Q&A: Is death natural?

Q&A: Is death natural?

All of my life, I have heard the phrase “Death is natural.” I never questioned its truth until I watched my grandma pass away. Even though she believed in Jesus, it did not look or feel natural at all. What does the Bible say?

Saying that death is natural is a way to cope

“God has made death a natural part of life.”

A person can understand why someone might want to believe it. If death is a natural part of life, then we should embrace it instead of run from it. However, this contradicts the human experience. The vast majority of people want to live and will go to great lengths to eke out a few more moments here on this earth. Yoda said in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, “Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not.” In other words, his advice is “Get over it!” This phrase is a coping mechanism for death.

We live in a culture that embraces the philosophy of secular humanism. It believes that humanity is capable of morality and self-fulfillment apart from God. How does a person do that when it comes to death? We must whistle past the graveyard and pretend there is nothing to be concerned about. A secular humanist would be comfortable saying that death is natural. It’s part of the circle of life, and there is nothing to fear when it comes to death. But no solid hope for that thinking exists.

The Bible gives a better answer

God tells us why there is death and what God did about it. The Bible says, “Sin entered the world through one man [Adam], and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people” (Romans 5:12). God created the world without death, but because of sin we will all die one day. Death is not natural.

It is important to realize this so that we search for God’s answer to death. God’s answer is his Son’s resurrection. The apostle Paul says, “ ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57).

Death is not natural. But because Jesus died for every sin and because Jesus rose from the grave, death will not be the last word for you. It will not be your final defeat. Because Jesus lives, you too will live. It is vitally important for everyone to have this view of death.

Now we are ready

When I served in a parish, I would visit Christians in the hospital who would soon die. I sometimes asked them a simple question, “Are you ready to meet Jesus?”

It was amazing to see how people opened up when that question was asked, because deep down we all know that death is not natural. They would express their regrets and sins.

Then I would tell them what God did about those sins. He paid for them. I would tell them what Jesus did to death. He defeated it. And I would tell them what Jesus was going to do for them soon. He would take them to heaven.

We will miss those we love who go to heaven, but Jesus reminds us that death is only a sleep and he will awaken us (John 11:11).

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David Scharf
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