22)

I don’t believe, that Solomon was saying that he did not  believe that the spirit of man continues after death.  He was simply saying there was no evidence.  He was not certain. The Hebrews believed in an afterlife but it was vague and fuzzy.  Of course, the human mind thinks in pictures and to grasp something of the afterlife, which is  based on our present experience, we must use a picture of a places, made up of other places or parts of places, that we have seen.  That afterlife place for the Hebrews was given the name of Sheol, or literally the place of the unseen.  It was in Hebrew thinking a dark and foreboding place.  This idea corresponds to Hades in the New Testament, which appears to be a waiting place for the final judgment and yet it does seem to  foreshadow the eternal state of a person, i.e. they have a knowledge of their final destiny.

However, in the New Testament it is still a fuzzy and vague place.  The most we know about it is seen in the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31).  This vagueness is probably due to the fact that it is only viewed as a temporary stop on the way to eternity.  One thing about the place of the unseen does change in the New Testament.  In the New the righteous are in a state of bliss  while the evil  are in a place of torment.  This separation could have grown out of the belief that the righteous can never be separated from God and if God is with them somehow they cannot be in a place of evil or darkness  (Rom 8:28-39).

The next step into eternity will be the great wakeup call of the trumpet of God and the voice of the archangel announcing the end of time and the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.  At that time all of the dead in Hades will be resurrected with new immortal bodies.  Those who are still alive at his coming will  be transformed and given new spiritual bodies.  Then all men will stand before the great white throne  and be judged by what they did in their former bodies.

The resurrection and the judgment of God, mark God’s final word on sin and death.  Both are destroyed in the eternal lake of fire, which is a symbol of finality.

“Listen, I tell you a mystery.  We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.  When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

“Where, O death, is your victory?

Where, O death, is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ  (1 Corinthians 15:51-57).

Diversity Destroys Social Cohesion in the West

In my study of ancient history I found that ancient empires after conquering a nation would import foreign immigrants for the purpose of weaken that nations culture in order prevent it from rebelling against the Empire. After reading this it struck me that this is exactly what Western governments are doing to themselves and their people. Did these ancient rulers know something that are governmental leaders don’t? Watch the video and decide for yourself.

A Letter to a Believer In Response to a Believer on The Existence of God Article

A Letter to a Believer

In Response to a Believer on The Existence of God Article

In my article on the existence of God, I surely was not trying to support fundamentalist creationism.  I was simply trying to show what I feel is a self-evident truth.  Self-evident truth is a truth that is evident, without any proof or argument to all men and can be experienced by our senses and known by our reason.  It is not a truth that can only be known by a priestly class of scientists who have some ‘secret knowledge’.  I am not a scientist, but I believe I have a good grasp on what can, and cannot be known by humans.

Evolution

You asked me what I believe about evolution.  From what I am able to observe, evolution as development is self-evident.  We can see it happening.  However, Darwin’s theory of evolution is not self-evident and he makes assumptions about the development of life which can never be proven by science, such as evolution being non-directed.  I believe that some intellectuals of modern science, as far as evolution is concerned, have claimed to know far too much and have especially over-spoken on their knowledge of  primitive earth[1].  If there is a discrepancy between science and faith it is not found in reality but in both sides over-speaking their position.

I believe that any explanation of existence must start with God-man together.  The problem with many scientists is that they want to explain everything by the dash.  They then define the dash as naturalistic evolution, which seems to be a radical form of reductionism.  I do not have a problem with studying the dash; the problem comes in when some intellectuals make it the whole show and attempt to explain  the embodiment of all existence by it.  This is like trying to define a car wholly by watching it being built on the assembly line and totally ignoring the designers, engineers and planners who worked on it before one bolt or screw was turned.  If we were to watch a car on the assembly line without considering its origin, i.e. the planners, designers and engineers, you would not even know its purpose.  You would have to sit around and theorize why it was built and what purpose it serves.  You might come to the conclusion that it has no purpose and decide to destroy it or regard it as worthless[2].  This seems to be similar to our situation today when science is trying to explain mankind and being befuddled on every turn.

