Rummaging through my stack of papers and books that cover my desk, I found a small folded piece of paper with a large red question mark with the title “The Big Question”. What is the big question you ask? It is this: If you were to die today, where would you go?
Is there life after death? People have been speculating this for eons. Every civilization has come up with their own answers to the mystery of what happens after someone dies. Do people go to Valhalla, Nirvana, Heaven or Hell, or as the Naturalist would say “nowhere at all” after they shed this mortal coil? This question of our final destination is part of the human experience. There is something about the experience of life in general that causes us to have a hard time accepting that somehow death is really the end. Now my Atheist friends would wholeheartedly assert that once a person dies, it’s over and that individual has become worm food and fertilizer. However, much to the chagrin of my dear friends who hold to such a materialistic world view, their view point is hardly the majority in the world today. Most of the people living on Earth, have some belief that there is indeed life after death. But who’s right? Or perhaps a more sobering question to ask is what if they are wrong?
Obviously I am a Christian and I believe the Bible. Call me narrow minded, or simple if you must but the Scriptures have endured skepticism, criticism and ridicule for centuries and yet none have seemed to stop it from spreading or have succeeded in denying its veracity. Voltaire, the Enlightenment writer and philosopher of the 18th century once stated, “Another century and there will not be a Bible on earth”. However, Voltaire has been dead for over 200 years and the Bible still continues to change lives to this day.
I believe in life after death not just because I hold to historic orthodox Christianity but because I have the credible words of an expert at my disposal: Jesus Christ. Jesus foretold of his death and resurrection, telling his disciples that in three days after his death and burial, he would rise from the grave. And he did. So in summary, the words of a person who predicted his death, burial and resurrection and it came about exactly as he said should call us all to not only stand in amazement but also adds infinite credibility to his words and testimony.
Jesus spoke of life after death all throughout his earthly ministry. He taught explicitly for example in Matthew 25, that there only two destinations after someone dies. He talked of Hell and often, warning people that unless they repent they will likewise face such a reality (Lk. 13:5). He gave the promise to the dying thief on the cross, who looked at the suffering Messiah and believed with the words “today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk. 23:43).
There is one example however that stands distinct from the rest and it is found in the gospel of Luke chapter 16:19-31 where Jesus talks of the rich man and Lazarus. Now I don’t have much space to go through it entirely but I would invite you to find a Bible and look at it yourself.
The rich man and Lazarus both die at the same time and yet they end up in two very different places. Now some might argue that Jesus is speaking using parables and this isn’t necessarily a real account but rather to convey a broader message. However, I and many others disagree. Jesus did speak in parables yet when it comes to Luke 16, Jesus uses specific names and places which is unlike the parables found in the Gospels. Jesus is speaking about a real event and that is what is so troubling to some and so comforting to others.
So life after death is it real or is it some made up fantasy? The message of the Bible says plainly that this is a reality and people will either spend eternity in the presence of God in love or in the presence of God facing His wrath. If this is true, then I ask you where would you go? Really, don’t brush it off, think about it. Shut off the T.V., eliminate all distractions or even take a walk if you have to because this question is too important to dismiss or answer wrongly.