This is a repost of my Yahoo! Blog dated June 7, 2007
Thinking about dying isn’t something I like to do on a regular basis. In fact, I probably spend little to no time thinking about it. When I do think about it, I assure myself that I’m not worried in the least about it, because I know my destination. I absolutely believe in the promise of John 3:16, For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Begotten Son, that whosoever shall believe in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. I believe that my salvation has been paid for by the Lord Jesus Christ, and because of my faith in Him, I will spend eternity with Him.
The company I work for has among its divisions a Hospice. Recently, the head of our Hospice was in my office chatting with another of my co-workers when the subject of death came up. Specifically, Desiree told Sherry that she couldn’t work in Hospice knowing all her patients were going to die. She looked at Desiree and told her matter of fact, “We don’t focus on the dying; we focus on living!” She goes on to explain the more important aspects of her job like meeting someone that has lost weight and can’t (or won’t) eat, has no energy, etc., and then 3 weeks later seeing them eating and playing with their children (or grandchildren) and pets. THAT is what they focus on.
Something else that Hospice does is help people find spirituality. It’s unfortunate but true; many people don’t seek out God until they realize their own mortality. There’s something to be said for realizing our mortality. The Bible tells us that “it is appointed for all men to die once, and then the judgment” (Hebrews 9:14). Suddenly, eternity is a priority. That statement really touched me. I was telling my pastor, Jim, about it, and he said, “…that’s God’s mercy…” Many people don’t have the luxury of knowing when and having a specific time to prepare. We have the promise of eternity but not for tomorrow. The majority of the people Hospice works with pass on to the next world peacefully.
Sherry told us that she’s only had a couple of patients that were atheists to the very end. I interjected at that moment, “I bet those two were afraid of dying!”
I was right.
She went on to describe one of the two. A man that was so adamant about not having god or religion around him that the nurses tending to him were required to either remove or cover up any jewelry or other markings that might indicate some sort of religious significance (for example, a cross necklace). One nurse made the mistake of having her cross necklace come out of her shirt into plain view and she was reported to the state for violating his religious freedom (i.e. freedom from religion).
He was scared. He had people all around him, but he was alone. He had nothing to comfort him. This is it. I think about the words of Jim Morrison, “This is the end, beautiful friend; this is the end, my only friend, the end.”
I can’t help but think that even this man believed in God at the end, but that he refused to acknowledge it. Paul writes about this in his letter to the Romans:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. Rom 1:18-25 NASB
The phrase that really leaps off the page is “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie”.
We can disagree on who God is or what His nature is, but not about whether He exists at all. What makes life? There are currently 114 known elements in the universe. Everything we come in contact with, including each other, is made from combinations of these 114 elements. What is it that makes human beings alive when chemically we are not all that different from a shopping cart? Or to take it even further, what is different the instant after we die? Chemically our bodies are identical pre or postmortem.
At the risk of sounding like an ignorant religious nut, I’m going to say the answer is actually in the very beginning of the Bible. Genesis 1:3 reads, “Then God said, ‘Let there be light’ and
BANG! there was light.” If you ever look at a living cell under an electron microscope, you will see the most amazing thing. Little sparks of light between the individual atoms. Where does this light come from?
Forgive me for quoting a new ager:
Imagine you’re standing outside on the grass looking towards the sky. Hold your hands in the air and feel the heat of the sun, the movement of the wind brushing over your skin. As the wind touches your hand, it deposits molecules of every chemical needed to create life. As the sun warms your face, it radiates all the energy that generates life. We are nothing more than these chemicals, this energy, but with one tremendous difference: An invisible principle holds you together.
What is this invisible principle? Quite simply, God is this Invisible Principle. Because of this invisible principle, you were created out of the whirlwind of atoms that fly through the universe. Instead of being scattered inside a galactic dust cloud, your body has organized itself into thousands of precise operations. With every breath, you inhale hundreds of millions of gaseous molecules, and within a tenth of a second, the ones that sustain life, primarily oxygen and hydrogen, enter your cells to create enzymes and proteins.
How do they know to do this? They don’t. The oxygen in your blood is no more alive than the oxygen in a diver’s tank; the sugars in your brain are no more intelligent than those in a sugar cube. Yet the whirlwind turns into life somehow…the invisible principle causes this transformation. (Deepak Chopra)
Although the principle cannot be seen nor weighted, it possesses certain qualities;
- It is intelligent – Omniscient
- It is conscious of itself
- It has power – Omnipotent
- It can organize things, creating complexity out of simplicity.
I chose to call the invisible principle God. With or without any religious beliefs, everyone knows these qualities exist in themselves, as human beings have known for centuries. God operates within all life and He cannot be extracted…
One of the great theological questions is, “How can one prove God exists?” Ironically enough, the Bible never sets out to prove God’s existence. It (His existence) is always assumed. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that one doesn’t have to prove God exists because God doesn’t have to exist, God is. God doesn’t have power, God is power. Goes doesn’t have knowledge, God is knowledge, etc… GOD IS. The proof is in everything else that exists.
God is, but man exists.
You and I can argue about the attributes of God, we can argue about His nature and about salvation, but if we are honest with each other, we cannot argue that there is or isn’t a God.
Sherry told about the end of her patient. She was in the room when he passed on. As the moment arrived, his face and body began to contort in ways that a human body simply doesn’t move. The contortions were like those described by people writing about exorcisms. As she was describing it, I could see demons grabbing him, pulling on his flesh, actually ripping the flesh from his body.
Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences. (2 Co 5:11 NKJV)
Grace ‘n peace