My Thoughts on the Afterlife

                Unfortunately this week one of my best friends had his mother pass away, and at the end of this past year my grandfather passed. I am a rather young man at 23 years old compared to the apologists I like to listen to (William Lane Craig, Ravi Zacharias, John Lennox, Hugh Ross, etc.) and I have been blessed to not have to deal with much death in my lifetime. I have only had a handful of relatives and friends pass away and they have all been reported to be Christians. Don’t get me wrong I was sad to see them go but I had hope in the fact that I would see them again when my time comes. I stumbled across a video from The Thinking Atheist youtube channel on the afterlife, as well as a Christian response on the Inspiring Philosophy youtube channel (I will probably post them together on my facebook page closely after I post this on the site). These videos got me seriously thinking on the nature of the ultimate destination of man on this earth, and where we go after we leave our bodies behind. The way I see it, there are three possibilities of the destination of man if we view the afterlife from a Christian and Atheistic view. I will not get into other religions’ views on the afterlife as I am not a member of these religions nor am I very well versed in their respective theologies. What this post will be is my description of these three possibilities.
                 I would like to begin with the Atheist’s description of the afterlife, the lack of one. From following a purely naturalistic worldview, consciousness is derived from the brain and our bodies are the product of the explosions of stars that seed the universe with the necessary elements for life. When we die, we simply shutdown for the rest of eternity and wait for our sun to supernova to destroy our solar system to spread what is left of our bodies across the rest of the universe. While scientifically and poetically beautiful an explanation, it’s not terribly satisfying for me, especially as I believe there is evidence for an afterlife beyond this plane of existence.
                The next two are pretty obvious for people acquainted with the Christian faith. They would be the realms of Heaven or Hell. These realms are described very poetically within scripture, but what are they in their base forms? In the shortest form, Heaven would be man in the presence of God, and Hell is man existing outside of the presence of God. But wait, some of you are probably thinking, isn’t our plane of existence now Hell by that definition? Not exactly, while the Father and the Son are currently in Heaven, the Holy Spirit is on Earth during this age doing his work. So we can be in the presence of God at times while we are on Earth. The problem here is that sin has been released onto the world and with it death, so we are only temporarily here. When our earthly bodies break down and die, the Bible states that we go to one of these two places, either to God or away from him for all eternity. But why would an all-loving God condemn people to be cast out from Him where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth? I think people here are projecting the blame onto God where the blame is on ourselves if we reject the gift that Christ is freely offering us every day that we are on this earth. If we choose constantly to live without God, why would he force us into his presence in the afterlife? Frank Turek has an awesome analogy about this when you are being pursued by someone interested in a relationship with you, is it right for that person to force their feelings upon you? For many people, this is the definition of rape in many words. God will not “rape” you into his presence because he is loving and just. If we choose to live in our sin while we are here, is it not fair that we get to deal with the eternal consequences, which by the book of Romans is death? But if we choose to accept this gift that is offered to us and has already been paid for, we spend eternity in Heaven in the presence of the Creator of the universe worshipping Him and having fellowship with everyone who has gone to Heaven before us. While I don’t have a scriptural backing for this, I would love to be in the presence of God and be able to ask Him the questions of why he made the universe the way he did, not just morally, but scientifically. Why not get the answers to your questions about the universe from the being who made it?

                If you are able to read this, I want you to think know one thing, you still have time to decide what your eternity will be. Will you place your trust in Christ, or some other faith, or nothing at all? I believe there is sufficient evidence to get you to at least consider the possibility of Christianity being true, if not to convince you. I would hope that if you are struggling with questions about this life and if there is anything after, that you would make it a priority to find answers. I would hope that you find the answers that are not just a feel good story, but ones that you find to be true. While this is getting really close to a post-modern view of truth, we all must make our choice and decide what we believe to be true. I find that Christianity has enough for people individually to find it true as well as it possessing enough evidence to be considered objectively true as well. I would hope that you can arrive at the same conclusion and if I never find you on this earth and welcome you as a brother in Christ, that I may have fellowship with you and God in Heaven. God Bless and have a good rest of your day. 

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