Thread: Eternal Life
April 15th 2010, 08:22 PM #1
By Eric John Sawyer
Odd thing this, I have been a Christian since 1976 and only on occasions really thought about it.
We go through these stages:
It is like moving from one compartment to the next one, and then finally we know that (f) will arrive.
As we are only experiencing these things for the first time, our experience is a personal event.
Some say that there is -a. Pre-Birth, and g. Pre-Judgment, h. Pre-Second Death and i. Pre-Paradise. Some like Professor Richard Dawkins say when we die, that is it. Actually after watching his interview with Professor Steinberg, it was clear he was not so bold as he is in his books.
We are bold in our confessions, but when in the moment before School, College, University, Marriage, Retirement, and Death; we cannot help feeling strange. Whether it is a feeling of excitement, or nervousness, or anxiety etc. We do experience these moments of great vulnerability.
But f. Pre-Death is the one that we have to reckon with, either at an early age if we become ill. Maybe we don't get a chance to reflect on this, but I have been to that door -- really close.
When I was in hospital, an old man turned to me and said, "Do you believe in life after death?" I hesitated, as I have learned not to just recite the Summa, or Westminster Confession, or some pat answer. I have read and studied enough to know that it is not an easy question to answer, and each person has a unique set of circumstances. This old man had been a Sunday School Teacher (now in South Africa, which means something different to the USA. It is primarily for children)
I replied, "Yes, I do" to which the old man said, "I believe it is like going to sleep” I thought about what he had said and then replied, "So, I guess dreaming would then be eternal life” He gave me a serious look, and then went to sleep. During the night he was tossing and turning and at some point there were nurses around his bead.
In the morning he eventually turned to me and said, "I don't believe in eternal life" and then went on reciting the typical stuff that one can get from watching television programmes. There was no really substance to his arguments, but he was a tender old man, and I did not think it was necessary to try and correct his patterns of ignorance. He merely restated his first idea about there being nothing but death.
I guess when you are a child and you are Pre-School, you have odd thoughts too, and so on down the list. Even with the fact that your folks will tell you, or your brothers and sisters, but it is not like that for everyone. Some are lonely and need to get their truth from books, and television, but they are none the wiser when it comes to f. Pre-Death. It comes up so fast and suddenly, School is over and b. Pre-College times happen.
The truth is that we have stories of a next world, and some have a good idea what is there, and others have bad ideas, and some have no ideas. It will eventually come and when it does what will you say.
I know what it is like, for on the day they told me that my heart would have to come out, I was covered in cold sweat as I lay on my pillow. I could die, and it woud all be over. Why did it worry me? It does, because we do not know how it will be and cannot know, though we try like Houdini to convince ourselves that the talk of another world, the next world populated with angels and God. Yet even the most assured Christian does not know.
In that moment the nurse came over to me and asked me, "Are you ready to meet the Lord?" I was stunned by her question. I thought and then replied with a weak sound, "I have put my faith in Jesus" It is all I have, but it is my gift to you reader.
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