Going back to my illustration of the assembly line, because no designers or testers are visible on the assembly line, we are told by those who manage the factory that we should presume that they do not exist. In fact, we are told that we should not even look for, or inquire about them because one of the laws of the factory says that you must not ask about them, since asking about them might bias your study of the car on the assembly line.  We are also told that the  method to understanding the car, is for us to study the nuts and bolts that hold the car together and that this will ultimately give us a complete understanding of the car.  What nonsense.

The Circle of Life

In my analogy of the circle of life I was attempting to depict the unequivocal whole of life, which I believe to points to a first cause.  In the Orient, life is understood to be a great circle.  We in the west see it as a linear line ascending gradually from the lesser to the higher, like an escalator being a perfect example.  We view life this way because we have interpreted evolution as directed and progressive.  That is, moving toward a goal.  However, Darwin and neo-Darwinian do not agree with this  image of an escalator as a symbol for their theory of evolution.  Evolution in Darwin’s mind and in the mind of many of his disciples is chaotic, undirected and unpredictable, which in my thinking puts it outside of the realm of science.  You cannot analyze something that is chaotic and unpredictable.  How can you apply the scientific method to such a phenomenon?  Does God throw dice?

However, in the circle of life we see progression or growth, then declension, and finally the circle ending with death, which points to a beginning and an end.  If we were to form a picture of the movement of life based on what we see in real history you would have a series of circles, which depict the circle of life moving into eternity on a horizontal line.  You could make each progressive circle larger denoting progress, but that might be debatable, depending on one’s definition of progress and how much you believe in the concept.  In the East, scientists are not as obsessed with the concept of progress or evolution as those in the West are, and they are much more inclined to question some theories of evolution.  Oriental cultures are older cultures, which have had many ups and downs and no longer get too excited about the ups (progress).

In contrast, those in the West seem to be obsessed with only one part of the equation of this circle of life (evolution or growth) which is why they depict existence as an ascending line and not a circle. They are actually taking the portion of the circle which we could call growth or ascension, and making it the whole circle.  This is a great example of dissecting the whole and then making one of the parts, the whole. This is the ultimate form of radical reductionism.  For example, in theology, the church has done the same thing to the gospel in making the death of Christ, which is a part of the atonement, the whole atonement.  Therefore, the resurrection has been eclipsed and even removed from the concept of the atonement, and reduced to a once a year celebration.  One could write a book on the reductionism of western science and theology.

I have been working on a book entitled “In Christ.” It is about the expression “In Christ” that is found in the New Testament 160 times. In the first chapter of the book, I analyze the reason for the disuse of the expression and people’s lack of understanding of it today. One reason for its neglect is reductionism; it was just too big of a concept for the western mind. The expression was dissected and then lost among the pieces. The same reductionism has been applied to just about everything in the west, including man himself. This reductionism has increased with specialization, which has created a new form of ignorance.

The Chain of Descent and Ascent

My purpose in giving a chain of descent and ascent, “…in the real world we see the lesser coming from the greater, the seed from the tree, the boy from the man, the machine from the human.”, was to demonstrate that evolution is not the ruling principle of nature.

When Henry Ford  built his first car, he knew what he was making, the car did not evolve from a screw or nut. It came from the mind of Henry. The screw and the nut already existed, which also came from someone’s consciousness, and Henry just incorporated them in his total equation.  However, the automobile cannot be totally be defined by only studying the screws or the nuts. It must be defined by the completed product.  After, it was created by a consciousness (Henry’s mind); it then evolved, or developed, into what we have today. If you put wings on it, it becomes something else and we start all over again with a new creation, just as it began in the mind of the Wright brothers. They used existing parts to make the whole.

