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While most people refuse to accept death as a reality of life, Christians view it as a planned detachment of soul from the body. The world views death as an interruption to life of the living; it interferes with one’s plans, work and productivity on earth. To non-Christians, death is a curse, which brings life to the end whereas; it is the transition to a glorified form of existence to Christians. Although death is a mystery that human beings have not yet unraveled, Christians strongly believe that God plans for the death of each one of us. Regardless of which side of view, death is a subject, which people fail to accept as a reality of life, indeed the end of one’s reign on earth. In this essay, I see death as the culmination of human actions on earth. Using the Christian’s perspective of death, I will reinforce that Christianity holds a unique position on death. Based on the non-Christian contrasting view that death is the end of life, I shall constructively illustrate that death is the conclusion of life on earth.
Death: A Culmination of Human Actions
Death marks the end of one’s work on earth. End is the period beyond which no more of the activities take place. “Whoever steals a man, whether he sells him or found in his possession shall be put to death” (Exodus, 21:16 RSV). From this passage, death marks the end of those who do wrong on earth. By putting them to death, these people are no longer capable of perpetuating their evil acts. Christianity posits that death is not the end of life (Soren, 2008, p.8).
They believe in life after death, the soul survival for those who glorify God and are sinless on earth. What happens to the souls of the others, the sinners? What Christianity does not tell us is whether the business is as usual after death. Do people continue with their activities as usual? Even if this happens, it is not back on earth, maybe in a different planet. What is apparent to all of us, whether Christian or non-Christian, is that death brings to a conclusion the work of the deceased. In fact, as per the Exodus passage above, death is the best method used by God to end evil deeds on earth.
Obviously, rewards mark a successful completion of any work. Like any normal work, our work on earth concludes through a reward of death. In Christians view, death is an eternal rest after a long period of toil and hard work (Clergyman of Church of England, 2006, p.150). In worldview, death denotes the end to life of a person, and indeed their activity. Death results into eternal rest of the dead and the end of struggles of life. It is therefore a reward after the completion of one’s work on earth. Since death is a fact, each one will bitterly face it, directly or indirectly: it remains uncontested reward for our work after our living on this earth. It is worth noting that the reward comes after everything, at the end of life. Since, it is through death that we realize this reward; it is therefore justifiable that death is the culmination of our work on earth.
Nursing philosophy that patients should not suffer, even during death, offer an in depth understanding of human nature as far as death is concerned. The fact that human beings are afraid and worried of death is another important aspect for support of this argument. My hands on experience on the death of my grandfather provided me with an insight of fear and worry of death. The reason for fear of death is two-fold (Shelley & Miller, 1999, p.30): first, the worry for whom to take up their responsibilities and satisfactorily fulfill them and secondly the uncertainty of their destiny after death. Based on Psalms (42:5 RSV), “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God”, Christians believe that human beings should not fear or worry, even at times of death for God shall take care of everything.
In contrast, death brings fear and worry to non-Christians for they do not know what comes after death. Christian perception is that fear should not be an issue as long as we are sinless. In spite of these ideals of Christianity, worry and fear are facts of death. According to Colson & Pearcy (1999), death creates fear and worry to the society (p. 143) because it brings to an untimely end, the crucial roles played by the deceased on the earth. The worry is that death would create gaps within the society while there is fear for the collapse of the society.
Although Christian and worldview perceptions on death contrast in terms of the destiny after death, it is vivid that death is the end of human activity on earth. Unless in other planets, the physical activities of individuals come to the end on earth after they die. Death provides eternal rest, which is the ultimate reward for our work on earth. Fear and worry because of the end to life and uncertainty of destiny among the Christians and non-Christians during death, clearly attests death as the end of human reign over the earth. Therefore, death is the culmination of human actions on earth. Christians uniquely view death as the God’s transformation of human existence while non-Christians perceive death as a curse, which disrupts human activity on earth.
Clergyman of Church of England. (2006). Real Dialogues on the Evidence of Christianity. New York: Leavitt, Lord, & Co.
Colson, C., & Pearcy, N. (1999). How now shall we live? Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
Shelley, J., & Miller, A. (1999). Called to Care. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
Soren, K. (2008). Sickness unto Death. Britain: Wilder Publication.