Discussions revolving around Pastor Rob Bell’s book “Love Wins” are interesting to follow. (If you’re looking for a critique of the book or its critics, sorry, not what this post is about.) Watching conversations both for and against the book, I’m noticing a trend. It seems in this discussions on the character of God, heaven and hell, we are missing something significant. People die.
God said in the day that you eat the fruit you shall surely die. The plight of man because of the first Adam is death. That narrative carries throughout Scripture. In all discussion on the after life, the key is the word after. Where did death come from? Is death a natural state or divine judgment?
Jesus died. Jesus was separated from the father. Given that they’re eternal beings the time may be short, but given that the God-head is not bound by time, it would seem such pain would be an eternity in and of itself. Regardless, Jesus died. He rose again on the third day. Again the question is: what’s the deal with people having to die, Jesus included?
Pain, Suffering & The Problem of Evil
This issue is the most perplexing. Frankly, I think it is harder to wrap my mind around than the Trinity. Given all the efforts of mankind, we still struggle this issue. Perhaps this is why human nature is one of the strongest arguments for the existence of God. Either way, this discussion is a deep and heavy one and at its core is the fact that people die and we try to run from that,
The bottom line:
The discussion seems to avoid the reality that people die. In reading and listening to all sides of the discussion, it seems we’re dancing around the elephant in the room. We die, why is that? Perhaps that issue needs to be addressed first and would give clarity to the after life discussion. Are we assuming we have the answer to that question? We proclaim that death is not the end of the story, but it is a very significant part of it. Why is there death and suffering in the first place?