God may have done something like that in creating higher life forms, from things that worked well with simple life forms. Remember in the begin God started with star-dust and made everything, including man. When a builder builds a house, he has a plan of what that house will be when completed. He has in his mind a completed house even before  the first nail is hammered. The house comes from the mind of the builder or architect who is greater than the house. The lesser from the greater is the ruling principle, not evolution. Evolution might have a minor effect on the construction time or phase of the house. However, it is not the end all and does not explain the existence of the house. It would make little difference, whether the construction phase (evolution) was fast or slow. It’s fast from God’s point of view, but slow from mans.

Therefore, I always begin my thinking with God for he is the Alpha and the Omega through whom all things exist and have their being. Where else could one start their thinking and reasoning? I believe this consciousness, which we call God, created the spiritual realm (unseen) and physical realm (seen) and for all we know they may be made of the same stuff, the spiritual (unseen matter) and physical (seen matter).  This view goes beyond dualism and gives three categories of existence.  (1) Absolute Consciousness would be the totally other or God.  (2) The spiritual would be the unseen dimension (heavens) where the angels dwell along with  unseen  things and stuff, which we have little knowledge of at this time.  If it is matter, it might be what some call dark matter or dark energy.  (3) The seen or visible world would be physical matter.  These categories could correspond to The Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.  The Father would represent total consciousness; the Son or Logos as matter, both seen and unseen, and the Spirit as force or energy.  This would be a semi-monist view, which could be accepted by theologians and some scientists who have a will to believe, yet are having a hard time putting the pieces together.  In this view, everything inside the universe would be made of the same stuff and leave God outside of it as creator and yet, creating it and coming into it, through the Logos.  In this, the Son would be the coming together of Spirit and matter.  Of course, there are people on both sides of the issue,  who would reject this view.

Progress

It was the humanists of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment which made progress and evolution the ruling principles by which modern man viewed just about everything.  Men of the Enlightenment had tremendous faith that human reason and initiatives would usher in a golden age or utopia.  Man would do what God could not do, i.e. create heaven on earth.  This belief caused them to have a fixation on growth and development, which still dominates Western culture to this day.  This focus on growth caused them to be somewhat blind to the fact that evolution or development is only one of the principles at work in the creation.

As stated above, I believe that all laws or principles, first took place in the mind of God in the beginning and then they are being worked out in what we humans call space-time.  A part of this working out is what science calls evolution.  To science, this working out is the whole show and therein lies their error, i.e. makes a part the whole.  If there is a ruling principle, I believe that it is death and not evolution.  Death has the final word and is reflected by the law of thermodynamics[3].  However, in the resurrection it seems to be Gods plan to redeem the creation. In essence, the resurrection would nullify the principle of death and turn it into life.  As for Christians, they believe that this new life from God has already entered the creation in the person of Christ and has been demonstrated in his resurrection.

Making evolution the ruling principle in the universe is like making the falling part in the story of Humpty Dumpty the whole story.  However, the story begins with him setting on a wall and ends with him smashing into pieces when he hits the ground and then the failed attempt of all the king’s men to put him back together again.  Not everything that is made or created evolves.  Some sit upon the wall for a time; some do not even make it to the wall, however, in the end-all fall and break into pieces.  The Second Law of Thermodynamics, i.e. everything is running down and dying, is not only a natural law, but it is also a biblical one.  (Note Rom 5:12).  Like Humpty Dumpty, we are falling down.  Time-space as we know it is like a movie of Humpty Dumpty’s fall run in slow motion.  It can only be called progress or growth (both are metaphors denoting up), in a very limited sense.  The ruling principle is death (down).  The progress that we seem to be experiencing now is nothing but a small bump in the fabric of the universe.  We see it as progress because we have trained ourselves to ignore where Humpty Dumpty started and his end.  All we see is him suspended in midair and we conveniently ignore that he is falling and will break into pieces.

When we talk about Humpty Dumpty falling down; down is a metaphor for death.  It depicts the loss of higher ground.  The only way up is resurrection, which becomes a metaphor for up only after you hit bottom.  In the resurrection, God will put Humpty Dumpty back together and back on the wall.  Jesus came down into this darkness to bring us up into the light.  He descended that we might ascend with him into an existence which has as its ruling principle, life.  In Christ, everything is up.

