Friday, August 18, 2006

The Liberation of Death

I was thinking about it, and I came to the conclusion that death is liberating. And by death I mean the fact that every single person dies, that there is no chance short of divine intervention of you or I not dying. Thus, one doesn't need to fear death. Necrophobia, the fear of death, is really if you think about irrational. Why fear something that has to happen? Since you must die death can't hold you hostage. I should point out I am addressing biological death, and not spiritual death.

Imagine if there was no natural death, e.g. no dying of old age, or cancer, etc. The only way you could dye is from murder, a car or plane accident, falling from a cliff, etc. You would be completely paranoid. You would never want to go out, travel, or do anything if it was at all possible to avoid it. You might be able to live forever but you would never live fully, never experience life because that involves the risk of death.

And what are the chances that one could avoid any fatal accidents or incidents for all of eternity anyways. Very, very slim. Almost certainly everyone would end up dying anyways. All someone would have to do to control you is threaten to kill you if you don't obey them. All heroism would be gone, cowardice would set in. Right now, you can risk your life because you can't keep it anyways. But once holding onto life is a possibility however slim, one would never risk it or sacrifice it for another. Furthermore, if you can live forever, you could keep your possessions forever. Thus incredible greed would set in as people accumulate more and more which really wouldn't work economically as there is a limited amount of land and other resources.. Sin would greatly increase. You might become rich, live in a fortress of sort, and hire guards, (ignoring the fact that no one would want to be a guard since that involves death) but eternity is a long time to avoid anything happen. Just as the Praetorian guard turned on emperors it was charged to protect, your own guards would be bought and turn on you. If you become rich enough to create a false sense of security, you would make yourself a target. And when someone never expecting death was caught by surprised, the state of their soul would be utterly terrible to behold.

And what if there was no death, natural or otherwise? Forget for a moment how that would work (it obviously wouldn't as things are now) as far as if you were crushed into dust or something. Right now death sort of limits how much pain one has to endure. After a certain point, whatever inflicts pain would kill you. But if you couldn't die, then you could be burned indefinitely, have every 206 bones of your body broken, and you would still be alive, stuck in a absolutely horrible situation forever. Also if you couldn't die, a major restraint on sin, the consequence of death, would be removed, and sin would abound so much more.

I would say in a fallen world death is necessary. First of all, many sins lead directly to death, and so death necessarily and naturally follows. Physically, biologically, as things are now, with sin death would have come since our bodies are fatal. The first person to die in the Bible was Abel who was murdered, thus his death was directly a consequence of sin, not his own sin, but still of sin. Secondly, the fact that we all will all die is one of several things that helps restrain our sinfulness. As the pall of death will fall on us all, we are free to give our lives up instead of coward in a self imposed cell. We don't have to be self seeking. It is guaranteed that treasures cannot be kept for long, so its rational not to try to store them up. Thus death reduces sin even as it is a consequence of sin. Therefore death, in a fallen world has to exist. So it is true that the wages of sin are death. But in a sense guaranteed death is a gift to the fallen, for it liberates us from living in perpetual fear of death and restrains sin.


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