The "Great Unknown"?

Roger Meyer (guest columnist)
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We have all seen or read tragic news stories about a child being killed by this or that means, or dying of a dreaded disease like cancer or leukemia. Somehow death seems worse when it is a child or young person who had all their hopes and dreams ahead of them. But the death of any loved one, no matter whether young or old, is emotionally painful.

What happens when we die? Is this present physical life leading anywhere? Is there an answer to this great unknown?

Most of us do not think that much about death until we have the occasion to attend a funeral. It is such an unpleasant and negative subject; we usually avoid thinking about it for very long. Besides that, it seems simple enough at first glance. Death is just the cessation of life, right?

Not to the philosophers. They take a simple subject and think about it until it’s all complicated with discussions of concepts with terms like animalism, personism, mindism, comparativism, eternalism and various other isms. From Epicurus to Lucretius, Locke and Parfit and many others, the philosophical discussions about death have continued for millennia.

Not to be outdone by the philosophers, the U.S. government weighs in and defines death by adopting the Uniform Determination of Death Act, which sets criteria for technically determining when someone is dead, even though the body is being kept alive by artificial means. I guess it was necessary to settle some cases, but they generally leave philosophy to the philosophers.

There are many others who have expressed their thought about death. Some have taken a humorous approach to this otherwise humorless subject. Woody Allen said, “It’s not that I’m afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens." William Somerset Maugham said, “Dying is a very dull, dreary affair. And my advice to you is to have nothing whatever to do with it.” But we all know that death is inevitable. It is something we all have to face.

Which brings us to the various religions of the world, and the really big question of what happens after we die? All religions have something to say about death. For instance, the Hindus believe that one death will simply lead to another birth, over and over, until finally one escapes this cycle of incarnations and dissolves into the state of Brahman. Muslims believe death leads to a judgment of either falling off the bridge al-Aaraf into a hell of torments, or going to a reward of a heaven of worldly delights.

Buddhists expect continual rebirths that can only be escaped through self-control and meditation until nirvana is achieved. Judaism waits for the coming of the Messiah, who will judge the whole of creation. Professing Christian beliefs range from a liberal, rather nebulous and ethereal concept of heaven, to a staunch and dogmatic belief in an eternal life of Beatific bliss in heaven, staring at God's face—perhaps after some "preparation" in purgatory—or an eternity of torment in hell. Then, there are the Existentialists, who simply believe nothing comes after death. What a smorgasbord of ideas!

But what is the truth of the matter? Is the great unknown really unknowable? Where did all these religions get their ideas? Where did professing Christianity get its ideas? Did anybody think to check with the Maker, the Eternal God who created heaven and earth and all that is? What does His Word say?

Is there an answer to the “great unknown,” the question that the philosophers and religions have talked about and pondered for thousands of years? Yes there is! Order your free copy of Your Ultimate Destiny today. You may be astounded!

  Originally Published: 16th November 2010