The concept of progress (up) was emphasized by the humanists of the enlightenment to replace the concept of heaven (up).  It is an Illusionary concept[4], which is absolutely needed by a secular or atheistic culture, for without it the culture would sink into despair and nihilism.  Of course, as the illusion of progress fades, which it must because it is not real, we will see Western culture slip into nihilism.  During the Renaissance and the Enlightenment when the West was experiencing growth in its economy and science, it was easy to believe in unlimited progress, because that was what the West was experiencing.  During this period the concept of declension (down) was set aside and totally ignored and still is today by many.  This denial of declension reaches its pinnacle in the denial of death itself.[5]  This blindness to declension is one of the things which has led Western culture to the edge of the abyss, and not one of us has escaped its influence. The blind faith in progress is the philosophical source of liberalism, communism and progressivism of all flavors.  It leads to a blind faith in mankind, which in the end means, the government.  It is also the chief source and foundation of humanism and utopianism.  All this comes from focusing on one part of the whole instead of the sum of the whole.  People that adopt this view have one eye shut and cannot see the whole picture.  All they see is Humpty Dumpty falling which strangely they see as progress.  Of course, this is fine if you’re whole life is about the study of falling.

However, the great myth of endless progress is now being questioned by a large number of thinkers and with its demise, we will probably see a revival of much true faith and a lot of atheism coupled with nihilism.  If the majorities choose atheism and nihilism, we will also see the resurrection of true Darwinism.  Darwin’s theory of evolution was really never accepted by the majority, for it was filtered through the concept of progress, which actually made it something other than true Darwinism.  In viewing Darwinism through the concept of progressive evolution (escalator) the sting was taken out the theory, for with directed and progressive evolution, man could accept evolution and still retain his dignity and meaning.  This adjusted form of Darwin’s theory (directed evolution) was accepted without any evidence because people’s thinking was already shaped by the concept of progress and some form of evolution was the only alternative to creationism.  This thinking remains today for three reasons (1) our blind faith in the metaphorical concept of progress.  (2) There is still no other naturalistic explanation of existence other than some form of Darwinian evolution.  However, true Darwinism still remains too much of a bitter pill for most to swallow, but the only pill for atheists.  (3) If you take non-directed evolution or Darwinism away from the naturalist, they have no other way to support their views intellectually.  Therefore, atheists will continual to believe in Darwinism even if science was to prove it false.  The scientists who are first atheists and then scientists will continue to propagate Darwinism because it is the foundation of their belief system no matter what science says.

I have noticed in my reading that the old edifice of progressive evolution is beginning to tip and is slowly being replaced by true Darwinism[6].  This movement toward Darwinism is not so much coming from an increase in scientific knowledge as an increase in atheism.  If this happens, the symbolic tree of life will have to be changed to resemble a bush growing in every direction without any impulse or direction up, which would support a pure atheistic theory, with no room for intelligent design or direction.  If accepted, it seems that science would have to drop the concept of constant progress from the ideal of evolution and adapt some kind of chaos theory. This would eventually change the culture’s view of progress and evolution. However, the chaos theory does reflect increasingly our overall cultural thinking at the present, which is moving toward chaos, atheism and nihilism. At the moment, it is hard to know if science is leading or whether the culture is leading science.  Time will tell.

Culture, History and Science

It does seem that many scientific theories have the propensity to reflect the culture at the time of their creation.  When the culture was progressing and knowledge was thought to be absolute, science seemed to reflect these concepts and values.  Now that things are less certain and the culture is falling into disorder and declension, science seems to be reflecting it with the Chaos theory.  This may be just my imagination, but it seems clear to me at this moment that culture and history push science and not the other way around.  From this, I must conclude, that much of science has a cultural  bias, which should be included in any analysis of its theories.  There is little doubt in my mind that much of what is called science is socially created and has less to do with reality then the way we are thinking at the time of its invention.  Of course, science, will say that society is changed by their theories, which is partially true.  However, new theories are created because the old ones no longer fit the culture.  Based on these conclusions I believe we are on the edge of a paradigm change that will sweep away many of the existing theories.

The more I study science the more skeptical I become.  I think humans in general pretend to know more than they actually do.  We tend to accept the pretenders in their pretensions because it makes us feel secure, believing that at least someone understands the mess.  This creates the illusion that we are somehow in control.  I guess that makes us all liars to some degree and intellectually dishonest.

An example of what I am talking about is global warming.  The majority of scientific organizations have endorsed the theory with little evidence, which could not truly be called science.  Many endorsed it not because of the evidence, but because they were presupposed to do so because of their ideology.  I think if you were to look at the theory of evolution and its history, you would find the same kind of thing to some degree.  One difference is that Darwin’s evolution was a financial plus for everyone and fit nicely into the capitalistic system.  On the other hand, global warming only benefited a certain group of people, who so far are not powerful enough to impose their beliefs on the majority.  Darwin also was skillful in using the right metaphors, which were taken from a common experience and pointed to something that everyone could see going on in the barnyard and in society.  That being growth and progress.  In contrast, the global warming crowd used a concept that was foreign to most people, i.e. global warming.  The average person could not see it or experience it, which made it hard to believe.  This is the reason they changed the metaphor to climate change.  Warming can be experience and judged by everyone; however, only scientists can discuss climate.

Science and Picture Thinking

Now, I am not saying that I do not believe in evolution to some degree or for that matter, climate change, but personally I do not believe there is enough true science to support any dogmatic position on either.  I definitely am not a creationist, which believes in a young earth.  However, their picture thinking may be as close or closer to the truth then the present evolutionist, whose picture thinking can only be totally fabricated in their imaginations, for no one was there to witness what they say happened, which Gee points out repeatedly in his book “Deep Time.”  Much of the same thing could be said about physics.  Most of the theories in physics can only be explained mathematically.  The minute you turn them into picture thinking you embrace falsehood.  This is the same in theology, when you form an image of God in your mind you have committed idolatry and have embraced error, for God cannot be imaged.  The Scriptures explain God, like math explains reality.  The scriptures can only explain God in a narrow, limited, veiled way.  Paul said, “We see through a glass darkly.”  The same could be said about math.  As theology has always been guilty of saying too much about God, today science is guilty of saying too much about reality, at least some scientists.

Most popular science writers must write in such a way that it helps the average person to visualize reality.  In doing this, they cannot but help to distort and veil reality.  The human mind cannot image the unseen world of science any better than it can visualize the unseen world of the Bible, i.e. heaven.  These popular authors have to try to use metaphors similar to religion to bridge the gap between the visible and invisible[7].  However, much of the population believes their metaphors to be literal; this is misleading and can only lead to misunderstanding.  Even Stephen Hawkins talks about visualizing the big bang, what nonsense.  There is a Chinese proverb that says,  “Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know.”  I think we have plenty of the latter.

[1] Note Henry Gee’s “Deep Time”.

[2] This seems to be the place that modern atheistic science is taking us.

[3] The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that in a closed system all energy is equalizing, which points to the fact that in our discussion that everything is dying.

[4] The chief tenet of the Enlightenment is that the growth of knowledge is the key to human emancipation. No true believer in the Enlightenment would ever question that article of faith. Yet faith in progress through the growth of knowledge is itself irrational. Gray, John. “Heresies: Against Progress and Other Illusions” (Kindle Locations 238-239). Granta Publications. Kindle Edition.

[5] “The Denial of Death” by Ernest Becket.

[6] Secular educators are cautious about teaching non-directed evolution for fear of the backlash from the community and in particular the religious community.  However, as the next generation of the walking death dead take the place of the present generation we will see a larger push for non-directed evolution and the atheism, which accompany it.

[7] Note “Physics as Metaphor” by Roger S. Jones. University of Minnesota Press.